Out with the Old
There’s no better time to let go than now.
By Mattie Winowitch, Waynesburg University
People all over social media are calling 2016 the “worst year ever.” Let’s look back, shall we?
Wait. On second thought, let’s not. Now that it’s 2017, I have a new outlook on life, and that’s to stop dwelling on shit that is already over and done with. Sure, 2016 was a hellish year full of disappointment, tears and shortcomings. But at midnight on Jan. 1, the world symbolically turned (via gravitational orbit) into a better place.
So far (at least for me), 2017 has been okay. Hollywood has turned into “Hollyweed,” and I’m still on break, a.k.a. I get homecooked meals and mom does my laundry. Hell yes.
So if you’re anything like me, and you’re just hoping for a year that doesn’t totally suck, keep reading. The following will be 10 things you should leave in 2016. Sure, none of them are tangible “things,” but just stay with me. I promise I won’t lead you down the wrong path.
This is a hard one, especially for me. I am constantly trying to compare myself to other people and their successes.
Maybe it’s that one person at work (or school) that always seems better than you. Maybe it’s a friend’s relationship or a celebrity’s body. Or maybe you will do nothing but compare this year to 2016, or to any other year where things went better—or far worse.
In order to have a kick-ass year in 2017, you’re going to have to stop comparing. It’s the only way for you to actually appreciate you and everything you’ve done. You’re awesome. Own it.
Sure, throwing yourself a pity party every once-in-a-while is okay. But constantly feeling bad for yourself is going to make you seem like a giant douchebag among your friends and family. Pretty soon, those “pity parties” will turn into parties of one, as no one will really want to comfort you while you cry anymore.
I know life is hard. I know sometimes things don’t work out as planned. But hey, we all went through 2016 together, so whether we acknowledge it or not, we all went through a hardship. The best thing you can do is to try to make a change in your life so you don’t have to feel bad for yourself anymore.
3. Never-ending Complaints
This one sort of goes hand-in-hand with self-pity. First you feel endlessly sorry for yourself. Then all you can do is complain, complain and then complain some more to everyone within a one-mile radius of your shrill voice. Hell, even the grocery store checkout guy will probably hear your endless whining.
Maybe at first it was cute, but there’s no time for this shit in 2017. It’s time to strap on your adult overalls—a gender-neutral form of “big-girl panties”—and stop complaining. NOBODY CARES. Okay, maybe that was a bit harsh. But still.
Start being thankful for the life you have. Once you replace your complaints with gratitude, your worldview will substantially change.
4. Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, etc.
I feel like a really common phrase last year was, “It’s 2016. Let’s stop (insert -ism here).
Well, it’s 2017 now and we still have some fundamental issues here in the U.S. No matter what race, gender or religious denomination you are, you need to understand that EVERYONE deserves to be loved and equal to each other.
With presidential-elect Trump being plopped into office in a few weeks, I, along with many other American citizens, am concerned. I am not being totally negative, but I have already seen first-hand the types of people that this man has facilitated. That being said, those who truly care about equality must stand together and fight for what is right.
Hear some negative talk in the elevator? Don’t just get off at the next possible stop. Speak up. See a racist/sexist/homophobic post online? Don’t just block or unfollow that person. Comment and let them know why their post was offensive or how it further contributes to the current problem. We all have voices that deserve to be heard. In 2017, let’s use them.
5. Excessively Apologizing
As a woman, I am really bad with this. I am not sure how or when this was officially taught to me, but I have this terrible habit of saying sorry for things that aren’t even my fault or are completely out of my control. During 2016, I remember multiple times where some really noble men would tell me I had no need to apologize, which I think was a step in the right direction.
For 2017, though, I want to encourage everyone to stop saying sorry unnecessarily.
I recently saw a great comic from Chinese artist Yao Xiao that encouraged excessive apologizers to say “thank you” instead. For example, “Thank you for being so patient with me” or, “Thank you for listening to me.” Try it out and I bet you’ll like what you see.
6. Body Negativity
Sure, this seems self-explanatory, but to some it’s damn-near impossible. I know some people will want to shed pounds for their New Year’s resolutions, but this can be poisonous (check out why I’ll be doing the exact opposite in my last article).
News flash: Pretty much everything you see on social media, in movies, on TV and on the cover of magazines is fake. Acne is blurred, while love handles are curved into hourglass figures. Photoshop is getting more advanced by the day, so we need to focus on being resistant to comparing our bodies to those that are unrealistic. Love yourself, boo.
7. Unfair Judgement
So what if some girl wants to post a selfie with 10 pounds of makeup on? Maybe she wasn’t born with it, but she might have a passion for painting her face. So what if that guy loves posting Bible verses instead of rap lyrics? Let him be him.
Stop judging people who are different than you. Stay focused on bettering yourself and let others march to their own drum. By you making fun of or belittling someone for what they love doesn’t make you cool. It just makes you the gasoline to their fire.
8. Ignoring Mental Illness
Don’t just brush your issues under the rug. Talk to someone who will listen. 2017 is the year where you should be heard, not made to feel like a loser or someone who is “faking” depression/anxiety/etc.
In the past few years, have you felt unhappy with your relationship, job, living situation or friend group? Well guess what? ALL of those things are very temporary and can be changed.
It might not be easy to change them, but letting go of things that you have chosen to settle for is one of the most freeing things a person can do.
Make 2017 your year by choosing happiness and to finally get what you feel that you deserve. It might not happen automatically, but even slightly changing your mindset can make all the difference.
10. Holding Grudges
It’s a new year, which means there are blank pages in a 365-page journal for you to fill with memories and happiness. Do you want to automatically have those pages filled with bullshit from the past or things you can’t let go of? I know I don’t.
Maybe you have an ex or a family member who you swore you’d never forgive. Forgive them. Maybe you have an old best friend or a co-worker who did you wrong. Let it go.
It doesn’t have to be verbal. In fact, you don’t even have to let them know if you’re uncomfortable. But by knowing in your heart that you have moved on, you will feel so much better. Give up the ghosts of your pasts. It’s time to begin again.