I wanted to come here to write a blog about my expectations for the new year but that feels so passé, so empty, so “last year.” Goals for the year don’t work anymore because now we know those goals can be stolen from us just. like. that.
I think of that funny tiktok (thank god for tiktok during quarantine) where the girl talks about her 2020 goals of traveling more, being more social, spending more time with her grandma (who died) and she cry-laughs as she recounts all of these horrid non-realities. The trauma we’ve experienced is so real and so collective that we don’t even need to empathize with words or actions, we all just already know exactly how everyone else feels.
This must be what hell is like.
And no one’s talking about mental health. Sometimes we talk about how no one’s talking about mental health but that’s about it. Mental health doesn’t offer much in the way of “measurable science” and our culture most eagerly reacts to bar charts, pie charts, pretty parabolic curves, lots of %’s, and numbers with oodles of commas. Look I get it, I’m a numbers person so I’m impressed by all of those charts too. But it remains: Americans aren’t recognizing the effects of Covid on mental health.
I see mental health effects everywhere I look: in my cousin who’s an ICU nurse in a hard hit area who is terrorized by witnessing horrific death after death and exhausted and overworked. I see it in my friend who has a newborn baby and is petrified to leave her home. I see my own friends judging the shit out of me for stepping onto an airplane – maybe because they’re jealous or maybe because they think I’m a selfish asshole – but either way we both just lost a friend. I see it in fellow parents drinking too much because they cannot successfully juggle teaching from home while working and have no social outlet. I don’t need to go on, you know it and you see it too.
Back to 2020 goals, looking back mine were pretty lofty. *Insert sarcasm and keep reading.* My main one was to get divorced but here I am married as ever. Dude, Covid courts won’t even let me get divorced. I feel like that pretty much sums up 2020: I can’t even accomplish the shittiest thing on my list.
I digress (or do I regress? I originally wrote “regress” which could have easily been a Freudian slip.) So here I am, 2021 in full swing, and my organized-as-hell self hasn’t even written down one goal. I feel so dejected by 2020 that I became apathetic about 2021. I found out after my failed marriage that dejection and apathy are best friends. (I’m the biggest hopeless romantic on the planet and it took me an entire 6 months – which in Meghan Years is 5 years for a normal human without the rubberband resiliency with which I’ve been blessed – to even think about another man.)
Here’s my new goals: listen to my intuition more, stop planning so rigidly, live my life out loud, and use less punctuation (this one’s not going well so far). Life is short but a lifetime is long. Please, love your neighbor and love your planet.
But love yourself the most.
That’s your 2021 resolution. Say it out loud and write it down. That’s all you need this year.
I love you.