Dear Self: 2016 New Year’s Letter

Another year has come and gone and 2016 is rolling in like an out of control freight train.  It’s that special time when the whole world looks backward and forward and people are so full of hope that it’s almost contagious.  Almost.

But this isn’t about them, is it?  No, it’s about us.  Me and you, self.  So fuck those hopeful dudes and let’s take a hard look at where we are right now.

2015 was not what we expected, not by a long shot — but that seems to be the theme these days.  The last few years have been filled with unexpected news, unplanned tragedies and uncontrollable emergencies..  But along with that, we’ve also been witness to unbridled acts of kindness, unrepentantly loyal friendships and unbelievable compassion.

We saw that, more than ever, our networks and our relationships weren’t just a net made of moments, but instead a raft that kept us from sinking into the black deep.  We found kindness and understanding and hands to help us up when we started to sink.  We found that even in the worst situations, there could be a point of light somewhere in the distance to focus on.

I had ignorantly believed that getting through 2015 meant an end to my term as a medical guinea pig, that after the last surgery it would all be maintenance and living better and being better to myself.  I thought we’d gotten through the worst of it.  From where I’m sitting today, it’s clear that we’re sailing right into a storm, the likes of which we’ve never known.  It’s going to be something, alright, but if this year and the years before it have shown us anything, it’s that we have all the tools and resources and people we need to make it through.

This is the year you’ll have to admit that you’re going to have to step back from work some to give yourself room to breathe.  This is the year where there’s not going to be a choice between health and work, and you’re going to have to accept that.  But, as you shed hard deadlines, you’ll be opening yourself up to other possibilities, other opportunities, and you’ll be able to help more people with every stroke of the key.

There’s only going to be one go at this life, and that means that you need to lay some groundwork for something bigger than yourself, bigger than a paycheck, bigger than your monthly budget — starting right now.  It’s time to build a thing that will live on, because God knows that there’s no promise that there’s going to be a tomorrow.  If you don’t do your part to touch and inspire and help, who will?

This year, you have to remember to be a helper.  If there’s nothing else people remember you for, they should remember that you were put on this planet to help.  Life is short, as we’ve seen in the last few years.  We’ve lost some beautiful minds to the void — all we have left of them are the moments we shared.  Judith’s forever our Ray of Sunshine, Kat’s love for “that man” will always be fresh — if it’s to be your turn, you need to be more than just curse words and bad jokes.

You’re getting ready to go on a journey of monumental proportions.  Unlike the many before it, this one has no guarantee of calm seas, no promise of an easy or safe return.  But you’ve got to go.  You have to face the wind and beat your breast as you scream, “C’mon, 2016, bring it on!  I’m ready for you, you motherfucker!”

This is a year that will change your life forever.  You have to make it count.