Breaking Up is (Not So) Hard to Do: Goodbye, 2020. Hello, Me.
An ending has never felt so good.
An open letter to myself & any beautiful soul that can relate.
3...2....1... Happy New Year!
While the snaps, crackles, & pops of fireworks fill the air outside with startling exuberance, you feel the collective’s energy shift. A quiet rush of peace overwhelms your being as time seems to stand still. You smile to yourself in acknowledgment that you’ve made it through an arduous relationship with another year, the toughest one yet, excited for the hope that lies in 2021.
To the you that began 2020 with the highest of hopes, opening yourself up to a relationship with a new year that began with an optimistic spark and ended in smoke & flames. To the you that cried on your hands & knees begging God for it all to end. To the you that laughed & cried your way through a new "normal." To the you that managed to stay in your light as 2020 attempted to engulf you in overwhelming darkness. To the you that simply survived. You are safe here. You are free. You are liberated. You move effortlessly with the flow of this life, & it’s your time to reap the love that you sow. And, man, doesn't it feel good?
Life is characterized by your relationships— with people, things, places, the world around you. A chronic dumpee, you’re reclaiming your power as you consciously sever ties with that toxic ex known as 2020 & all the baggage that came with it. There’s cause for celebration because, for once, breaking up is not so hard to do. (Not to mention Taylor Swift, the breakup queen herself, dropped two new albums for you to indulge in on your journey.)
On January 1, 2020 we began the hurting. On January 1, 2021, we began the healing. And so begins the most important relationship you’ll ever have: the one with yourself. As with any relationship, no matter how good or bad, sweet or sour, lessons can be found in the midst of the chaos.
So, where do we go from here?
For starters, the word is gratitude. If there’s anything to be mindful of coming off the heels of your relationship with 2020, it’s practicing gratitude and love every day. Life has a funny way of reminding you just how short it can be when you need to remember it the most. This year you’ve lost ones you thought you could never survive without, & even more importantly, yourself. Everything you’ve ever known & loved can be taken from you in an instant, so it’s time to start appreciating what you have while you still have it and making the most of every single day. Absolutely nothing this year has been easy, but even in the loving, the hurting, & the healing, there is so much to be grateful for, and I hope you extend the same grace to yourself as you've so freely given to those around you.
Now I know first hand you've struggled with this in the past, but please understand that we all need a little help from time to time. So let me help you help yourself and keep yourself accountable. I've compiled a list below of just a few positive intentions we're going to set in motion over the next 12 months, guaranteed to put you on the path towards being the best "you" for you.
1.) Journal like your life depends on it.
Now don't lie to me. You have a journal lying around somewhere, maybe even two or three. And when you walk into Target or TJMaxx you're always eyeing up the stationary aisle. Just know I know y'all keep that thang on you. When was the last time you actually picked it up & let your soul speak, though? There's so much insight to be found by simply putting your thoughts on paper, whether you need to make a decision, analyze a situation, or simply just reaffirm that you're freaking awesome because you know you are. The best way to make this a habit is to carve out a time in your schedule every day to keep inventory of your thoughts and feelings, just letting them flow. Throw on your movie scores playlist and let it all out. It's what Hans Zimmer would want.
2.) Honor your body the way you need to.
You don't need a professional to tell you that exercise is good. You even used to love it! So what happened? Life happened that's what, & that's ok. This year though, sis, we're leveling up. Elle Woods said it best in Legally Blonde, "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands. They just don't." Now we've watched enough true crime documentaries in 2020 to know that's a statement we definitely can get behind, no? In all seriousness, though, this year we're finding an exercise routine that works for us. We're choosing exercise that we enjoy and not what society forces upon us. Enjoying the activity you're doing is half the battle. And when your body needs to rest, you're safe to do just that. Get into the habit of exercising at the same time every day to really get into the routine.
3.) Hold yourself accountable but stop saying "sorry" when you have nothing to apologize for.
4.) Don't postpone your joy waiting for others to join you.
So much time we spend waiting on others to accompany us on our journey. Think about it, though. This is your journey for a reason. If you want to do something, achieve something, go somewhere, you don't need anyone else but yourself. I promise you it is so worth it. This year I challenge you to do at least one activity every month entirely on your own. Mark it in your calendar. Save it in your phone. There is no discovery quite like self-discovery, and this game plan affords you at least twelve opportunities to seek that out. Remember when you went to London all by yourself? That 10-hour trip to Nashville for your 24th birthday? That Saturday night you spent seeing Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre all by yourself sobbing to "Defying Gravity," only to bond with the 22 year-old during intermission who was crying just as hard? You can do hard things, beautiful things, life-changing things all on your own, and you will never regret a single bit of it.
5.) Manifest that dream job (but also put in the work).
You want that job you interviewed for in NYC? The one for the company you interned for in London? NYC, the city you've dreamt of living in since you were a little girl? SIS. You can have it all. Somewhere along the way of this crazy life you seem to have forgotten just how powerful you are. Speak this dream future into existence. The universe has a funny way of working things out for us if we only have the courage to believe it's possible. Don't get complacent, though. Outline your goals & intentions in a list and attach a timeline to them as guided action to achieving everything you've ever dreamed of. Vision boards? Yes, please! You spend enough time on Pinterest as it is, might as well make it productive. You'll be amazed at the abundance that comes our way come December 31, 2021.
6.) Create more.
Art. Music. Stories. Photos. Memories. All of your greatest loves & passions. This year we're not only making time for the things that make us feel alive, but we are making them a priority. Remember that painting hobby you picked up & ending up loving during quarantine? It changed your outlook on the world & yourself in all the best ways. So why not continue doing that every day? What is the purpose of life if not to live with an unbridled passion for things we love? Dedicate just a few hours every week to your true passions, and you'll be amazed at how your skills sharpen & soul shines by the end of this year.
7.) When in doubt, dance it out.
That electric dance-off to "Bye, Bye, Bye" by *N'SYNC you had with yourself in the mirror on several occasions this year? Don't think I didn't see every pop, lock, jam, and break along the way. What wonders that did for us this year. Harness that energy. Use it to your advantage. Dancing is good for the soul.
8.) Say your affirmations.
Every morning & every night. You are loved. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are beautiful. You are confident. You are strong. You are powerful. You are important. Write it down. Speak it to yourself in the mirror. Heck, record yourself saying it in your Tik Tok drafts. According to Dr. Sanjay Gupta via CNBC, "you can turn an abstract hope into a picture that not only inspires you, but also guides you." Reaffirming every good & wonderful thing about yourself rewires your brain to makes that your reality and set you up for success. You are a beautiful person inside & out, and you deserve to remind yourself of it every day.
9.) Give yourself the freedom to get lost.
In nature. In a good book. In conversation with loved ones & strangers alike (masks on of course). You learn so much about yourself and this world by completely immersing yourself in the worlds around you you've never explored before. Sure, it can be scary, but the beauty to be found in the souls & places around you is incomparable. Every weekend for the next year, we're stepping out and exploring a world beyond that which we've become accustomed to. It'll be so worth it in the end. Hey, maybe you'll even want to write about it in that journal of yours (wink wink).
10.) When all else fails, watch Soul on Disney+ to remind yourself just why you're here.
Disney didn't even pay me to say that! You've watched this film three times already since it's release, and it's already turned your world upside down. You have new-found courage to chase after your dreams. You've begun questioning everything around you and everything you're about. You shed a few hundred tears along the way, but you're better for it. And I for one find it so beautiful to watch as you spread your wings and finally begin to really soar.
At the end of the day, words can't even begin to express how proud I am of you for making it this far. You've overcome every obstacle intended to destroy you, and you're only getting started. You started therapy this year. You stood by those who needed you when realistically you needed yourself the most. You've broken up with the devastation that 2020 subjected you to and are stepping into your power.
I'll say it again. Life is characterized by relationships, and as we've come to learn, breakups of epic proportions: with new years that expire, with people we thought would stand by us forever, with ideas, beliefs, and versions of ourselves we shed every single day. You're ever-changing as the world around you follows suit, and herein lies the beauty of this life. So be it as it may, we'll also inevitably part ways with 2021 come December 31, but as long you continue to choose yourself every single day until then, you're going to be just fine. And in the meantime, I have the most epic breakup playlist to get you through it all.