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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.

At the end of some years you look back and feel unchanged by the days past, as if an inertia had settled in and each day had a similar rhythm and feel and light to it.

This was not that year for me.

This was the year where the ground underneath me always felt shaky, when expectations never manifested in anticipated ways, where I often would rather stay cocooned under the covers than to face another day outside. Yet despite all that, in this year, I got up, got dressed and showed up for myself.

This year was the year I left the most difficult work experience of my career. That environment – challenging on its best days – taught me about myself and my strength and my character in the face of the naysayers who felt the need to define me, though they didn’t know a thing about me. It taught me about believing in myself, even when everyone around me was alternately ignoring me or telling me I wasn’t good enough. It taught me that sometimes people decide not to like you, and there is nothing you can do about it. And that, ultimately, it is more about them than it is about you.

Paradoxically, it also taught me that it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to wear sequins to work. That it is fine to dress as if every day was a celebration. That fabulousness is not relegated to the nighttime. I will take that lesson with me wherever I go.

Perhaps most valuable of all, it taught me that I never want to use the word “fabulous” again. Ever.

This year was the year I left that job for another that makes me feel as if I’ve landed on the other side of the world. The sun isn’t always shining, but more often than not, the forecast is partly sunny instead of completely clouded over. I am working harder than I ever have since I started working at 17, but I also have never been more supported or rewarded for it. I even won an award.

I have learned that confidence doesn’t fly away forever. It can bury itself in the ground and lay dormant for a time, just waiting for the springtime and some sunshine to nurture it back to life.

This was the year I took myself on vacation. I discovered that there is a place with a pace so slow and air so fresh that I felt altered by it. A place where calm was normal, where a stillness moved through me and stayed a while, quieting the voices in my head who never cease the constant conversation.

This was the year I tired of watching the housewives, no matter how “real” or imagined they seemed. I learned that the escape of watching other people live their made up lives was no match for the glorious messiness of my own. I realized that it is time to turn off the chaos of their lives and to focus on cleaning up my corner in the world.

This year was the year I found community at a neighborhood restaurant, even though it’s nowhere near my own neighborhood. There is comfort in a place where everyone knows my name, where I’m welcomed with smiles and a beautiful meal, and where I’m sent on my way with my favorite dessert and a hug before I walk out the door. Next time you are in the West Village of Manhattan, go to Neta…get the omakase and be prepared to swoon.

This was the year I struggled with balance and saw that I desperately need to cultivate a more meaningful personal life. It’s all personal, really, this life. It’s just that a richer, fuller life is about more than work. It’s my continual struggle, but I’m determined to conquer it by reclaiming a seat at the table with friends and their children, with family who may not see enough of me. The to-do list will always be there, but children grow up, friends grow close to other people and family learns to rely on others for support.

This was the year that I understood that you cannot be a support to other people if you have not filled the water in your own well. Insomnia has been a regular night time visitor, but I’ve remained determined to be stronger than it. Vegetables have been my loyal friends, even as I insist on supplementing the meals – okay, sometimes replacing entirely – with cheesy, ooey, gooey things that have little nutritional value. I’ve learned that sometimes comforting yourself is only acceptable in food form. But I also know that food is the best medicine and moderation is a proper way of mothering yourself.

This was the year that in spite of the turmoil, the chaos, the uncertainty, I learned that I was enough. I am enough. Me, just the way I am. I hope to keep remembering that.

And that is my wish for you in 2013.  No matter your circumstance, no matter where you are in your life, you will live your year grounded with the knowledge that you alone are enough.

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