Finally, a blog post.
New Year’s Eve is one of my favorite holidays. More specifically, it’s the afternoon — not necessarily the evening — on the last day of the year that I enjoy most.
When I was living alone in New York, I used to walk a few quick blocks to Murray’s Cheese in Greenwich Village and splurge on some of my favorites (La Tur, a classic French blue with a name I still can’t pronounce, and an aged Gouda). I would then stroll to my local wine shop and buy an “expensive” ($40) bottle of French chardonnay. Back at my apartment, I would rent a movie and relax before the annual flurry of sequins, yellow cabs, and champagne with friends in the Village.
Maybe it’s the idea of unwinding after a long year, or having some alone time after the holiday rush, but what makes this New Year’s Eve tradition of mine so special is that it offers an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the fact that I have endured — for better or for worse — another year in New York. It’s a terrifically chaotic place that certainly isn’t for everyone. It’s a city where the rent prices alone demand that you enjoy it enough to stay.
As I reflect on this year in New York, I realize it was one of great change. Midway through the year, I turned 30, which was something at the time that gave me great anxiety. But now, I’m settling in and getting comfortable in this new decade, and almost a decade in New York.
I hope your year was filled with bold new ideas, wild adventures, and simple discoveries like learning how to assemble a proper cheese board (pro tip: point the wedges to the outside of the plate so people can more easily cut into them).
So in the spirit of the new year, here’s the real Whole 30 — or rather, the things I learned this year that made me more whole at 30:
1. On self-care
‘Self-care’ was a big trend this year, especially among those in my generation. I’ve always been proactive about my health, but it wasn’t until I turned 30 that I stepped it up. I schedule appointments and follow up, I take my multivitamins, drink bedtime tea, have pricey night cream on my bedside table (thank you, La Mer), average 9-10 hours of sleep nightly, and so forth. I didn’t set out to resolve to live healthier in the new year (as nearly 45 percent of Americans do), my actual resolution was to treat myself. And I did just that.
2. On blow drying your hair
I have to include this one. Yes, there’s a fundamental difference between blow drying your hair properly and just drying it to dry it (which is what I had been doing all this time). I’ll admit that after a poor customer service experience at Drybar (where they charged me $40 in cancellation fees for an appointment in which I showed), I realized it was time to master the blowout. The secret is simple: Spray some hair protectant on your damp hair and then blow dry your hair in sections. Wild. Who knew it was that easy? And why didn’t I know this stealth beauty tip in my twenties? Does everyone know this?
3. On self-respect
This was the big one. It took turning 30 to finally realize I was done with people thinking they could treat me less than I deserved to be treated. Over it. The greatest example of this manifested itself last year when I unexpectedly lost my job. Looking back, I don’t regret how I handled the situation — ‘graceful,’ ‘poised,’ and ‘highly professional’ were words my team members used to describe me — but I do regret not demanding more answers. That dizzying feeling of who-the-hell-just-lets-that-happen? sometimes still haunts me even years later, but I’ve since grown and gained a deeper appreciation for what it means to have self-respect.
It’s remarkable what happens when you gain a better understanding of yourself — those things that you are willing to accept and those things that you are willing to change. You start to outgrow friends, mature, and ultimately become more of an authentic version of yourself, which sounds terribly cliché but it’s true. You start to live more fully.
People this time of year are always resolving to change something that inherently needs improvement — out with the old, in with the new. But instead, perhaps we should focus on refinement and fine tuning those things from our past and bringing them with us into new ventures — refining ourselves to make us more whole.
So bring on 2019. But first, pass that cheese plate.