It was actually to my surprise in December 2016 to hear people talking about what an awful year it was and that they wanted it to be over. I hadn't had conversations with people in real life about how shitty the year was, and so I really thought it was just me.
To which I want to make a side point actually... it's incredible how often I feel the "it's just me" thing, only to find out No... no... impossible... no Natalie, you aren't so unique that you could be experiencing something and nobody else is. So if you ever find yourself saying like I have, "it's just me", YOU'RE WRONG. Nothing could possibly be just you. Statistical fact. Impossible. Whatever you may be telling yourself.
So, back to the point... gawd-awful year for many. I found it to be a year of good lessons, with the biggest ones being painful; as the most beneficial lessons always seem to be. And because I'm very much a people person, and a detail person, I'm forever noticing random shit and trying to find places for it in my head. I have this thing... I've had it since I was a child -the desire to be wiser. I felt like my teens were just a giant block of time where nothing changed, I didn't get smarter, I didn't become a better artist, I didn't feel creative or clever, or interesting, or even capable of carrying on a good conversation. And I wasn't wrong... I was such a nothing teen... and yet I wished... I wished for all those things. That one day I'd be smart, creative, funny, interesting, able to talk to anyone about anything, and on some level at least... wise-ish.
2016 definitely had an effect on me, and at the end of it (starting on Dec 31st) I began to feel wiser. The lessons I learned this year all point to older and wiser. I think I even lost some levels of patience. Like I outgrew the ability to be lenient with being treated poorly. Starting early in the year, and stretching right to the end, I think I decided "no more" with five people. I didn't add it up until just now when I tried to think of the times I stood up for myself and was honest. Five is a lot. Not when compared to all the people I talk to and spend time with in my very social jobs, but it is when I think about how much patience I've lost for having my words twisted, being taken advantage of, not listened to, and treated like I'm not worth 2 minutes of clear communication. And really all of this is because I also had the complete opposite from even more people. I was listened to, I was appreciated, I was respected, I enjoyed incredible communication, and to use a term I've mentioned before -treated like gold.
The sum in this equation after a slightly rough 12 months IS a lack of willingness/patience for poor humanity toward me and others. I'm wiser, I'm more judgmental, I'm looking at details, I'm paying attention, and if you are a poor caliber human based on "the gold standard" shown to me, I will be pleasant to you, but I won't waste time on you. I sound like a narcissist I know well... that person would say this too... but I'm feeling like I've reached this point through pain. One of those five people would argue that I need to endure whatever, take the shit with the good, stick it out forever. Well, I ain't Jesus. I'm not going to. I'm more inclined after 2016 to say "fuck you for not being a better human". "Fuck you for not being kind". "Fuck you for having NO desire to communicate, understand, or listen". "Fuck you for walking all over me multiple times". I'm the one who needs to give the biggest shit about me, and my 'giving a shit' is getting bigger. Interestingly, each of these five people did not like me standing up and saying I'm not cool with this. I didn't say "I'm done", to three of them, but all five relationships ended after I said "This isn't going to keep happening". Some dragged out, but by December 31st, all of them were done and I spent new years eve feeling so much hope for the coming year my evening was filled with writing. It was nice.
If I hadn't noticed before, I'm noticing now... High caliber people come in at HIGH and stay there. This is part of their gold standard. They show you over and over that they are amazing people in word and deed. Just as the poor caliber people do... but I am going to try my hardest from now on to not make excuses for the poor ones, and accept sooner there is no gold standard there. Move along.
To 2016 I say "Ouch, good riddance, and thank you". (maybe depending on my mood, a "fuck you" to it also.)
The photo for this post is not mine. It is taken by someone that exemplifies the gold standard in every way. Someone who has been a champion for my sanity countless times in countless months. Believed in me, encouraged me, cared about me, and thoroughly made me feel like I matter. As I've said, The gold standard is bloody high!!!