Well here we are, it’s January 1st, and if you’re reading this, you’ve joined me in 2018, which will hopefully bring more peace than 2017.
Many view new years as nothing more than another day, while others are busy writing lists, telling themselves and (thanks to social media) anyone their intentions and goals. It can be revitalizing or intimidating to reset our calendars and simultaneously reset our minds, although it often feels necessary, whether we want to or not.
As New Years Day is coming to a close, conversation feels like the perfect topic for everyone who needs a little push, who has been weighed down by anxiety, who feels stuck in their day to day, depressed by the ways of the world, or is pained by a relationship, and is searching for some way to make a change.
Start small. Start with a conversation. With yourself. With your partner. With your parents. With your boss. With your child. With your mentor. Just start.
It can be energizing, exhausting, humorous, draining, awkward, stimulating, mobilizing, creative, cold, loving, loud, digital, silent, but above all things, conversation is deserved.
This past year our nation, generally speaking, has weighed in on conversations traditionally avoided, many stemming from political scandal and sexual assault. The headlines, the tweets, the comments in social circles or around the family dinner table have likely led to you making a decision: A choice to loan your voice and perspective on heavy topics, or to stay silent.
Many choose the latter for reasons of being uninformed, uncomfortable speaking their mind, or simply preferring to avoid confrontation.
If you hold a view, a feeling, an idea, it deserves to be recognized. Is it always going to be correct? Is it always going to be groundbreaking? Is it always going to make you and others better off? Likely not. But that is the beauty of conversation, it will twist and shortfall and scream and affirm and disappoint, but no matter the route, it usually sparks growth, creativity, reflection, or change.
So challenge yourself from staying comfortable and quiet. Release the fire you hold for whatever your cause, women’s rights, minority representation on college campuses, affordable housing, protecting our environment, and let it bleed into everything you do. If you’re a good person, then the world will be better because of it.
But don’t stop here. If you’re like me, you may feel confident in conversing on social issues, but your passionate and outspoken persona may shrink when faced with conversations on your personal life.
Converse to close this divide. Hold the hard conversations. It’s ok to shake and to have the words come out wrong, but just try. Quit pretending like the things weighing on your heart shouldn’t affect you, and stop seeking distractions. Acknowledge it, and validate it. And if you can’t do this alone first, then converse with someone who will help you get there.
If there’s anything that new years are good for, it is to recognize what you are setting aside, when it needs to be nurtured. Is it your happiness? Your health? That class you’ve wanted to take? The girl you really want to open up to? The move to your dream city?
These thoughts and feelings are worthless without action. Your joy will continue to be set aside without a conversation. Whether it be a conversation with yourself or with another. Regardless, you owe it to yourself.
Vulnerability is the right choice. When we are exposed, when the words flow, when the ideas spark with another, here lies our naked truths. The ugly and the beautiful. So converse with love. Converse with patience. Converse with authenticity. Converse with confidence. Converse with joy, tears, laughter, or sorrow. Converse to heal. Converse to grow. Converse to move on. Converse to understand. Converse to be free.
Happy new year.