2017, in conclusion

New Year’s Eve, though often overpriced and overhyped, has held some good memories for me (seafood tower, resolution-making with friends, Veuve Clicquot champagne) as well as some bad ones (big fights, drunken assault, a spinach cocktail).

This year, though, I was determined to have a good, “significant,” New Year’s Eve, which meant spending it doing the thing I enjoy the most: writing. (No contest here between writing and jiu-jitsu, because my gym is closed until January 2).

Type A as I am, I can’t begin the next year without putting some sort of structured reflection into the previous year, and I tend to spend the tail end of December ruminating and spin-cycling words and memories of the previous year.

Despite my post earlier this year, I still have perfectionist tendencies, which meant I sat down this morning, on the last day of the month, intending to write my December blog post and make it my best piece of the year. Somewhere in the middle of the day though, my perspective changed from “It’s the last day of the year and there’s something significant about that! Write something awesome!” to “Girl, get real. It’s just another day, and an unpleasantly cold day at that: 9 degrees Fahrenheit that feels like negative 7. Write what you can, but don’t worry about how it comes out. Just do it. And don’t go outside without a hat.”

So after days of putting it off and then trying to write it all out this morning, instead of spending most of New Year’s Eve hashing out the sentences, I gave up and decided to draw out a representation of this year as I remember it instead. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, and since I can’t draw very well, most of my pictures include words anyway.

If I had to draw a picture of this year, this is what it would look like: neatly synthesized, orderly, and ready to be put to bed. If had to represent what’s in store for next year and the chaotic cluster of intentions and activities lined up for it, here’s what that would look like, too: shapeless, explosive, bubbling, and filled with anticipation. 2017 is a mediocre PowerPoint slide-style collection of major events, things I was feeling, and overall body/mindset. 2018 is…a creative, freeform plop with some resolutions scattered about. See the below:

In an update email to friends, family, and other “life stakeholders” that I sent out this morning, I described my personal life the last six months as being full of “fighting and writing.” There will be more fighting and writing next year. That’s the only thing I promise to myself and anyone reading this. Aside from fighting some real people (in tournament settings, not streets — I hope), I intend to fight the inner critic that’s prevented me from putting out real, published work, and give the real critics a chance to tear me apart.

2017 for me was a dark year, but there were more than a few bright stars that sparkled and defied the vast swath of darkness. 2018? We’ll see. At the very least, I’m determined to fight to make it a better one.

But for now, I’m spending the final hours of 2017 drinking red wine, watching my significant other make me gluten-free pasta, watching Sherlock, and going to bed early. I hope you spend it celebrating in a way that makes you happy, too.

All best wishes —

Erica