Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Weekend Open Thread

NYE

Happy last Friday of 2016, everyone! I’m in Springfield, Mo., for a few days visiting my family. Not sure yet what, if anything, special I’ll do for NYE. To be honest, this year I’d be perfectly content staying in, watching Anderson Cooper and what’s her face, and going to bed early. But maybe I’ll go out for a nice dinner before that, who knows. What are your plans?

Do you have any resolutions this year? My big one is to be more involved in activism pursuits and to seek out and participate in activities that increase social justice and make the world, or at least the part I live in, more like what I want it to look like. My other big one is to manage my health a little better than I have been. I’ve been putting off seeing doctors about various issues, prioritizing my kids’ health (which, of course is important!) and sort of neglecting my own. Anxiety played a big role in my life this year and its effects are noticeable, so I plan to get a handle on that this year, and I have a few concrete steps already in place and some others I hope to implement soon. I can’t control what life throws at me, but I can control how I react to things that are stressful or scary, and that is what I want to focus on in this coming year.

My wish for us all in 2017 is for more laughter, more dancing, more cake, and more reason to hope than 2016 gave us. Happy New Year, everyone! Most of all, may 2017 bring more progress.

(I’ll be back on Tuesday with a new column, and in the meantime I’ll be posting letters in the forums that you can check out. You can also peruse some of the year’s most popular posts here.)

38 comments… add one
  • avatar

    ktfran December 30, 2016, 11:38 am

    Happy New Year! First of all, I want to thank you, Wendy, for this site. It’s a welcome reprieve from the craziness and it’s a strong source of good will. The election would have been much harder to stomach if not for this site, where like minded people banded together and spread hope. Thank you!

    New Year’s… tonight, I’m going to dinner with the fiance and his parents. After, we’re hitting up a comedy show at the Goodman Theater. That was my Christmas present to them. It’ll be a lot of fun I think. Tomorrow, we’re dining early with a couple friends then headed to another friend’s house after they put the kids to bed. We’ll drink and snack and play games. Low key NYE = fun and no stress for me! On Sunday, we’re staying in. Binge watching Netflix and I’m making sauerkraut for dinner. I’ve eaten kraut nearly every new year’s day since I was a little kid. My grandma made it so “we’d have money in our pockets all year round” and I try to stick with the tradition. I’m big on traditions.

    I no longer make resolutions for the new year because I never keep them. But, I want to try and work out a little more. Spend less on nonsense. And be kinder to everyone. We need kindness and acceptance now more than ever.

    Today… since I don’t really want to work but am at the office… I’m looking up honeymoon places. Belize is on the short list. As is Iceland. At one time, we were talking Portugal. I also kind of want to go to Cuba before it gets crazy with tourists in the coming years.

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    • Portia

      Portia December 30, 2016, 12:28 pm

      I’ve been to both Portugal and Iceland, and loved them both, but damn Iceland was so expensive! You could do some really cool things, though, like see puffins and hike glaciers. I really enjoyed Portugal and was just reminiscing about it with a friend. I didn’t venture outside Lisbon and Porto, which were so fun, but the countryside looks gorgeous.

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        ktfran December 30, 2016, 1:15 pm

        If we go to Portugal, we will probably venture over to the Azores, which I here is similar to Iceland. It sounds like we should go to Portugal!

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    • lucia_la

      lucia_la December 30, 2016, 3:01 pm

      If you go to Portugal, do not miss Sintra!! It’s a magical national park about 30 minutes from Lisbon on the train. It had a ton of huge amazing castles from different eras, and this really cool garden /labyrinth area. We walked about 13 miles through it all, there was so much to see. We actually ended up spending a night there. Highly, highly recommend!

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  • Portia

    Portia December 30, 2016, 12:24 pm

    Happy New Year, everyone! I also wish everyone more reason for hope for this year, and more cake. Thanks for all you’ve done, Wendy, with promoting activism. Sometimes I wonder if someone asked a genie to send them back to the 60’s to see the Civil Rights Movement and this is what happened instead.

    I don’t make New Year’s resolutions anymore, probably because I never kept a single New Year’s resolution I’ve ever made, but I usually just try to make small changes or goals throughout the year. And speaking of resolutions, I’m really not looking forward to my building’s gym getting busy for the next month. Maybe I should invest in some cold-weather running gear…

    Our New Year’s plans mainly involve house parties, and a friend of ours mentioned a New Year’s Day hike, which could be fun.

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  • avatar

    Kate December 30, 2016, 12:45 pm

    I saw Hamilton last night and yes, it really is that good. I hadn’t heard any of the songs before I went, and didn’t feel like I should have.

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      ktfran December 30, 2016, 1:13 pm

      Good to know! I’m going in Feb and thought I should listen to the soundtrack first.

      How did your mom like it?

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      • avatar

        Kate December 30, 2016, 1:22 pm

        Oh she was blown away. She had heard all the hype (I had not heard much) and said it was all that and more. She cried at the end. I ended up getting another ticket for my dad as well after I knew I was getting my bonus, and he LOVED it too. He knew all the historical details too and has read the Federalist Papers and all that.

        I ended up getting two nice rooms at the W around the corner with our awards miles, so my husband came too, but didn’t go to the show, he found a friend/client to go out for a steak dinner that he could expense. And then at 10pm his friend and his husband came and met us at the W for drinks.

        It was a great trip! We’re on the train back now. I get really upset in crowds and just walking to the theater (around the corner) in Times Square was too much. I can’t imagine tomorrow night!!!

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      • avatar

        ktfran December 30, 2016, 1:30 pm

        That’s awesome!

        I’m not a crowd person either. We’re going to a matinee, but we also paid extra so we could hang out in the private lounge before the show and during intermission. It also has coat check and bathrooms, so that’ll be nice. Afterward, dinner at a great little steak place! We’re going with another couple to both.

        I’m glad you had a good night with your family.

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      • avatar

        Kate December 30, 2016, 1:33 pm

        Also, my mom has 37 friends on FB, because they’re all like relatives or really close friends. She posted a couple of pics and got so many likes and comments, and she could not wait to see what her college friend JUDY would say.

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      • avatar

        Kate December 30, 2016, 1:35 pm

        That will be good. This was a tiny theater from 1925, so no lounge, but that would have helped! The intermission was only 15 minutes and I didn’t even bother trying to pee.

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  • avatar

    Howdywiley December 30, 2016, 1:10 pm

    I’ve been feeling so lost this year. I would really like to focus on taking control and finding a path in 2017.

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    • avatar

      Kate December 30, 2016, 1:23 pm

      What’s wrong?

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    • bittergaymark

      Bittergaymark December 30, 2016, 5:09 pm

      I hear that. 2016 has been awful. The worst. All hope has been lost — along with Carrie Fisher. I have the worst case of post holiday blues… Ever. Everything is just so fucking pointless… Why bother? Truth? I only stay alive out of a misguided sense of being polite…

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      • avatar

        Kate December 30, 2016, 5:13 pm

        Mark, I have had “suicidal ideation” for a lot of my adult life. I understand. But, like you, I wouldn’t be able to do that to my (handful of) loved ones. All I can do is keep trying to plan things to look forward to, and pop illegal benzos for oblivion at night.

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      • avatar

        keyblade December 30, 2016, 5:45 pm

        Mark,

        Your intentions have been felt and you have created some of the change in direction that flows from hard boundaries. I don’t know if you are willing to love yourself enough to consider trying on peace through radical acceptance and all the social and chemical changes required on that road. But I love your presence; and I believe I would love it even if you allowed yourself to try on a radically different value system. Much love and well-wishes from a simple set of eyes in a different state and city. It’s okay to let go of the bigness of the internet and allow your life to be smaller and more manageable. Giving yourself a break isn’t at all the same as forfeiture. You are loved.

        Kate, ditto.

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      • avatar

        Ron December 30, 2016, 7:02 pm

        Well the holidays aren’t quite over yet. The holidays are not a time which favors single adults. For all the scurrying about, the world one interacts with as a single adult slows down to little on-line or personal interaction, because all of the scurrying is being done by couples and families. Even for singles with lots of friends, the friends have traipsed back home to be with their birth families or huddled around their own new families. I haven’t been single for 40-plus years, but even for a couple who are childless not by choice, with family in the area, whom we do see over holidays, the holiday season can be an especially lonely time. It’s a reminder of what is missing from our lives — societies depiction of perfect families and couples and unbroken joy. A lot of that isn’t real for an awful lot, maybe most, people, but that is the public ambiance.

        When I was a single adult, between girlfriends, Valentine’s day didn’t seem as lonely, because the world as a whole didn’t stand still and devote itself solely to that holiday. It was ignorable.

        These holidays are particularly tough because they come around the winter solstice, a time when seasonal affective disorder is especially severe in our latitudes, and a lot of people suffer from SAD to various degrees. The sadness/loneliness which comes with Christmas and New Years wouldn’t be as bad if we lived in the southern hemisphere and it were summer.

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      • avatar

        Miss MJ December 30, 2016, 9:35 pm

        Sending you internet hugs, BGM.

        This time of year blows. Ever since the time changed, I’ve been anxious – panicked – sad, depressed and popping Ativan just to get through it. But, after nearly 4 decades, I know it passes. It’s godawful until it does, though.

        Have you ever been to New Orleans for Mardi Gras? It’s the perfect antidote to the winter/post-holiday blahs. It’s still cold (fine, “cold”), it still gets dark early, but god, there’s something about adults insisting on making the interminable weeks between the new year and spring into a no holds barred, enjoy yourself party that just HELPS. If nothing else, it’s a distraction. And this year, since 2016 has been suck a fucking shitshow, I can’t wait.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark December 31, 2016, 8:07 pm

        I was in New Orleans once but missed mardi gras by a week or two. Actually, it was fine — as most of the decorations were up and there were a few parades and frankly — I loathe crowds, so just this preview taste of Mardi was all I needed to party.

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    • avatar

      d2 December 31, 2016, 11:22 pm

      @Howdywiley – I remember that your family was going through some personal and health crises at the end of the year. I hope that everyone is finally on the path to healing and recovery, and that you and your family find a new direction that offers more joy, less stress and less worry.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark December 30, 2016, 5:45 pm

    Eventually, You reach a point where you realize that everything that ever could have happened hasn’t. And won’t. And frankly, sticking around for a decade or two of falling action simply isn’t very appealing either. Ugh… Good health is only precious if you really truly want it.

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  • avatar

    Stillrunning December 31, 2016, 12:06 am

    My New Year’s resolution is to stop putting off things I want to do. I’m getting oder, time is ticking, no more waiting.

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  • avatar

    Stillrunning December 31, 2016, 12:13 am

    I’m with BGM, I’ve been in tears watching the video of Cam Newton visiting the very sick little boy. I’ve watched it over and over again, using it. I think, to help me mourn for how difficult this year has been; family problems, that damn election, so much social anger, the deaths of so many people, gah.

    I started meditating every morning to give myself moments of serenity, but sometimes it just isn’t enough.

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    • avatar

      keyblade December 31, 2016, 7:44 am

      @Stillrunning

      Happy New Year, and good for you for engaging self-care. 2016 has sent a shock wave of divisive energy and change that has blown many of us off balance, myself included. You aren’t alone. I suggest resolving to permit yourself to stop agonizing over things you have no immediate control over and focus on shifting the negative thoughts as they come. Your mental health and internal process is valuable. I suggest you protect it. This is where I am at now, as a naturally intuitive and empathetic person. Lean into warmth where you can feel it. It may come from unexpected sources; try not to judge- at least not until you feel you are back to an emotional equilibrium.

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    • avatar

      Kate December 31, 2016, 8:15 am

      I definitely think a lot of it right now is cold and darkness (though BGM lives in L.A.), and all the awful shit that’s happened this year. But some of it is some form of mental illness. I’ve always had this thing of not wanting to be here. I’ve accomplished what I could reasonably hope to accomplish and I have a great relationship, but it’s still there. It doesn’t go away. You have to, like others said, recognize it, push back on it, rebuke it. It’s NOT that you’re a bad person or a failure.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark December 31, 2016, 8:03 pm

        Yes, it’s sunny here in HELL-A 24/7 — although it is raining today, strangely. But I like the rain. Honestly? It was the death of Carrie Fisher that put me over the edge… I was blasé’ about everything else… but this death somehow totally obliterated everything and just underscored how awful everything in the world had become. Hope for the future? Extinguished… Fuck, America. Nuke yourselves all to hell. But seriously? Hurry up and be quick about it.

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      • avatar

        Kate December 31, 2016, 8:48 pm

        I know, and her mom, it was too much.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark December 31, 2016, 9:44 pm

        I posted this on Facebook — but it sums up all my feelings about Fisher.’s death. Strange. Celebrity deaths usually leave me with a shrug. It’s sad, but… This one though resonated with me in way’s I wouldn’t have ever expected.
        .
        I don’t know if it’s just post Christmas blues and I find myself sitting alone in an airport, or the fact that her book The Princess Diarist (half-read and only left behind on my coffee table as I was trying to travel light) will greet me the very moment I walk into my apartment…. but Carrie Fisher’s death has left me just profoundly sad and blue. She truly WAS my childhood idol. (Hey, she got ALL the best lines AND Han Solo!) Star Wars never really went away, but she surprised me in college by offering up THE best Madonna interview EVER for the Rolling Stone. And she kept right on entertaining me through all of my adulthood with her brillant writing. Post Cards From The Edge (both the book and the screenplay) for starters. Oh, I damn near forgot about her one woman shows such as Wishful Drinking… And now, rather unexpectedly, there she was back in Star Wars again. I felt like I was 7 years old. And it was all just so much fun. I dunno. Maybe this is just the straw that broke the camel’s back but seriously, universe. The world — oh, hell, screw the rest of the world, I — Mark Ilvedson, so simply didn’t need this big FUCK YOU, right now… I just didn’t.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy December 31, 2016, 10:53 pm

        Carrie’s death got to me, too.

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  • avatar

    keyblade December 31, 2016, 7:45 am

    Should old acquaintances be forgotten,
    And never brought to mind?
    Should old acquaintances be forgotten,
    And days of long ago !

    Chorus:
    For old long ago, my dear
    For old long ago,
    We will take a cup of kindness yet
    For old long ago.

    We two have run about the hillsides
    And pulled the daisies fine,
    But we have wandered many a weary foot
    For old long ago.

    We two have paddled (waded) in the stream
    From noon until dinner time,
    But seas between us broad have roared
    Since old long ago.

    And there is a hand, my trusty friend,
    And give us a hand of yours,
    And we will take a goodwill draught (of ale)
    For old long ago!

    And surely you will pay for your pint,
    And surely I will pay for mine!
    And we will take a cup of kindness yet
    For old long ago!

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  • avatar

    keyblade December 31, 2016, 7:50 am

    I’ve never been to New Orleans. I’ll bet it’s fascinating.

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    • LadyinPurpleNotRed

      LadyinPurpleNotRed December 31, 2016, 5:40 pm

      I’m going in a few weeks for the first time…I can’t wait!!

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark December 31, 2016, 8:05 pm

        New Orleans is great. Be sure to hit Frenchmen Street and Cafe Du Monde!

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed January 1, 2017, 2:55 am

        Duly noted, thanks BGM!

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  • avatar

    Stillrunning December 31, 2016, 11:23 am

    @keyblade, thanks for the reminder to protect and nurture my own well-being. It’s too easy to give and give and not have enough left to take care of myself.

    To that end, I’m saying this to myself and sending out a happy new year wish to everyone.

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  • avatar

    keyblade December 31, 2016, 10:01 pm

    I’m sorry

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