I got new glasses, which were two years overdue. Like so often when one gets a new prescription for their eyes, it’s hard to know how badly your sight was until you put on the new pair and can count individual leaves again.
Yesterday was my birthday, so I could argue that I just started the new year and kind of get away with it.
It’s weird to think about now, but for a lot of my life I couldn’t actually imagine myself in the future. Sometimes, it can still be difficult to think past the next three years, but at least I can think that far. Getting new glasses was a resolution for this year because I needed them, and for me that’s like saying, Here is a physical reminder that it’s important to take responsibility in your health. If you don’t take the time to advocate for yourself, there’s a sense (at least, again, for me) that you’re not being very proactive in planning your future. And yes, you shouldn’t spend all your time thinking about tomorrow, but there’s a difference in not thinking about the future because you’re making the best of today, and not thinking about it because you both literally and figuratively cannot see what’s in front of you.
2017/23 was a really difficult year for me for a lot of reasons, but at least at 23 (versus when I was 16) I know now that a bad year doesn’t have to mean the next one is going to be as vicious. Maybe it will be in the public news cycle, but 2018/24 has a lot going for it already. I’ve already met two of my resolutions: I paid off my (admittedly small in comparison to federal) private loan, and I finally got new glasses. There are elections happening this year with a large number of GOP politicians retiring, opening the doors for new group of politicians who care about their constituents. I’m probably graduating with my Masters at the end of the fall semester. Things are moving, quickly, but I’m running to keep up and feeling like maybe, maybe I can.
And for the bulk of it: I’ve been reading a lot of honestly kind of inane self-help guides/posts about what works for other people, and I read the recent New Yorker article on the same thing. A lot of it’s all regurgitated information, and I do have a lot of beef in general with people who make a profit on others feeling so badly about themselves that they need to improve. There’s a book I saw at work the other day titled “How to Be a Better Person” and let’s be real–if someone actually needs to be a better person, they’re not the one who’s going to pick up that book. But I also don’t think we need to be cynical, either, and maybe I can hope the people who are so invested in the Fuck-It attitude are invested because they want to actually help people and not just make enough money to quit their jobs and move to warmer beaches.
The posts about self-care and upkeep are mostly reminders to drink water and to treat yourself, which I get, but this is something we all should have been taught when we were younger. You can’t always spend your time doing good things for yourself in terms of spending a lot of money on a lot of things or eating only sugary foods; sometimes treating yourself should mean getting strawberries instead of a bag of chips (Stop & Shop had them at a really, really cheap price) because it’s better for your body, and sometimes treating yourself should mean knowing when you need to take a sick day and actually doing it. And the only way to know when that difference is is to know yourself, which no self-help book or post can do for you.
But I’m 24 now, and I’m starting to know what I need to do for the increasing needs of my body. I’m starting to know that I don’t have to stick to the same pair of beat-up Clark Kent glasses when I need something lighter. I don’t have to say Fuck It when I am a person who cares–deeply!–about things, and I’m allowed to say that I’m not interested. And if I had to go through a shitty 23 to get to this point, I’m glad I did. I am sure that 2018 is going to be a good year, and not in a “Candide” way, but, in an “I acknowledge that sometimes life is going to punch me in the gut repeatedly but I have already survived the worst things that have happened to me, and will continue to survive anything else life tries to do to me” way. And from what I can tell, a lot of other people are starting to be this kind of optimistic, too.