Tiny Revolutions №16: Running Into a New Year
2020 is now
Hi, I’m Sara, and this is Tiny Revolutions, an occasional newsletter about staying mentally healthy. I send out this mix of personal writing and links for anyone who struggles with depression, anxiety, or just keeping positive on a day-to-day basis because, hey, we’re all in this together.
I think I cried every day in December. Or at least the last two weeks. I wanted to write a final newsletter for the year and I had a bunch of links lined up, but I couldn’t get to a point where I felt the light shining bright enough to hit send.
I didn’t cry openly, of course. Though I spent the holidays surrounded by family and friends, I saved my tears for private moments. In the shower. In the car running an errand. On a walk. In bed.
It was a tough year.
But though it’s tempting, I can’t say it was a terrible year. It just tried me. They say some years ask questions and some years give answers, and for me 2019 was one of the latter. You’re getting older, it said, as it took a dear friend from cancer, and revealed ever more passings and frailties among my parents’ generation. It once again threw turbulence my way on the career front, forcing yet another reinvention. It even dropped some extremely unsubtle hints that I’m past my prime physically (ugh). I looked around and thought well damn, this is it, isn’t it?
Mostly 2019 told me this: You may never be exactly who you want to be, but this is your life and this is what you have to work with. There is joy and there is pain and there is hope and despair and, most importantly, there’s no time to lose.
So I’ve put a few stakes in the ground. I’m working for me from here on out. No more throwing myself to the whims of poor managers and struggling startups. I hired a business coach and I made a plan to move forward and create a sustainable business that can support me and enable me to thrive for the next 20+ years.
I’m taking the year off from drinking to see what happens. Clarity? Boredom? Better sleep? I’ll report back.
And I’m making it a point to ask myself every day how I can show up for people. How can I help make things better, not just for me and my loved ones, but for everyone?
I don’t know what the year will bring but I do know I want to be of service. And I’m hopeful everything else will flow from there.
Happy New Year and let me know if I can help you. Thanks for reading, as always.
Here are some things I thought were worth sharing recently:
Shout out to reader Max Kirchoff for introducing me to his wife Megan Saxelby’s work. Megan is an educator who is devoted to, in her words, “developing programming that prioritizes the development of emotional intelligence and creates cultures of dignity.” !!! I seriously cannot think of a more worthwhile thing to do for the future of the human race.
I LOVE her tiny guide to what to do when you’re freaking out. Bookmark it and check out other helpful guides on her site.
“An aspirational history is full of minute corrections, dead ends, backtracking, re-orientation and random noise. It is as idiosyncratic, odd and particular as the human being herself.”
The internet is full of advice, but that doesn’t mean it’s any good. Loved this exploration of why most advice is useless.
Poem 4 U
Podcast Rec: The Happiness Lab
‘Tis the season for reader shoutouts. Here’s yet another one for Amanda Dobbs, who sent me a link to this amazing podcast from Laurie Santos, whose course on the Science of Well-Being is the most popular class at Yale ever — and which you can take for free online.
What I think is remarkable about this podcast/course is the way it points out how being happy (a word I’m not really crazy about, tbh) is a choice, and how it’s something you have to outwit your brain to be.
If you don’t have time for the class, here’s a cheat sheet.
Some sweet — and realistic — thoughts from Uber-Coach Martha Beck on how to have a gratitude practice.
“Just keep shifting focus away from problematic things and onto good things until genuine gratitude arrives to soften your inner life.”
I liked this post because it’s not about trying to pretend the shitty stuff doesn’t exist. It’s more about using gratitude practice to help make sure you don’t ruminate on it.
And finally, here’s a pretty song to float you into the weekend.
p.s. If any of this resonated with you, I’d appreciate it if you shared it with a friend. They can subscribe here.