You have put us through what seems, at times, to be more than humanly tolerable. Hurricanes, wildfires, terrorist attacks, threats of nuclear war, an apathetic government, an antipathetic government. Homes burned down, homes flooded, homes destroyed, homes ripped away from people simply because of who they are.
You have made us step up in ways we didn’t know we were capable. Worldwide protests, medical advancements, countless calls to Congress, donations to victims. Strangers coming together, strangers fighting for one another, strangers becoming each others’ homes.
2017, you have brought out the best and the worst in us. At times I wonder if you were a lesson. But you’ll only be a lesson if we learn from you and do better in the next year.
I hope you surprise us.
I hope you don’t forget to give us some good news amidst all the bad. Give us a midterm election that inspires us. Give us legislation that the country desperately needs. Give us civilians turned heroes in times of crisis and communities coming together. Give us minorities gaining power in DC, minorities gaining power in Hollywood. Give us art. Laughter. Give us a beautiful Royal Wedding.
2018, I hope you bring my friends and family all that they deserve. Give them safety and security. Give them a place to belong for the next three years. I hope you give them health and happiness. All the happiness.
I hope you stay full of hope, always full of hope.
I hope you know that you don’t have to do too much for me. Because whether you intervene or not, you’re going to meet the best version of me. Give me opportunities or give them to other people. Bring me successes or bring me failures. Because in 2018, I won't let myself be the background character in my own movie. I won't let life simply happen to me. That’s not the person I was, and that’s not the person I want to be.
For a long time, I measured my worth in all-things superficial: The grades I got in school. The amount of dedication I showed every day. Whether people noted this dedication. How I dressed. How closely I resembled my icons.
2018, I fully intend to restore every piece of myself that I loved dearly. But, more than anything, you are going to be about me becoming a better person. And that isn’t in academics or appearance.
It’s in how you doors open for people. It’s in how you listen and let people know that you’re there for them. It’s in how you smile at everyone you encounter, even though you spilled your coffee on your white shirt when you were running late for your morning class because you slept through your alarm, and there’s a piece of hair that’s just not cooperating, and it’s been a really long week, even though it’s only Tuesday.
It’s in being the light, and making people feel lighter. It’s in thank you notes to professors and in love letters sent to your friends at 2 AM telling them how much you appreciate them. It’s in inspiring people to love, love hard, love when it’s hard, because love is the only thing that will ever make any of this better.
I’m going to be kinder to myself and the world around me.
I hope you’ll be kind to us, too.