I’ve been giving a lot of thought to this last year and what it meant to me. But I find myself not wanting to recap or rehash or relive any of it.

Instead, I’m thinking about what I want from the next year.

On Christmas Day, I hunkered down on my parents’ sofa as we flipped through old photo albums. I came across a picture of me from when I was about 7 or 8, and it stopped me. That was a girl I hadn’t remembered.

I recall the day vividly; I was roller skating on my block, as I often did, and my dad came outside, armed with his camera. (I inherited my love of photography from him.) We had an impromptu photo shoot; me skating and posing and being goofy, him documenting it all. I wore a purple plaid pinafore, accessorized with my blue and yellow skates and a Reggie Jackson pin. I loved baseball—actually my brother did, which in those days was the same thing—and I loved #44 on the Yankees.

There were a series of pictures from this shoot in the album, and seeing them now makes me laugh. I was open and funny and spirited, at that beautiful age before self-consciousness sets in. But I kept going back to that one photo.

I’m looking off camera, most likely at my dad, hands on my hips, slight smirk on my face, eyes steely and certain and probably annoyed about something. I’m sassy, feisty and unafraid. I’m in command of myself.

I turned to my dad, incredulous at this picture of my younger self. When was I this person? He laughed and then heaved a sigh full of humor and weariness. You’ve always been that person.

How can we get ourselves so wrong?

I once had someone challenge me about my personality. What is it with you and being nice? I didn’t understand what she meant at the time; in fact, I was slightly offended by it. I know now that I confused being nice with being kind. I understand that wanting to be viewed as nice often leads to a contrived persona, built so people will like us. But instead we betray ourselves as we dumb down our truest essence.

Now I know that sometimes I am kind. Sometimes I am flippin’ furious. And that’s okay. It is possible for both things to exist in the same person. We can be many things at the same time. Soft and rough around the edges. Courteous and demanding. Understanding and challenging.

So much of our lives is consumed by what we’ve been told to want and need—and who we should be. When I think of what I want in 2018, I’m pretty sure of what I don’t want. I will not start a diet on January 1. I certainly will not be in the gym bright and early on that day, nor any other day that week. I will not deprive myself of my feelings. I will not buy into any of this ‘new year, new you’ nonsense. I’m fine just as I am, and I’m guessing you are, too. I will not waste anymore time with resolutions based on who everyone else thinks we should be and all strive towards becoming.

Instead, my hope is to show up—as me. Not some made-up and idealized version of myself, but who I really am. That person is messy in so, so many ways. (My brother loves to tell a story about a donut and my desk drawer. But, a tale for another day.) The real me has big emotions and is learning to express them. She gets angry. If you are annoying her, chances are she will blurt it out a little too quickly and very loudly. This may hurt your feelings. But she feels love deeply, too. She loves to laugh. She thinks comedians are rarely funny, but real people are inherently hilarious. She looks for beauty in the world every single day. She will point at the moon as it rises and tell you, Wow…you need to see this! If you dismiss it, she will know that you’ve unlearned wonder, but she trusts you will find your way. This is the person I was when I was born, and she is the person longing to be fully immersed in the world every day. I know intellectually that I am enough, but maybe it’s time to start living like it.

Wishing all of this, and all beautiful things in this new year.  Let’s make ourselves proud.

xo, with goodness and grace.

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