I wrote almost 34,000 words this year for other people, which is a lot if you consider that my work is often measured in captions and character counts. I wrote for authors, teachers, coaches, chefs, nurses, inventors, activists, and artists. I wrote for people who had new ideas to share and who wanted to make this broken world better. I wrote for people who were unemployed, underemployed, or just tired of feeling stuck. I don’t dare quantify my own personal writing, which is spread out over Google docs, email drafts, notes app entries, and an actual pad of paper from 1989 featuring a Ninja Turtle that says “pizza powered!” but I’ve decided to give myself a break.
I’m not sure how to write about grief or what it feels like to live in constant fear quite yet, so I’m not going to do that here. I was looking back at old Gchat conversations last night for another thing I’m attempting to write very slowly and realized that I’ve been doling out the same advice for decades: give yourself a break and it won’t always be this bad. Since I don’t know when it’s going to get better, let me give you permission to not do a damn thing besides wear a mask and be kind to people in the months ahead.
Over on Instagram
, I asked people to share one good thing that happened this year. Many of you ended relationships and some of you fell in love. A few of you had babies and a few of you adopted dogs. Some of you were relieved to spend time alone and some of you were grateful to see your kids grow up. 2020 showed me how lucky I am to share a backyard with my mothers and to have an understanding partner to navigate this new reality with. Frida spends every day with adults who care deeply about each other and so far no one has run screaming from our tiny compound (I have done more than my share of walking and swearing under my breath, though). In spite of my body being held together by the pharmaceutical equivalents of scotch tape and twigs, my family has managed to stay healthy this year. As always but more than ever I am thankful that the internet exists, mostly because that’s where all of my friends live.
You, of course, do not need to come up with a single nice thing to say about this year. You can go to bed tonight with a list of enemies tucked tightly under your pillow and sleep well knowing that no matter what, the world has a need of you
. On the last day of 2020, I want to remind you that there are many ways to mark the passage of time. January 1st is going to look a whole lot like December 31st. Sometimes success feels like failing over and over again and sometimes success is just refusing to stop.
I’ll see you in 2021.
P.S. The title of this newsletter was taken from this poem
. You should read this poem