So, mah dudes, 2017 is almost over. How are we feeling about this? Last year, at the end of 2016, the general concensus was that people could not wait to see the door hit 2016 in the ass on its way out. Not so much this year, although I feel a general sense of optimism about 2018. Seems as though culturally and socio-economically there’s a sense of relief that the sky didn’t actually fall in 2017 and there’s nowhere to go but up from here.
I have mixed feelings about 2017. I started it with some pretty wild expectations (I was born in 1977 so it was a milestone birthday year) and maybe that’s where I went a little bit wrong…because there were some wild successes but also some colossal failures, and life threw me a couple of curve balls that left me reeling for months – I’m STILL working on some course correction. Here’s the thing, though: we PLAN for the good stuff; we work our butts off for it over the long term, and we earn it. Usually – I mean, there’s some element of being in the right place at the right time and luck and all that – but when awesome stuff happens, it’s highly likely that some work went into it. The bad things that happen, on the other hand: more often than not, they’re a surprise. And because of them, I learned some tough lessons, grew in directions I wasn’t expecting, and was inspired to put some processes in place to guard against that shit happening ever again. All told, it was a pretty epic year.
I was at the mall with my twelve-year-old daughter recently. We were standing in line at Starbucks when I glanced down at my baby and saw someone I was not expecting: a young woman. Tall, strong, smart, beautiful, kind, independent… It was like an anvil dropped out of the ceiling of the mall and fell right on my head. I was not prepared for it at all – I mean, this is my youngest kid, who dresses like a unicorn had explosive diarrhea all over her, who loves playing with Lego and who, given the choice, would just be a kid for her entire life…and she is growing up. The bittersweetness of it made me choke up for a minute.
Do you ever feel kinda overwhelmed by changes? Like you push and push and push for things to move forward and suddenly everything comes loose and you can either dig in and resist and get crushed, or jump up and ride the wave and see where it takes you? That seems to be what’s going on in my corner these days.
I mean, don’t get me wrong – change is good. I can be okay with my daughters growing up, they are turning into amazing women who will make the world better. I can grow and change as a professional; I have stuff to say and embracing some discomfort is necessary in order to get my voice heard. Change is inevitable and it’s almost always a good thing. Sometimes, though, change is a harsh bitch who forces you to take a really close look at what and who you’ve grown attached to and why that attachment formed…and if we’re honest with ourselves it can be eye-opening. Still, nasty and shocking or exciting and stimulating, change always carries with it opportunities to grow. I mean, you could just squeeze your eyes shut and stick your head in the sand but how interesting would that be?
If you ask me, the hardest part of embracing change is not dealing with the new, but letting go of the old. Even if the old SUCKS – it’s familiar and it’s comfortable, like an old pair of sneakers that are so worn out they have holes in the bottoms. You know that pair. You throw them out and then haul them out of the trash an hour later because nothing is quite as comfortable as they are…until you wear them outside again and realize that your feet are cold and wet because those fucking shoes have holes in the soles. Chuck them out and get some new ones! Because if you look around, things are shifting and moving and changing everywhere at an alarming rate – the social climate, industry, culture. All you have to do is open up whatever social media platform to see that under a microscope (which can be kind of horrific). In order to not get sucked out to sea in the riptide of change, some introspection is necessary – what ideas about myself am I hanging onto that I’d be better off letting go of? How do I redefine myself so that I am on the leading edge, shaping and steering the change rather than trying to keep up? How do I stay relevant?
These are the questions I’m pondering as I shape my goals and aspirations for 2018. I’m seeking out opportunities to change and grow because I know things aren’t going to progress in a linear way and I want to be ready. It’s going to be an interesting year.
What do you want to do in 2018? Hit me with it – I’m always listening.