It's been another journey around the sun for me, and what a journey it's been. All I can say is good riddance to 27, a year full of unaccomplished dreams and a whole lot of heartbreak. There are lessons that I'm keeping with me, though: About perseverance and hope, about hustle and imagination. About not letting anyone's expectations define the scope of my life, not even my own. About learning to roll with the times and make the best of them.
I rang in 28 with a trip to Paris and, true to form, got food poisoning and spent the last few days of the trip feeling pretty miserable. I have to laugh at the cosmic irony -- Another lesson to be filed away in my box of truths.
I made a decision this year which may seem superficial but I've already noticed a shift in how it's made me feel: I'm only buying things that make me outrageously happy (of course, toilet paper and tampons are practicalities that need to be purchased as well). But instead of going shopping and buying yet another plain white tank top ("I can layer it for work! It's on sale!" etc), I'm spending my money on the dinosaur t-shirt, the rainbow print, the sparkly earrings. I'm filling my crafting supply kit with colorful yarns and gold scissors. I'm buying every book and paying for Riverdale season 2 on iTunes and justifying it as a self-care purchase. It's like the reverse KonMari method: "Does this spark joy? Yes? Buy it."
I'm excited not just for new things but for things that make me happy when I look at them, wear them, or touch them. I'm sharing them with my friends and spreading the happiness vibes.
The road to self-love is long and slow, and I'm paving my own at a snail's pace but the point is that I'm paving it. I hope you're in the kind of safe, warm environment where you too can find the time and resources to pave your own road. I hope that I can help be a part of that, even in the smallest way.
There's a new Lenny essay that speaks to these ideas; give it a read if you need something to chew on today. My favorite part:
I pull out a bag of mini Bounty bars, a chocolate-and-coconut candy bar sold in Europe.
"I love coconut," she says. I knew she would say this because I love coconut, too. Also, I saw that she had mentioned it on Twitter.
"You should go to Thailand," I say. "They put coconut in everything there." Then I remember her botany background and the refrain of my brother Aaron, a paleo-botanist.
"But it's not a native species. That's something my older brother would say."
"You know what?" Jessica says, taking a bite out of her Bounty bar. "We're not native, either."
If you need more reading material, I wrote this piece for On She Goes about finding home as a member of the Puerto Rican diaspora in the world post-Maria. Take a minute to read the accounts of the brave women who shared their stories with me, and please join me and local yogi Claudia Arango tomorrow for a morning of healing to benefit the low-income communities and communities of color that are trying to rebuild their lives on the island (find more information and reserve your spot here).
As always, I wish you love and light and peace. May your weekend be filled with the things that bring you the most happiness.