2017 is over, thank your chosen deity.
Looking back, I can say with certainty that I was unprepared for this year. To be honest though, I don’t think any of us were prepared for it. How could we be? The collective shared trauma many of us experienced on November 8, 2016 set the tone for 2017. Instead of a year of progress and continuation of a journey started 9 years ago, we were instead abruptly shifted into a world where down was up and wrong was right. Instead of further steps toward the American dream, not the house and 2.5 kids, but freedom and justice for all, we found ourselves facing the reality of regressing back to freedom and justice being privileges afforded only to those from specific segments of the population. Instead of flourishing, we healed and recovered. We did our best to make sense of what was going on. For many of us, myself included, that proved challenging.
We weren’t ready for everything 2017 had in store. Nobody prepared us for the complete subversion of our democracy by a foreign nation. We didn’t fully grasp that much of what we believed to be the rules and laws of our country required that everyone buy into those rules. We were unprepared for a President that flagrantly flouted the rules and laws he swore to uphold, while being supported by those whose highest goal was not to serve the people, but instead aimed for proximity to power, no matter how corrupt that power might be. We were unprepared for this. We had no idea what living in an unstable nation led by a despot supported by power hungry sycophants felt like. We had no framework for how to deal with it. So we coped as best we could.
We retreated to what was familiar and comfortable to find a sense of safety. We reached out to those who didn’t share our values, as we tried our best to understand them. We made life changing decisions as we sought to control anything that was ours to control, since the world around us seemed so out of control. We resisted, we worked tirelessly, we tried our best to put things right. We told ourselves the lies we needed to hear to sleep at night: it wouldn’t be that bad, and if we were wrong, well we’d get out before it got too bad, all the while moving the goalposts for what “too bad” looked like. We self medicated. We sought therapy. We shared love. We made friends. We made families. We held on tighter to those people and things that were important to us. We let go of those important to us, so we could hold on tighter to ourselves. We did whatever made us feel good, so we could escape, if only briefly, a world that persisted in making us feel distressed and troubled. We did what we needed to do to endure to make it to 2018.
And here we are. We made it. For many of us, a bit worse for the wear, but here we are. Despite the misery of 2017, some of us made progress in our lives, in ourselves, in our careers, and it’s important to recognize and celebrate that progress. That we could grow in the dark is a testament to our resilience. As we enter into 2018, that is my only resolution, my only goal. Continued resilience. Continued growth in spite of continued turmoil. So when the world returns to progress, we have new tools under our belts to ensure progress persists, and that we persist with it.
I wish you that resilience, as well as boldness, courage, love, and happiness in the New Year. Start this year off on a high note and let that note carry you through the rest of it. Pet a dog (or the animal of your choosing). Make amends. Say you’re sorry and mean it. Right a wrong. Tell someone you love that you love them. Hug someone who might need it. Share your gratitude. Share your joy.
Overwhelm the world with positivity, so that 2018 can be everything that 2017 wasn’t, and that we may continue on our path to flourishing, despite our year long detour. 💖💖💖
My 2017 Highlights:
- Sailing in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (where the picture at the top of this post was taken).
- Taking an Engineering Management job at Patreon, which continues to be the best decision I made in 2017.
- Yvonne’s bachelorette party and wedding, which led to me meeting some of the best friends of my life.
- Doug Jones beat Roy Moore.
- The birth of my nephew Xavier.
My #2018Liberation list:
- Spending time on people who aren’t enthusiastic about me. Eventually I’m going to start dating again. When that happens, I’m liberating myself from potential partners who are wishy-washy about what they want/how they feel.
- Feeling ashamed of my stuff that people might think isn’t fancy enough. If it feels good to me, it’s good enough.
- “Assuming best intentions” and similar pieces of advice that require I minimize experiences that are painful.
- Feeling guilty about a whole variety of things that I shouldn’t feel guilty about.
- Brussels sprouts. (Just like every other year.)