It’s okay if you didn’t have a great year. Your feed, like mine, is probably full of people with new spouses and new children or glamorous selfies toasting the camera from an expensive hotel room. It’s okay to have none of those things. It’s okay to feel bad about that.
It’s okay to not feel like practicing gratitude. Especially if you usually try hard to. This year’s highs were spectacular – some of the happiest days, suffused with a tender contentment I’d never felt before. Inversely by their nature, the lows were awful, harrowing; cold water pouring into your chest, a dry constriction of the throat, a low tinnitus swelling in your head. It’s okay to leave that tension unresolved, to linger in bewilderment. It’s okay to decline the effort of looking for a silver lining.
Social media confronts us all with the stressful thoughts of celebrity without any of the Bacchanalian comforts – the neuroses of curating our lives for public validation. We want to create content our friends and work conference acquaintances and estranged relatives will like. We (as I do now) write our thoughts into being and drum our fingers waiting for praise: “Always love reading your posts, Andrew!”
I’m still trying to sift the distinction between self-care and self-centeredness. To me, so much of modern culture’s attempts to incubate happiness mistake rationalization for fulfillment. It abuses its empathetic deference to subjectivity and drifts away from larger questions and deeper principles – as I see it, it makes it too easy to ignore the sight (and love) of God. That being said, I’m going to try and not be so hard on myself when I screw up the sifting. To be okay with wanting some things merely because I want them. To create more opportunities to unshoulder the burdens of faith and ambition for sheer creative or consumptive instinct. The preview for this post isn’t formatting paragraphs properly, and for the first time, I’m not going to fiddle with the HTML to fix it.
To that end, to reiterate, it’s okay that I didn’t have a great year, and the same is true for you. Take a moment. Breathe in. Again, deeper. Feel how raw that is? There’s truth there we shouldn’t be afraid of.