these days

lunarbabboon comic 'thINK'comic by Lunarbaboon

this winter break has given me the amazing gift of time. large swathes of it, largely uninterrupted, for reading and thinking and inspiration in its gentlest form. it’s also brought the seasonal jealousy of being bystander to happy families and cozy homes, friends’ and strangers’ alike… but that comes with the territory, every year. i’m getting more used to it, and better at wading through it.

so i refocus my attention as best i can to what i have and realize i have a lot of good work to do—catching up with myself, my thoughts, and what matters.

here is what i’ve been tucking into:

 

The New York Times’ Year in Pictures

i always hesitate with these, because i know clicking through will be painful. beauty always pushes right up against the horrific. but this year i’m glad i let myself be assaulted by the images. to feel every bundle of confusing, contradictory emotions that came with them. what an overwhelming year on this earth.

 

Mothering My Dying Friend

absolutely beautiful writing. the subject of enduring friendship has been on my mind lately, especially as i track like a spectator all the ways our lives have been changing, all the reasons we have for not staying.

 

The Friend

i promise i’m not seeking these pieces out like a morbid article hound. they are finding me — and helping me understand what it means to stare loss straight in the face.  to understand writing as an act of healing.

 

12 Signs You Accomplished More Than You Think You Did This Year

i usually go on autopilot when asked to take stock of my personal growth. ‘not much has changed,’ i’ll say. i’m still single, still living here, still working on this, still dealing with that.  but i’m ready to give myself a little more credit this year.  part of this season of hibernation and introspection has been realizing how powerfully i’ve changed, and how little of it i have yet recognized in myself.

 

…and some snippets of affirmation from around the instagram world:

Brene Brown The magic is in the mess

Brené Brown
Our City Lights
Momastery

’tis the season for imposed expectations of cheer and warmth and unfettered celebration. it’s nice to know there are big voices out there advocating for a reality that is more complicated than that.