It’s a new year, huh? Strange. Usually by the end of December I’m begging for the year to be over already or preemptively mourning it, but for some reason I feel like 2017 isn’t done yet for me. Not for lack of trying—so much happened this year, for better and for worse. Despite losing a good chunk at the beginning to the blurry mess that was my life post-election, a lot of shit happened this year. I went back to therapy, started medication (for all that it’s done so far), applied to GWU, got in, moved halfway across the country to live on my own, and throughout all that wrote like mad. And yet it still doesn’t seem like enough.
I’m trying to be a kinder person. For twenty serpentine my main zag was being overtly positive, refining my particular brand of comforting nihilism into something more optimistic in the face of a hundred million terrible things threatening to crumble the world around me at any moment. I tried to be nicer to strangers. I made more of an effort to reach out to people first, which is really hard for me. I told people I loved them more often. Hell, I even picked up litter. It feels good, in a way I’m unaccustomed to—for so long sarcasm has been my default, and that’s not to say it isn’t still, but I’m trying not to be so… mean.
I started making these monthly playlists December 2016. Even typing out that date feels so alien, and looking back at every song it’s amazing to watch it all develop. I can pinpoint exact moments (“Here’s where I watched The West Wing again, I remember listening to this when this happened, here’s when everyone else started listening to Sufjan,” etc.) and chart changes, watch my music taste coalesce into what it is today. I can spot the exact introductions of some of my now favorite artists and songs I was listening to before something ordinary but lovely happened. There are reminders of bands and friendships turned sour, and those hurt, but there’s more happy memories besides. It’s like a musical scrapbook, and I’d like, every year, to be able to look back further and further and be reminded of as many small happy things as possible.
That’s all it is, really. Small happy things to hold on to. I’m learning to appreciate those things (re-learning how to wonder and enjoy and marvel) and trying to help other people make those small happy things.
The world is mean enough. I want to make it better. I guess that’s what 2017 was all about, for me. I’m going to try for 2018 too.