It’s 2017 in a few days and this year has been a doozy. Personally? It was pretty chill. I worked. I worked out. I saw my friends and family. But since I’m an emotional goober who pays attention to everything, feels deeply and cries at inappropriate times, I really felt this one. (Ask anyone who saw me on election night. I cussed out an uber driver and drank more wine than the law allows).
I’ve been brainstorming about what I want from the upcoming year. I could say things like: weight loss, cutting down on wine (insert devilish cackle), etc. but none of those resolutions get at the heart of setting an intention for 2017. I’ll be honest. The amount of negative news from the past year has left me despondent and hopeless. But I recognize that a daily mood of despondence and hopelessness is not a recipe for a good year. So this upcoming year demands calculated action. In addition to calculating my emotional plan for 2017, I’m confronting the reality that I’m turning 35 in March. Does that make me middle aged? (Unsure) Does it make me a cougar? (Doubtful unless I date a 19 year old). I’m not sure of the answers to any of this. All I know is that I’m excited and happy to be in my mid-30’s. I was so self-conscious, anxious, depressed and/or stressed for the last 15 years. It feels refreshing to live and breath in a few inalienable truths:
1. I’m a black female
2. I’m 6’2″
3. I’m a lawyer (I’m unsure if I’ll be a lawyer for the rest of my life but I’ve been one for almost a decade so I get to claim the title forever.)
4. I’m never going to be skinny
5. I have the voice of a valley girl
6. Wine and cheese are my vices
7. My favorite movies are the Empire Strikes Back and Heathers and I feel like that says a lot about me
Working within my truth (such a hippie thing to say…ugh as an adopted Midwesterner I embarrass myself. Quick someone hand me something fried and a Bud Light. Uh…[insert comment regard the local sports team].), I need to figure out what my guiding principles for the upcoming year will be. I’m brainstorming while drinking airplane wine and listening to music.
Oh you want me to set the scene? I’m just busy making people on my plane uncomfortable by chair dancing (and potentially crying) to George Michael. It’s my tribute, people. Can we talk privately about “One Last Try”? (don’t we all have someone we could dedicate that song to while pointing at them and mouthing: “This one is for you.”) Okay, maybe we don’t need to do this right now. Later. Guys. Mark your calendar for later. We’ll get into it.
So what is the plan for 2017? And no it can’t solely be wine and cheese because as much I would love it to be, I’m an older millennial unwittingly enmeshed in the pressure to adhere to impossible standards of beauty. I feel an overwhelming sense of dread every time I eat pizza. I don’t want to gain too much weight and lose out on a potential baby daddy and husband. Sigh. Being a woman is such a crock, y’all.
*record scratch* Oh my god. Some dude just stumbled to the front of the plane with his shirt completely unbuttoned. I suddenly feel a million times better about myself. Guys, I’d take a picture but I’m not shady like that. Clearly he’s had enough of 2016 as well.
I digress. So my plan for 2017. What is it?
“F*ck it” – it was a consistent motto from college when I was carefree, young, inexperienced and didn’t know any better. It’s self explanatory but it was used as a rallying cry among me and my friends to turn off all outside noise, subconscious insecurities and just go for it. Whether it be a leadership position with a student group, talking to a cute guy or deciding to take on a completely random second major. F*ck it. What’s the worst that happens?! Unfortunately as you get older, you learn the answer to that question. You don’t get promoted. You lose your job. You get rejected. People do not accept you. So you carry those disappointments with you like an extra coat. It clouds your judgment. It makes you second guess yourself. It leads to anxiety, sadness and depression. In 2017? Make the effort to hang that coat up for a while and take some chances. You wanna ask for a raise? Do it. That dude you’ve been eyeing? Shoot your shot, playboy (or playgirl). I’m gonna try it and see what happens.
Remember that “no one cares” – and no, not in a depressive “you’re completely irrelevant” way. But in an honest, “everyone is so busy that they are not thinking about you because they’re busy living their lives” way. I found a diary entry from earlier this year. And, yes, for the Judgmental Judy out there who is thinking “You are already saying so much with your blog. Never thought you’d have a diary too. I’m really worried about other people’s business. Hand me a wine cooler.”: I have a diary. The diary entry was all about how worried I was because I signed up for a bunch of spin classes for a week and I didn’t want to do poorly during them. In the pantheon of human suffering, this is not the issue to be concerned with. Yet here I was, overly concerned that someone would think I was (1) out of shape, (2) fat and (3) unattractive if I didn’t completely dominate spin classes. (Yes, whenever I don’t do something well my mind automatically thinks someone will judge me and the judgment will be: “Wow. She’s unattractive.” That’s my insecurity. What’s yours?) WHAT. THE. HELL. Staring at the diary entry I felt sad. I don’t pay attention to anyone during spin class. Why would I assume all eyes were on me? Further why would I assume anyone cares about what I’m doing? I realize now that no one is paying attention and no one cares. Once you realize that “no one cares” it will allow you to focus on yourself and not focus on what other people “may be” thinking about you.
Ditch Your Story – we all have the story we’ve constructed about ourselves. The story is molded together from pop culture, our family, friends, society and other people. Based on numerous outside voices, we construct a story about ourselves regarding many aspects of our life. Our job. Our love life. Our friends. The way we dress. More often than not I’d feel immense pressure to dress a certain way because I assumed that a particular outfit would pleasing to someone else. I left myself completely out of the equation. Additionally I have a habit of predetermining that certain guys would never ever be attracted to me for multiple reasons: height, ethnicity, profession, etc. It’s. The. Worst. I came up with this story. I perpetuated the story in my mind. There is no empirical evidence in my life to support this story. The story needs to be done. It’s cancelled. It’s dunzo. Perpetuating the story in my mind takes too much energy that I’m not willing to expend anymore. So, I invite you to also ditch your stories.
Each winter I usually regress into a habitation state of multiple blankets, drinking red wine and listening to the Smiths. But let’s be honest. 2016 has been a little too depressing to binge listen to the Smiths as the cold temperatures descend on the Windy City. So I’ve dedicated some time to…
*record scratch* some woman just wandered to the front of the plane and started grabbing whatever was in the flight attendant’s station. Notably, all six flight attendants are elsewhere at the moment. Therefore, my girl is getting it in. Stealing water, soda and snack mix packets. Clearly she’s sick of 2016 as well. I want to scrap this entire post and simply put: “live 2017 like this lady. She gives no f*cks.” Work, lady. Fill your Nalgene bottle with Crystal Geyser and stuff your pockets full of United Airlines Snack Mix.
Ew. Now a couple is making out near the lavatories. This upgrade is lowkey trash. Once again, I’m SO tempted to take a picture. But I’ll restrain myself. They’ve stopped making out and the guy is stealing orange juice from the flight attendant’s station. You guys: WHERE ARE THE FLIGHT ATTENDANTS!?
Again, I digress. As I was saying, this coming year is a time to spend concerted energy and to not waste energy in ways that do not serve you. That should always be how we live our lives but let’s get real. We get sidetracked. When things are going awesome, there is little need for reflection. But this year begged for thoughtful reflection in so many ways, so it’s only fair that we do just that.
In other words, just grab all the stuff from the flight attendant’s station. Who cares. 2017 is gonna be year that we, collectively, steal ALL of the snack mix. Let’s get it, kids. I believe in us.
(Oh man, this drunk guy nearly fell down coming out of the lavatory. The United nonstop flights from SFO to O’Hare are lit, y’all.)
Oh look a playlist. I made it for January 2015 and it still holds up because I have an amazingly distinguished musical palette. You’re welcome. (Shouts to the two people who actually listen to my playlists. You guys are the true American heroes). Also don’t ask me why there are three Big Sean songs on this playlist. I must have been going through a weird phase two years ago.