2016 was a garbage dumpster year, start to finish. It began with my (now ex-) boyfriend being sick last-minute and unable to celebrate with me. He insisted I carry through our plans to attend a couples’ party. On New Year’s Eve. Alone.
He then dumped me 3 days before my birthday, but I still went on my scheduled 4th of July in Tahoe couples’ trip. For my 29th birthday. Alone.
I returned to SF and was spit on by a homeless man that day. And lost my 80-day meditation streak. Namaste.
All of this pales — of course — in comparison to the traumas and tragedies that shook our world this year. Terrorist attacks, hate crimes, unfathomable violence, ignorant and misinformed movements, Brexit and Trump’s election, more celebrity deaths than I can even recall.
I lost a friend to brain cancer. I lost another to kidney failure. But friends lost their spouses and siblings and parents and children. They experienced pain I can only imagine, pain I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
I also gained a niece. I gained more vacation time than ever. I gained friends through various volunteer and social efforts. I gained understanding beyond the SF bubble about just how marginalized so many feel.
So in an effort to resolve the shitty-shit-shit of a year this was, I’m turning what I can into positive can-dos:
- Understand the world: I traveled more than ever this year, but it was all domestic and I’m itching for stamps on my passport in 2017. If I can make it to Asia, South America or parts of Europe I haven’t been, I hope to gain a broader view of how millions of people live. What experiences are part of their everyday lives? What can I do to understand my privilege more, both at home and abroad?
- Spend smarter: All of that travel left me in some tight financial spots, as I sometimes neglect to budget for living in the most expensive U.S. city. Rather than “Say Yes” to everything (which went full-force after my breakup), I need to be thoughtful about what each Yes costs me. I don’t ever want to be in a position where I can’t donate to my favorite causes or help those in need, so a finance fine-tooth comb is in order. First up: I’ll be the last person in SF to stop paying for cable!
- Use my voice: I tend to shut down during heated discussion and debates, often because I feel most are set in their ways and not willing to listen — only shout their perspectives. I see, though, how damaging silence can be. I choose to approach 2017 thoughtfully: speaking up when I feel compelled, understanding I may be the only one listening in a dialogue, and removing myself when necessary. I don’t have to be vocal on every single thing I care about, but I can use my voice with conviction, knowing I’ve done my research and will remain respectful.
- Take care of myself: The quintessential resolution is getting a makeover of its own from me at midnight. Yes, I’d love to finally hit my goal weight. But more important, I’d like to feel as good about myself as I do after a Toastmasters speech or a volunteer event. From continuing meditation streaks and therapy sessions, eating foods that nourish my body, challenging myself with new fitness goals and being cognizant of my needs in a relationship, I can take on any garbage dumpster 2017 throws at me.
What are your resolutions for 2017? As always, you’ll inspire me to be the best Wittyburg I can be.
And however you’re celebrating the New Year, please be safe out there. Here’s an actual rendering from the future, of me at midnight: