As the notes of “Auld Lang Syne” began to play, Google’s Year in Review flashed on the screen, and 2020 became a year to revisit only in future history books, I stood still with my mask on and my champagne in hand, not knowing what or how to feel.
And, five days later, I still don’t know what to think. Nor do I think I’ll know for awhile—quite frankly, I’m still processing the end of July.
But, all jokes aside, here is what I do know:
2020 threw a lot at me—as it did to so many others—but it also provided me with some lessons to carry with me into 2021. So, to my dearest little corner of the internet, in an effort to both be vulnerable with you about my experiences and hopefully helpful to you along your own journeys, here are some mantras I am bringing with me into the new year.
- Soft heart, strong spine.
In other words, “you can be a kind person with a good heart and still tell people to f*ck off when needed.”
My therapist gave me this bit of advice when I needed to have some difficult conversations with close friends, and I have since incorporated it into my daily life. My emotionality and self-advocacy exist together, and both are valid parts of my complex self that I want to honor in 2021 and beyond.
- Actions speak louder than words.
In the first two weeks of 2020, I broke up with a boy I had been seeing for almost two years. It wasn’t until my best friend said to me,“this isn’t healthy for you anymore,” that I realized it really wasn’t.
While there were indeed a lot of other lessons I took from this heartbreak, this was the one I found most applicable to other areas of my life. I had let myself be convinced by this boy’s kind words and grand apologies, yet these were still just empty statements. It’s the same as making a thesis statement, but not giving any sort of evidence for it… it doesn’t make a strong paper and it certainly won’t get you an A.
I have no room in my life for anyone who refuses or is unable to show up for me in the way I need them to, and that’s why I’m bringing this into 2021.
- You are a complex human with complex feelings.
I am allowed to be and feel multiple things at once, and that does not mean I am any less one thing than I am another. Just because I feel pain does not mean I can’t feel joy; just because I am hurting does not mean I am not healing.
I am still learning how to accept all of these parts of myself. And it’s going to take a bit more work, some more returning to myself, some more unearthing and rediscovering of who I am—and what I want.
So, with that, I thank 2020 for what it has given me, but I am so ready to use what I have learned in 2021.
Happy New Year everyone!