When I saw 2017 from afar, I was terrified. Turning 32, entering the year with a different president than the one I worked so hard for, and an unknown future for us all. Now, as we kick off 2018, I feel more certain that things will be ok – and that we, and I, have the tools we need to build the world we want. Here’s what I learned in 2017 that makes me think that the year ahead will be even better than the last.
- There is power in numbers – and in single actions. I cashed in my flight to DC, which I had bought on the idea that I would be joining for a historic female inauguration, and instead my friends and I rallied on the Boston Common on January 20th. What I saw there reminded me that I was not alone in my pledge of #resistance, and that we had the power to change history. At the same time, my work with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Advocacy team showed me that even one phone call can make a difference, when it comes to winning over legislators’ hearts and minds. Individually and together, we can’t stop fighting.
- Failure is sometimes an option. As if 2016 didn’t teach me this enough, I got a nice big dose of humble pie at my first ever craft fair in November. I was so sure that my state embroideries were going to fly off the shelves, I was mentally calculating everything I would buy with my profits. And then, the fair itself was… terrible. I got to spend two days with my mom and best friend, Katie, but DANG we sold almost nothing. I didn’t even cover my materials with the income I got on those two days. I did get to see some old friends and send some NH love into the world, and then had more luck selling at a gift shop in town, but first I had to be taken down about 5 notches from the success I had pictured. I am very glad we did it – it was important to see what the outcome could be! – but it will be some time until I venture into that realm again. Oof.
- You need less than you think. Technically I learned this one twice or three times. The first, when I joined my mom and her friends in a quest to get rid of 465 things in September, as in 1 item on 9/1, 2 on 9/2, etc. I found so much stuff I didn’t need lying around. Previously, I learned this when we went without a fridge for almost two weeks this summer and yet managed to stay alive. And then for a final dose, I learned it again when I lost my wallet in a parking lot over Thanksgiving and had to exist on borrowed cash for two weeks while everything was replaced. My wallet eventually found its way home, but going without taught me a) how much I usually spend and b) how little I actually need.
- Never underestimate the power of family. Obviously my life is basically this over and over again but recently I got even more reminders, like when my mom jumped in as my Halloween date when I got ghosted by my planned +1, or when my dad gave me the exact right pep talk at the exact right time, or when my sister and brother-in-law canceled on their New Year’s Eve plans to hang out and play board games with me when I was sick. They are truly the best.
- You walk less than you think you do, so keep trucking. My mom and I got FitBits together and love to use them to challenge each other and track our running and other nerdy things (like which way to the subway is actually shorter). But one thing it showed me is that we walk WAY less than we think we do, and you actually have to work at it if you want to get 10k steps per day while having a full-time desk job. Here’s to hitting my goal more days in 2018!
- Eat more vitamins. Just, do it. You’ll feel better. That is all.
- There are new adventures in my own backyard. Some of my favorite moments in 2017 were finding new exciting things in places I already loved. That includes a Segway tour of DC (my dad’s birthday gift to me!), an awesome hike in the Whites with my mom, sailboats in the Boston Harbor, walking on the ice at our lake house, hosting murder mystery parties, the epic adventure of officiating my childhood bestie’s wedding on a Cape Cod beach, finding the best Indian food in my sister’s neighborhood… and more! 2017 reminded me that sometimes adventure can be closer than you think. And sometimes, you need to hit a new continent every now and then…
What did you learn in 2017? What are you hoping to learn in 2018?