Giving Ourselves a Break

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

By Bryan Garcia (he/him/his)

The end of the year is approaching. If you are reading this: you survived. You made it this far. That is huge. This is usually the time when people start to look back and reflect on what they accomplished professionally/academically/financially to begin to make plans in preparation for the new year. This can be a feel-good exercise for many, but for some, it may feel like pressure for us to come up with things that we feel like we don’t have a lot to show for. In addition to that, planning for the new year can add even more stress because resolutions (especially unrealistic ones) are like a ritual people often feel obligated to do and lead many to feel disappointment when they are not successfully or perfectly achieved. 

I am here to share that you don’t have to do any of that if it doesn’t bring you joy.

Give yourself a break. If you’d like, you can simply do what I do and recall the experiences you had, and make a list of them. They don’t have to be momentous or something worth writing back home about. It doesn’t have to impress your friends, family, or social media contacts. It can simply be you taking a step back and recognizing that your existence is a beautiful and radical moment in time that doesn’t need anyone else’s approval. You were always worthy of love and respect. You were always enough. Nothing can diminish this. 

So back to this list. I call it:

“20 Things that that didn’t suck about 2020”

Interesting title, right? 3 or 4 years back, I was inspired by a dear friend who ended their year by making a list of the things that didn’t suck about that particular year. They may have started in 2016 after a certain election bummed them out and then just added a number to the list every year thereafter. So I copied them because I was bummed out too. 

I will admit that it was tough to get started on this one and I had to think very hard, but I did it. I was guilted into wanting to make it look good but quickly stopped myself and reminded myself that how it appeared to anyone else didn’t matter. Usually, my friends take up one of the numbered items, but I decided to scatter them and have them take their own individual spots on the list because they are each a huge reason why I made it through this year. Looking back at it made me smile and put a light-hearted spin on what was turning into a very tough and overwhelming day since the holidays were coming up and they tend to be a sad time for me. 

I won’t share my whole list, but I will share 6 of the items on it to give you an idea of what it could look like:

1. I was kinder to myself

2. Stayed in contact with people that mattered to me

3. Watched Kim’s Convenience, Anne with an E, Voltron, The Half of It, Evil, Never Have I Ever, Bessie, The Parkers, POSE, Bob’s Burgers, RHOBH and RHONY, Step by Step, Lovecraft Country, Claws, Good Girls, Bad Hair, Little Fires Everywhere, Cobra Kai, Dead to Me, Girlfriends, the new Selena series and a bunch more and I am also very happy that I did. 

4. Allowed myself to rest and not judge myself for it

5. I was able to find a safe way to regularly play tennis while practicing social distancing

6. Spotify said I listened to 21,612 minutes of music. 199 genres, including 65 new ones, 566 artists – 165 of them new to me. Music is healing. 

It is okay if you aren’t able to recall things immediately. It doesn’t mean that you didn’t experience anything good this year. Also, no one is timing you. It takes a moment for our minds to rewind the footage of our lives. You can consider this an exercise in patience and compassion for yourself as well and make it even more meaningful. It is okay if you only come up with 5 things today and then slowly continue to add to your list as the week progresses. Go at your own pace and enjoy the experience. 

Your turn! Take out your journal/ the back of an envelope/some paper and pen or open up the notes app on your phone or open a new google/word doc or desktop “sticky note” because this exercise is going to require some typing/writing. I sprinkled some prompts to help get those thought/memory muscles movin’ and groovin’ for ya. Take ‘em or leave ‘em. 

1. 

2. Who are you most grateful for this year? 

3. 

4.

5. 

6. Your 2020 JAM! The song you listened to the most and got you through the tough days. 

7.

8. 

9.

10. What was the funniest thing that happened that you can’t help but laugh out loud about?

11.

12.

13. Didya fall in love? Get out of an unhealthy situation? Crushing on someone right now? Ooo!

14.

15. What was your favorite movie or show that you watched this year?

16.

17.

18. Can you recall the yummiest meal you had?

19.

20. 

So again, give yourself a break. That is the only thing you owe to anyone and you owe it to yourself. This year has been a very unique and interesting one, to say the least, but you are still here. I am grateful that you are. Come 2021, I will be chanting “New Year, Same Me!” because I am perfect. A confident statement, right? Well, someone’s gotta lift me up! Might as well be me! You can do the same for yourself! Jokes aside, we can be our own cheerleaders as we navigate the next 12 months. You can be certain that allgo is most definitely cheering you on and looking forward to making it through 2021 with you. GO YOU! 

You are invited to a special cozy wellness chat on Thursday, December 17th at 6 pm CST (tomorrow) where we will celebrate each other and close off 2020 by taking stock of the year and how “WE MADE IT!” rather than what all we ‘did.’ So grab a hot drink of your choice, your favorite blanket if you have one and come on over! We have a spot saved for you. You can register here.

Care to share what didn’t suck about your 2020 with us? We want to celebrate you! Holler at us on social media @allgoqpoc on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. 

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