It’s 2018! Wow! Can you believe it? Somehow you’ve survived this long, and maybe things aren’t looking too bad. You’ve got new medication and a little more energy, and even though your last counseling session of 2017 wasn’t ideal, maybe now you and your therapist are on the same page. So… that’s progress. It’s scary. I know it’s scary, because starting new is always unsettling. But here is a new year and you are so very brave. 2018 is the year of venturing into the unknown. It’s our first full year out of college. We’ll finish AmeriCorps and then… well, I don’t know yet. But you know where you want to be, and at this stage in your life, that’s in the classroom. Already you’ve applied to two programs, and the odds are in your favor.
Listen, if you’re ever feeling uncertain or lost for purpose, let me tell you: you love the children. You love them with all your heart. You want for them to succeed more than you want anything else, and you can, and they can, because they are small but smart, and they are young and resilient and deserve every chance. No, you can’t save them, we can’t save people, we just can’t, but hey – you can be there, you can be understanding, you can stand up for them and love them. There are going to be bad days and hard days and rough days; there are going to be plenty of people who you think don’t love them enough or don’t believe in them enough or are in it for the wrong reasons or are painfully negative. Keep your head up. You can find your own balance and your own tune. You don’t have to bend to the culture of any teacher’s lounge. You can trust what’s within you.
You can trust what’s within you. On a bad day when you’re reading this, or maybe any time at all, this is going to sound awfully cheesy. Maybe it is, maybe it’s not, beats me. But you can. There is a voice in there and it’s sometimes real quiet, but I believe in you and I’ve seen you listening to it more and more. Maybe we haven’t been perfect, but life is less and less about being faultless and more and more about being true. You’ll get into fights. You’ll let people down or frustrate them, and sometimes you’ll be angry and wrong and that’s okay. You gotta just be, babe. Be stunningly yourself. Don’t be quietly polite to boys you go on dates with, don’t lie about having favorite things to seem less weird, don’t hide your way of being, and above all and in summary, please refuse to be small. This is not a year for being small. This is a year of becoming. You’ve been building to this. This year has no end goal, but it’s a beginning.
2018 is a beginning, and don’t you feel your life opening up in front of you? It is, it will, I promise. I know. The world is not going to stop sucking, but you’ve been preparing and you’re ready; you’ve been building yourself up to fight. Do not be quiet. Life has become politics and there is no more neutrality if there ever was. This is a year to not go quietly. This is a year to spend in the streets, fighting and giving and being as kind as you can. Your kindness is radical. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
Maybe the people you know are together while you start again on your own, maybe they are getting married, getting engaged, getting success in spades. But didn’t anybody ever tell you that Facebook is a liar and a comparer and a thief? Honey, this year, let’s practice being accepting of where we’re at and letting that be. Let’s find joy and survival where we can. So we’re using paper plates, alright. But there’s really no wrong way of being. Give yourself some breathing space. Like your therapist says, “Meet yourself where you’re at.” Demanding and demanding and demanding will exhaust you.
You’re brave and you’re strong and you have goals and ambitions and hopes and dreams. There are no limits, but no requirements either. Feel it out. Take it a month, a week, a day, an hour at a time. Use your support system. Love people. Keep on. Hold tight to yourself. Everything you are is enough. It’s everything you are meant to be at this exact moment in time.
I love you. Be true.
January 2, 2018