So, I was recently having a discussion about the Play-Doh device that looks like a dick, and it evolved into talking about how Facebook is trying to get us to reflect happily on 2014, and well, how that doesn’t work for everyone. And the discussion got me thinking about my own 2014, especially since I’ve been penning to blog to mark this year’s end in my head for days now…
People who know me well, or well enough, know me generally to be a happy person. A positive one. One who is full of life, who is excited for it. And I think all these things are pretty true, even during the times where “the going gets rough.” Blame my 3rd-generation immigrant roots, but I have been instilled whole-heartedly with the belief that you pull yourself up by the bootstraps, that you push forward. My favorite saying as of late is “the only direction we’ve been given is forward,” and I have believed this, and embodied it completely. Always pushing forward, always taking life’s lumps and moving onward and upward despite them.
But I gotta be honest: I’m over pretending that taking The High Road is pleasurable. I’m done faking being happy when things sometimes just suck. I fully recognize that things suck and then they don’t; I fully appreciate the things to appreciate, and I know whole-heartedly that many of my problems can be classified as first world.
But that doesn’t make them any less difficult to deal with. It’s not my fault that my problems may only resonate on the continent I was born, in the income bracket I was raised in. That doesn’t mean the issues I deal with are less “real.” Nor does it mean I don’t appreciate the luxuries I do know, that I’m not thankful for the opportunities that have been given to me. And why isn’t that enough? Why must we all try to push forward with happy faces and big, impossible smiles, pretending like these other part of our life aren’t happening because it’s just not pleasant to talk about? Doesn’t this whitewash almost take the sincerity out of the sincerely beautiful moments? Don’t we all kind of crave hearing an honest just once when we ask another human being, “How are you doing?”
2014 had some lovely surprises, but all in all, it was a fucking shit year. I hit what I considered “rock bottom” easily 3 different times. I lost a lot of people who were cornerstones in my life. I had to start over again, without many of the people/things I love to rely on, and after I thought I did that, I had to do it again, this time with even less of an understanding of who I was or what actually defined who I am. In the long run, I know these things will only make me stronger and wiser, and blah blah. But ask anyone who’s had a 2014 like I have (there seems to be a significant number of us…), and I think they’ll agree: sometimes, shit just sucks, long-term life lessons be damned.
And so when I look back onto what I wrote my friend* regarding Facebook’s incessant pestering to reflect about my year, I think what I wrote to him sums up what I’ve been wanting to say in my blog for the past couple weeks to acknowledge this particular passing of time:
I know you and I have differing views on how we reflect on the past, and how we want to handle it/deal with it/review it, but even for me, I have no desire to engage in FB’s Year in Review. This year was necessary, but it was heartbreaking. I look back on 2014 and I cannot believe how much happened, how much changed, how many people I lost. To the best of my ability, I want to put 2014 behind me–to glean what I can from its lessons, but not through some kitsch photo slideshow of it, even if the ugly parts are all edited out. Because even with them edited, I still know they are there. I still know that made up the majority of my year. And frankly, some bullshit cleaned-up version of what 2014 was isn’t helpful to me, either. Because if some fucking app wants to show me how delectable 2014 was, with all the happy posts and cheesy grins, well, it’s just not a fully accurate representation of this year.2014 was cruel. It was severe. It was brutal. It offered gifts, but only after slashing my ankles, then obliging me to be grateful while I crawled to accept them.No algorithm can properly account for that; no programmer can properly craft something that acknowledges that subtly.So yes, I agree. Let 2014 go gently into that good night. Let it end with a whimper, not with a scream, or a celebration. Let it die, quietly, in some East Coast corner, and may my eyes not even look up at the clock when its hands pass over midnight.
Happy New Year, friends. Here’s hoping this year will be better than the last.
*Slightly edited to sound more baller than it initially was written.