Aleen Mean

Hello, 2018

I don’t want to dwell, but 2017 was a real kick in the teeth. I’m not sure exactly when it happened but, at some point, I switched from approaching life with ferocity to just hoping I’d make it through the year unbroken.1 And I did! I feel a little bent and dented and bruised and sad, but I’m still here. I’m nothing if not resilient.

Like a lot of people, I typically use the calendar year rollover as a marker that it’s time to do some self-reflection and evaluation. Most years, I pick a word to cling to—something to help me remember what I want to accomplish.

I haven’t done that this year.

This year, prompted by my friend Cate, I made a list of liberations for 2018.2 In 2018, I will liberating myself from:

  1. Phoenix. Justin and I have talked about moving for the last few years and I think we’re both finally on the same page and ready to make the push. I’ve tried everything to get some relief from my allergies with little success and we’re both tired of the heat, the poor public transportation, and our inability to walk around outside. I’m sure I’ll write more about this when the time comes.

  2. Organizing App Camp. I toyed with the idea of organizing camp from afar, then traveling to Phoenix the actual week of camp. At the end of the day, I decided it would be too much strain on my co-organizers, to say nothing of the stress I’d feel trying to pull it off. I’m looking for someone to take my place in this role so that Phoenix camp can continue. It’s been such a smashing success the last couple of years; I’d hate to lose that momentum.

  3. Self-doubt. I don’t think this needs an explanation. Suffice it to say: I’m going to end 2018 with more confidence than ever before.

  4. Looking at numbers. Twitter followers, podcast download stats, blog post views, the scale, whatever. Life isn’t a video game. Happiness doesn’t have a numerical value attached to it.

  5. Wanting to fit in. I’ve never been one of the cool kids and I think it’s unlikely some switch is going to flip and I’m going to start being cool now. If you need me, I’ll be over here doing what I’ve always done: my own thing.

  6. Saying yes when I have doubts. I learned a lot of things from my mom. Among them are these lessons:
    • Take a shower when you feel bad.
    • Learn how to do things for yourself.
    • The best brownies are edge piece brownies.
    • When in doubt, say no.

    For some reason, I have trouble sticking to that last one and I always regret it.

  7. Gluten. I was very strictly gluten-free from 2012 until earlier this year. After doing a really strict, months-long elimination diet to see if it would help me feel better,3 I decided to see if I could reintroduce gluten. I definitely feel worse when I eat it, but I also really enjoy the freedom of being able to eat anything at any restaurant. Health before ease of eating out, though. It’s time to let go again.

How about you, dear reader? What are your liberations for 2018?

  1. So many of the things that impacted this shift are not my stories to tell. It’s been a rough year for a lot of us.

  2. You can read Cate’s liberations, if you’d like.

  3. See “I’ve tried everything…” in Liberation #1.