Happy New Year, friends! How are you feeling now that the holidays are over? I said this over on Instagram, but I always feel so many mixed emotions this time of year.
Gratitude, for the joy-filled memories, the carrying on of traditions, and the time to see family and friends.
Grief, for a myriad of reasons. Holidays often come with so many hopes and expectations, and it’s nearly impossible for all of them to be met. (If you’re feeling grief particularly strongly this year, I see you ❤️).
And then, once the celebrations all come to an end, I just feel exhausted for a while.
It’s interesting because I know all my body, mind, and nervous system want to do is rest, after the month+ of festivities; but I actually find it hard to do that. It’s not until I’m well into January that I experience all parts of me feeling the permission to slow down again, and embrace the deep calm and rest that I know I need. Anybody else?
The holidays bring with it a sort of buzz, and it just takes time for me to come down from that.
Anywho, are y’all ready for the annual virtual holiday card? As always, I’ll leave a couple questions at the bottom of this, encouraging you to reflect on your year. I really hope you’ll comment/email/DM your answers to me if you feel comfy, because hearing from you about your year is always my favorite part of this. 😌
Starting with January. Remember this view from last year? (This is the view from my covid-priced rental looking out onto Navy Pier and Lake Michigan). My lease ended at the end of the month, so I made it a point to soak up the views and the space as much as possible. Side note: moving is such a drag. If you’re moving this year, god bless you. You can do it. And I know it sucks. Shoutout to Dolly who made it all possible, on a budget.
For anyone wondering if the buzz cut was an impulse decision (perhaps spurred on by an existential crisis?) thankfully, it was not. I’ve been wanting to shave my head for over a year, but hesitated because I thought I ‘didn’t have the face shape for it’ and ‘only certain people can pull that look off,’ which, I have now come to realize, is simply patriarchal BS. If you’re lucky enough to have hair, and to live in a place where it’s safe for people to have a variety of hair lengths (regardless of gender), then honor what you want to do with that hair. Confidence comes from within and honestly? I have never felt better. 😏
Mid-March, Dan and I escaped the seemingly never-ending Chicago winter and spent a week vacationing in Ocean Beach, San Deigo, CA. Aside from the steep California prices and the current and impending affects of the climate crisis on the west coast (💔), San Diego is arguably one of the best places on earth. The weather is mild, the landscape is perfect (beaches + mountains), tons of food for all dietary preferences, and OB in particular has so much character. It’s a quirky little neighborhood with big hippy energy.
My sister came to visit! It was her first visit out here, and it was so special to have her. She surprised me with the most relaxing birthday gift I’ve ever received while she was here, too, and took me to Aire Ancient Baths. My favorite part about the experience was when we sat under a waterfall meant more for viewing, and laughed hysterically as the water matted our hair; all while the couples in the pool just stared in disbelief. I also gifted her a pair of matching pants… almost as cool as a 90-minute spa experience.
Well, first I quit my job. Then I started the podcast. More on why and how in a future post, perhaps. But this was something I’d also been wanting to do for a while, and all I can say is: if you have the privilege to be able to make the time for things that you want to make (even if just for a season), simply because you want to and not because you need to – do it. Capitalism will try to convince you it’s not worth it – that your time is best spent producing in a way that will provide immediate monetary compensation. But there is nothing like making something and learning something new just because you want to. It’s liberating and empowering.
Also, is it just me or do these headphones make it look like I have cinnamon rolls on my ears?
A college roomie trip! Two of us former roommates flew out to meet our third roommate in Salt Lake City, Utah for a week. The company was absolutely unmatched. As a YouTuber once said, ‘I love my time with my girls!’ The location was also unmatched. 🥵 Literally. The nature, of course, is unreal. Plus, I have to admit, SLC itself is hands down the strangest city I’ve ever been to, and I say that with no hate, and much respect. Have any of you been? What did you think?
Sadly, the girls trip was cut a little short due to a surprise visit from c*vid, but we all made the most of it (and are all feeling better now!).
I spent July in MA and got to see some of the many beautiful humans I love there. Something I seriously wonder: will Claude and I ever stop taking handstand pics together? As unfortunate as it is that we’re not exactly vertical, I am impressed by our synchronicity.
This day was a really special one to me. We went to the beach with my nephew and I got to push him around on a boogie board in the water with my dad, and it was the most fun. This winter I asked him if he remembered when we played in the water, and he said ‘yes,’ and ‘maybe we can do it again sometime.’ So, yeah, I pretty much can’t wait for summer now.
(And if I’m being honest, I anticipate Claude and I will keep taking pics like this, as long as our bodies allow).
August was a relatively quiet month, which was much-needed after the active July trip to Mass. Lots of beach trips and lots of time outside, soaking up the beautiful Chicago weather.
One weekend, I went to a little meditation circle in Lincoln Park, and we did an exercise where we symbolically released some shit we didn’t need by smashing coconuts on the ground. Incidentally, I couldn’t bear to just throw away my perfectly good coconut afterward. So I contemplated eating it. But since it had been on public park grounds, I opted to carry it around with me for the rest of the day and photograph it in cute places instead. I even took it with me to the beach after, and we both went swimming. I suppose you could say this coconut became my pet for the day.
More time outside! This view is from a park not far from our neighborhood. Dan and I love to come here and sit in ‘our spot.’ We bring a blanket to lie on, a book and some headphones, and just relax, talk, and dog-watch for a couple of hours. It’s one of my all-time favorite activities, and one of the few places by us that’s really quiet. Needless to say, I’m very excited for it to become warm enough for us to be able to start doing this again.
Okay, this was one of my favorite things we did all year. WE WENT APPLE PICKING. As a born and raised New England girlie, apple picking was a classic fall activity growing up. Every year we’d go, at least once. The last few years I haven’t been because I don’t have a car in the city. But recently, we’ve started using Turo (think: Airbnb for cars), and it’s been amazing.
We got up really early one morning, rented a car for a few hours, drove to Indiana, and had our picking done and apples in-hand by the time the crowds were getting big at the orchard. We ate a little lunch together afterward, complete with apple cider. And I baked, I want to say, 10+ apple pies this season, in order to use up all the apples we got. 😅 (Thank god for pre-made gluten-free Trader Joe’s pie crust).
Happy birthday, Dan! For Dan’s birthday this year, we went to a Too Many Zooz concert at the House of Blues. It was sublime. If you’ve never heard of Too Many Zooz, give them a listen when you’re needing a little pump up. As the kids say, the energy was LIT (… do the kids actually say this?). Truly, the energy was so good, and I left remembering the magic that comes from listening and bopping to music with hundreds of strangers. It’s something I hadn’t experienced since pre-covid and even though I’m not a huge concert person, I was surprised by how much I had missed it.
My friends, Jenna and Mike, got married in December! This was a really sweet evening, getting to witness their love, along with all of their loved ones. I had never been to a restaurant wedding before – I loved the intimacy of it. Congratulations, Jenna and Mike. And shoutout to my mom for always letting me borrow her clothes so that I don’t have to buy a new outfit every time I’m invited to a special event like this (which is a LOT by the way) (jk).
Phew. Another year, come and gone. Thanks for journeying with me through mine.
I have to share my usual disclaimer: this is fully a highlight reel. (Tears, lowlights, struggles, sleepless nights, and anxiety not pictured). AND, I recognize the incredible privilege I have, to be able to have experienced all of these things, and also talk about them. I am continuously blown away by the complexity, beauty, and injustice of this world.
So, tell me.
How was your 2022? What’s one thing that happened that surprised you last year (whether in a good way or a challenging one)?
And/or, if you’re more into looking ahead: what are you looking forward to in 2023? What’s one thing you’d like to do this year, just because you want to (and not because it’ll make you money or look good on a resume)?
Email me at email@example.com. I mean it when I say I would love to hear from you!