In the prophetic words of Kylie Jenner, 2016 was the year of “like…realizing stuff.” Gigi realized she really did love Zayn. Brangelina realized they wanted their own names back. Drake realized maybe he didn’t love Rihanna…maybe he loves J.Lo. And for me, at 28, I realized I was riddled with anxiety and not doing anything about it. So my year was spent keeping my head above water and retraining my brain. Oh, I also realized I should’ve been filling in my eyebrows this whole time. FML.
There were a number of things that helped me survive, and even enjoy 2016. These things kept me smiling even when the world felt like The Twilight Zone – because holy shit, 2016 was fucking weird. I came out of 2016 a far better and happier person than I entered. At one point, I had someone ask me what I used to do for fun when I didn’t feel so much anxiety. Turns out, I wasn’t doing those things anymore. Now, I remind myself of something my mom taught me – no matter how hard the times, you still need to have fun.
These are the things I’m #grateful I had last year. In no particular order.
Small children & animals – I would’ve believed you if you had told me getting a pet would be beneficial to my mental health, but I didn’t know HOW beneficial. We got our cat, Marilyn, at the end of 2015 and she is perfect. She’s an incredibly calming presence and she keeps me to some kind of schedule, which I have never been able to do. I am also lucky enough to have a 1 yr old nephew, a 2 yr old niece, a 6 yr old cousin, and my best friend’s 1 yr old to play with and/or stare at. These kids bring me more joy than they will ever know. I am so grateful to their parents for all the pictures and videos – if they were physical tapes, I would’ve worn them all out by now.
John Mayer & Katy Perry – Weird, right? Let me explain. When I travel by plane, I will often have an anxiety attack of some degree. At one point this year, I was traveling alone to SLC and I totally lost it just before boarding. I had no choice but to suck it up and board the plane. I started panicking until I remembered I had a couple albums downloaded to my phone. Actually, I had two. JM’s Paradise Valley and KP’s PRISM. I know both these albums backward and forward, and listening to them literally saved me from a full-on meltdown at 10,000 ft. They may not love each other anymore, but damnit I love them! Paradise Valley is now my go-to SOS album. I highly recommend finding yours.
Headspace – Headspace is a mindfulness app. How many times have you heard the word “mindfulness” lately? If not, you will. It will probably get obnoxious, but believe the hype. Mindfulness can be magic. I had tried to incorporate mindfulness/meditation into my life multiple times, but as I mentioned, I’m terrible at routines and nothing stuck. I tried Headspace on a whim – you get 10 free 10-minute sessions, then full access costs around $6/month or $90/year. The cost is substantial, but I. Was. Desperate. I’ve now used this app for just over 100 days in a row. I love it so much and truly look forward to it every single day.
The Life of Pablo – I probably would never suggest this album to anyone. Not because I don’t think it’s effing genius, because I do – it’s just not super accessible to everyone and I’m not about to argue with anyone over Kanye. This album was my motivation many, many days. I had multiple cathartic cries to “Waves” and “FML” and let’s be real, “Famous” made 2016 way more awesome. The way this album flows, by the end, I feel like I’ve let go of a lotta shit and I’m ready to go chill with KKW.
Views & Drake in general – Drake REALLY did it for me this year. Views is an album that can chill me out when I have ZERO CHILL happening. It’s SO long and keeps the most relaxing, chill tone throughout. Not to mention you get RiRi if you stick it out to the end. Drake’s wordplay is some of my favorite of all time. I honestly think you could survive a whole day only speaking in Drake lyrics. “Welcome to Chick-Fil-A, how may I serve you?: Number SIX SIX SIX!” “What do you think of my new boyfriend!?: More immature than Marcus Houston.” “Are we there yet?: Just Hold On, We’re Goin’ Home.” “Excuse me, are you looking for something specific?: I’m out here looking for reveeeenge.” “How long are you going to talk in Drake lyrics!?: All summer sixteen.” THEY DON’T WANT US TO HAVE A BIGGER POOL THAN KANYE.
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries – My mom and I LOVE a good murder mystery series and, between us, we have seen a good 80% of them, which is saying a lot. Miss Fisher is basically the Murder Mystery of my dreams – A sassy, sexy, independent lady detective solves crimes in 1920s Melbourne. I have watched every episode at least three times (because there are only three seasons) and it is my absolute favorite escape. Sound like your jam? Netflix that shit.
Books – For Christmas 2015, I got a number of memoirs and I loved them all. I’ve always been more of a fiction reader than a non-fiction reader, but in 2016 I realized that a good memoir/self-help/bio can be incredibly motivating. This was the first year I had non-fictions in regular rotation and now I’m converted. My personal literary cocktail is some non-fiction in the morning to get you going and then fiction at night to escape real life. That’s the ticket. So thank you Khloé Kardashian, Drew Barrymore, Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, and Emily Gordon. Boy, that would make a funny dinner party.
EAT – In 2014, Jimmy and I released EAT. It was our first feature film and it has now lived on the internet for just over two years. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy reading what people say about EAT. – good or bad. And some people really hated EAT. We get tweets/emails/reviews at least a few times a month and it keeps us alive and ready for the next one. Best of all – we were MEMED this year! So yeah, I love my little horror movie that could.
I can’t wait to see what new things I find to help me through 2017. I can tell you one thing, it will have a lot to do with this Kylie Jenner calendar on my wall, the John Mayer tickets currently in my email, and whatever Katy Perry has up her pastel pink sleeve!
Hang in there, everyone! 2017 is going to be bumpy, but don’t throw out your party pants. Never throw out your party pants!