A Few Gentle Reminders To Myself As The New Year Approaches

girl drinking coffee and laughing
Avi Richards

Some of this isn’t easy for me to say to you so I’m just going to come right out and say it.

Please stop trying so hard. I know that seems like a really crappy goal to have in the New Year but you’ve been trying really hard and it’s been your problem for a while. You try really hard to make people like you, to be honest, to be a good person, to make health a priority, to make good sleep a priority, to make chasing your passions and a good career a priority. Cue the cliché line about how you need to make you a priority. Really though. The stuff you’re good at and the stuff you enjoy is the stuff that you aren’t trying so hard to prioritize. Why are you prioritizing all this other stuff? Did you forget what the word priority even means? You are never going to be perfect. You’re not a Barbie. Go watch LifeSize again and listen to pre-crazy Lindsay Lohan teach Tyra Banks a thing or two. Jot it down. Maybe buy a Lisa Frank notebook and make a whole thing out of it.

I’m not saying to throw in the towel on your goals or anything, I’m just saying I think you should probably figure out what the hell your goals actually are. Like, you say you want to be honest and respected but you also want to be well-liked. Which is it? You say you want to be healthy but you sleep almost all the time due to your exhaustion from living a life that you don’t actually want. You say you want a different type of companionship but you surround yourself with the same people and write off any new people as too much effort.

I’m sorry, I’m making you sound way worse than you really are. You have a lot of moments where you can be cool. The way you accomplish things that people tell you that you can’t do is one of my favorite things about you. The way you use your sense of humor in times of stress is pretty awesome. Sometimes you blow me away with how well you’ve learned past lessons. Other times, we have these long talks in hindsight and I can only hope you’ll go forward a little smarter. Despite the limitations you put on yourself, you’re pretty good at surpassing them. It kind of frustrates me but it also impresses me. Like, that little bit that you do where you act like you’re such a mess (part of your comedy routine mentioned earlier) and you laugh at your pain so that you and everyone around you underestimates you but thinks you have this awesome attitude on life. Then, when you pull yourself out of it, everyone can go “wow, who knew she had it in her?!” But, really, you were going back and forth between crying and grinding your ass off in between making jokes, giving the impression that you just stumble through your life and things work out. I really want you to stop doing that because you should never underestimate yourself or allow others to underestimate you, but it does make your life more interesting. Plus, you admit that you do it so it’s not like you’re completely inauthentic about it. I don’t know, maybe this will be another hindsight fireside chat that we have in the future.

Basically, I’m saying you don’t need to change everything about yourself, just the parts that aren’t making you truly happy.

I apologize that I still can’t give you advice on what to do about boys and dating. Put yourself out there? Do what makes you happy? Life your life #noregrets? I really don’t know. Just keep doing what you’re doing and hope for the best. Maybe pick someone a little more awkward (less calculated) next time and someone who cares more about what they say to you instead of who they can “impressively” quote.

Be nicer to your family. I know you guys are really close so you can forget what being “nice” is. It includes manners and patience, even though you know they’ll love you no matter what. Be nicer to your friends too. Don’t forget that you suck sometimes and they put up with it because they love you. Don’t forget that your lives are on different paths and none of them are correct or incorrect.

Also, stop being so scared of growing up.

You’ve literally been doing it your whole life. It’s a popularized fear, but you and I both know what’s feared and what’s popular are usually nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

I really hope we can stay in touch more this year. I think we could be really good friends if you’d stop canceling on me so much.

Love you. Talk soon. TC mark

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