2016 can be summarized with one word, flupocalypse. It was supposed to be better, just like every year is supposed to be better. The problem is we have to get back in line at the theme park, and while the apex of the roller coaster provides a great view we forget that it’s a long way down. And on the second day, of what was supposed to be a better year, I was looking down into a toilet bowl.
Fortunately, a friend who had flown in to visit also fell victim to the flupocalypse (because who would want to go through something like that alone?) and a year later we agree that we should have known. We should have known that the several hours spent on the bathroom floor was an omen. Because ultimately that is what this year felt like. A few blissful moments where the pain seemed like it would end, only to run back to the bathroom and purge over the latest headline that ailed us.
I don’t really understand why things have to get worse before they get better but I imagine it’s for the same reasons that there are dips and twists in roller coasters. It’s the thrill of the ride, the adrenaline that you get when you’ve survived something that seemed impossible to face and we’ll survive this too. In short, my dad would round up all of us that are feeling jaded and dejected and would say, “It builds character.”
President Barack Obama assured us all, “the sun will rise again.” And while it was quite overcast the morning after the election, I am here to say that every day since then the sun has stuck around, and so far it seems I’m destined to do the same. If you’re reading this right now, then I guess you’ve decided to stick around and rise with the sun too.
Last year was filled with more disappointment than I thought I would ever be able to endure but when it seems like I am back on the metaphoric, and sometimes literal bathroom floor, I remember that every success story is filled with several chapters of rejection. I’ve been heavily rejected this last year, from job opportunities, from websites that didn’t accept my writing samples, and of course from men.
But that’s life. It’s hard and often disappointing but you have to keep doing the work. You have to show up and do your part. There is no shortage of people that are cruel, manipulative, and downright evil but I don’t think I can help them. I just know that I can start by helping myself.
It may have been a year of bathroom floors, fevers, and long bouts of loneliness but it was also a year of growth. A year filled with adventures in new cities and discoveries in old ones. Where I was reminded that there are far better things ahead and that they lie outside of this city and situation I currently live in. It was a year where I watched my one-year-old niece grow into a tiny human being. And in my old age, I hope it will have been a year that I remember as a turning point.
From here on out, I’ve decided to give up on the certainty of knowing things. Because it seems that every time I knew something this last year, it was swiftly knocked out my hands in the clumsy fashion that I’ve grown accustomed too. People tend to have a habit of carrying preconceived notions around in their pockets, but they aren’t worth anything compared to the evidence that is collected from actually having lived through an experience.
That’s why on the second day of 2017 I told my dad, “It’s going to be different.” In response, he gave me a smirk. “I noticed that you said different and not better.”
“Well, above all things, I am realistic.”