paths /paTHs/, n., pl.

When you partake in a thing that Tumblr thought was hipster in 2013, but the year you do it is actually 2016, are you mainstream hipster or can you consider yourself graduated to actual hipster?

Thanks to Facebook’s “On this Day” app, I am able to recall that on past New Year’s Days, I was desperately trying to get over an illness (2009), very happy about watching a new music video that was most likely one of Nick Jonas’ (2010), and being Tumblr hip (2014).

Two years ago, I tried to be  Tumblr hip, but clearly — I failed. I was super not hip that year.

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In 2016, I tried once again to fill the same jar with the same squares of colorful paper. (Thanks, Daiso, for providing me with a 234-sheet block memo that I will never finish based on my current track record.)

I say “tried” because before I opened the jar this morning, from the outside, my jar looked happily full. When I actually poured everything out, there were only 16 slips of paper; the earliest one dates back to May 6 and the last on December 30.

They say hindsight is 20/20, but I think my astigmatism is still kicking in. Social media lets you keep close tabs on yourself, but it doesn’t provide an accurate representation of your happiness. Some of my #thesisstruggles tweets on Twitter can still make me laugh, but even though I don’t use Instagram filters, my photos are still highly curated.

Even with these personal, tangible pocket moments (as I like to call them), it’s impossible to tell whether I was

a) actually going through a rough time,
b) too happy to think about writing down all of my happy moments,
c) just being pessimistic so little in my life seemed “good enough” to jot down, or
d) all of the above.

Although it’s only January 1, 2017, it would be a fruitless endeavor to try and find out which of these scenarios was actually the truth.

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Judge me, I dare you. | Photo by Courtney Cheng

The one thing I can say with certainty from rereading these pocket moments though, is that people and their words are incredibly important to me. 16/16 moments were all noted because someone said something to me that ended up making my day. I don’t think these people realized the effect they and their words had at the time, but for me, being reminded of each of these moments puts a massive smile on my face again (even a year later).

Last year, I resolved to make 2016 better. “Better” is a word that begs for comparison and a specific vantage point, so depending on where you want to set your lookout point, the year passed for both better — and worse.

Many things happened in 2016 (first understatement of 2017?) both in my immediate life and in the greater space of the world, and I made a very particular set of decisions that brought me to where I am now. The path has been rough, I can see this from the notes and pages I’ve filled this year with my death spiral of thoughts.

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Photo by Courtney Cheng

But from these personal musings and the filtered marks I’ve left on social media, as we move forward into 2017, I resolve to be

  1. more present,
  2. more intentional with my relationships, and
  3. more positive.

Auld lang syne and many happy returns.

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