Somehow we’ve made it to another year’s end. Wow. Well to start..I’m going to try to keep this short — but truthfully brevity has never really been my strong suit when it comes to reflections and I haven’t written here since February which seems both so close and yet so far away.
I have learned, unlearned, and relearned so much over the course of this year. I went into this year with a promise to be a little bit braver, a little bit more vulnerable, to take a few more risks and see what happened. And while by in-large I probably failed in that goal, where I did take the occasional risk — some really great things happened. I don’t want to give off any false impressions that this year was perfect. Like many years before I had stretches where everything felt like too much– where the biggest accomplishment was getting out of bed in the morning and getting dressed, where I wondered if I could trust my own perception of things; and where I felt stuck in the quicksand each attempt to get out only dragging me further down. In those moments, I did my best to be kind to myself, holding space and letting the feelings run their course and when even that was hard — I did what I could. So while this reflection will share a few big wins — please note that this is just a snapshot, a perfectly curated list of accomplishments and if I’ve learned anything it is that the work of our lives is often not in the highlight reels, it is in the moments in-between steps or the first step after a valley that truly matters.
Blessings and Lessons from 2019:
2019 will always be the year I started more openly talking about my mental health. From small things like discussing the burnout I felt in college in a GMA segment to finding language to be able to speak on current challenges and cycles of anxiety and depression with loved ones. I’m hoping to continue the conversation openly in 2020 but also knowing that I will need to make the time for myself to do so.
I think my biggest win was that 2019 was the first year in which at no point during the year did I try any sort of diet or restrictive food pattern. Not once did I go to a gym class or workout because I felt I “had to” because of my food choices. It was the year I challenged myself to pause and reframe when trying to assign a moral value to food as “good” or “bad” came to mind. I watched my body both shrink and expand throughout the year and found celebration solely in the fact that it was my body and it does everything I need it to do and more. I was more aware of the innumerable ways fatphobia and diet culture are pervasive, the ways in which I have participated consciously and unconsciously, and the harm it does to everyone. I move into 2020 knowing better so I can do better.
2019 is the year I called parts of myself home that I had long pushed aside and ignored. It has been a strange thing over the past two years to do some of introspective work that I have as it has often lead me to conclusions I was not prepared for. This year I continue to work on not just seeing those shadows, but accepting and integrating them. The best lesson this has brought me is an understanding that we are all each uniquely complex people and if you can recognize that not only is empathy is much easier to find. But I have a renewed appreciation for people who choose to share their story, any part of it, with me– as that is an act of genuine connection that is neither owed nor should be expected.
This year I looked for and found joy in the little things. It was the fresh cup of coffee first thing in the morning; the laughter that comes from being surrounded by friends; the radiant smile after letting someone know you appreciate them; and so, so many more. By doing this it made all of the other moments, when it felt like 2019 was kicking me around like a pinball machine much easier.
2019 was, like each year before it, a rollercoaster. I had to take the time to check in with myself to see how my dreams and goals have progressed and changed. I got to use new tools and things I’ve learned to do so. I’m not sure about anyone else, but for me, it’s easy to just keep moving forward — one step at at time but the truth is sometimes as we grow and change we have to suspend everything and ask ourselves what do I want to do now, who do I want to be now, and make sure we’re moving towards that even if it’s a pivot from what we thought. Our dreams and goals get to change and evolve just like we do. For this and so many other reasons I am so thankful for 2019 and for every up, down, highlight, and rough day.
It’s hard to believe that another year and a new decade is so close but to me that is the beauty of it all. I stopped making resolutions going into 2018 because I realized that everything can change in one year and trying to hold myself to an idea of what I would or wouldn’t do one year from now was a futile effort at best. That’s not to say I don’t make goals, or set intentions — I do, but the rigidity of resolutions no longer fit the life I was living. My intention for 2020 is to continue to soften. To let people know when I appreciate them; to be my 100% wonderfully weird self; to sing and laugh and dance with abandon; and to know and live with the understanding that each day is a gift.
I hope 2019 gave you the lessons and blessings that you needed. I hope that when it was hard you found the innate strength within yourself to face the challenges with the knowledge that you have faced and conquered every hard day you’ve ever had. I hope when you needed community you found the people who helped you soar or, when needed, those who kept you grounded. And as we move into 2020 I wish for you love, happiness, and adventure. I wish you continue to build on the all the good from this past year and this past decade. And above all, I wish that this new year, this new decade, this new chance brings you ever closer to what it is that you seek. Cheers to 2020 and moving forward one month, one week, one day at a time.