Bring it on, 2016!

It’s been real, 2015. Far too real. I prefer my years to be airbrushed and cast in soft lighting.

Another year has rolled by without a romantic relationship.   I’m still holding true to my checklist—a David Beckham lookalike who can serenade me like Hugh Jackman and has Jon Stewart’s sense of humor. I see no reason to settle.

I’m still in a job I “affectionately” refer to as Hell. I say this because I picture Hell as a place with cubicles, ugly décor and just as dead-end (pun!).

My last remaining dog declined rapidly from January, and I had to send her to the Rainbow Bridge in August. After 15 years with one or more dogs, I really lost a piece of my heart and my daily reason to get out of bed in the morning and drag my ass to work.

I lost 10 pounds, then gained it back, and still refuse to buy a bigger size. Needless to say I will be back on a diet to start 2016. Have no fear, I won’t be giving up wine. You can’t take away my bread and sugar AND my wine. It’s the only fruit I consume. Scurvy is real.

On its face 2015 was another crappy year. Pretty much every year since the Millennium has sucked. I think I drew the short straw in the Universe lottery to be born into this era. Watergate, the Cold War, Persian Gulf War, Iraq War, 9/11, War on Terror, Nickelback, climate change, mass extinctions, recession, civil rights rollbacks and marrying the biggest phony jackass also born in 1973. I call “Uncle!” Enough Universe. Seriously. No wonder I drink.

The holidays always bring out the worst feelings of despair. I blame Mark Zuckerberg. I look at Facebook photos posted by my friends/acquaintances/people from grammar school I barely remember, and I admit I’m jealous of their big houses, great marriages, exotic vacations, cute babies, happy jobs, etc.   I have Facebook envy. I wonder why I don’t have any life resembling that joy. But you know, my convoluted path in life has a purpose. In the closing weeks of 2015, I’ve come to realize that there were two positive events in my year that I believe are signs of good things to come.

In the final weeks of this year I rescued another special needs dog. I wasn’t quite ready to commit to another dog that needed a special schedule, but he needed a hero. He’s a wild young thing, but I hope that he came to me for a reason. (lessons learned here) I know that there is no more satisfying feeling than saving a life, or in giving a second or third chance to an animal who sees you as their entire universe. Maybe he will teach me to open my heart again. Besides, who could resist this face?

Grinch Bergen

2015 also began with something of an experiment for me. I’d been writing in spurts over the last 2-3 years, but was never able to stick with anything long enough to finish it. In December 2014, I saw a post from the poet Tyler Knott Gregson, and being a hot poet groupie, I thought this was a sign. The post advertised an online workshop called “Write Yourself Alive.” I needed to write, and I needed to be alive. For 30 days, I joined with several hundred other writers participating in daily exercises and sharing in a Facebook group. I came to know and befriend many of these writers who were so brave and open sharing their stories and souls. When the course ended, we formed a private group to continue sharing and growing as writers. They are mostly poets, but they’ve adopted me, the aspiring humorist/screenwriter like a bastard child dropped at their doorstep by a wild dingo and indulged my neurosis and insanity. It doesn’t matter that my Tribe members are in Australia, the UK, the Netherlands, Singapore, Venezuela, Canada, Zambia or Texas. We are connected. The most fascinating thing is that at our core, writers tend to be introverts, and yet there is no topic off limits in this group, and there is never any judgment. We are gypsies, pilgrims, drunks, recovering drunks, broken, glued together, healers, the healed, religious, pagan, conservative, libertarian, compassionate, humans. It is a group of lightworkers, whether they know it or not, who recognize the value of the soul and uplift each other to reach our best selves. If I didn’t know better, I’d think I was talking about a cult. Perhaps cult leader would be a career that could get me out of Hell…

No matter how many times I’ve said I don’t belong, or I’m a sucky writer, or threaten to quit, they convince me I’m a writer. This blog wouldn’t exist without their encouragement. So if you enjoy my writing, you should send them a thank you note.

I live a life of obligation, never following my heart but merely making the best of situations. I’m a rockstar at making the best of things. But I know without these less-than-exhilarating experiences, I would have nothing to write about. One thing I know is that I want to make a difference to someone in the world. I want to be remembered for something of significance long after I’m gone. I won’t have children to carry on a legacy, so I either need to run for office or write something that endures in pop culture. I’m not Robin Williams or David Sedaris. Not Amy Schumer or Nora Ephron. Not Stephen Colbert or Anne Lamott. But I’m figuring out who I am, and finding my voice to tell the stories that will make a difference to someone. I’m a lot closer to my goal thanks to my Tribe.

Through my extended Tribe I’ve met people who have come through Hell (figurative Hell, not that they work with me) and emerged on the other side enlightened and whole. They are an inspiration, healing others, finding their soul mates, and building the life they’ve dreamed of. If they share crumbs of wisdom with me, I horde them like a squirrel in winter. They remind me that this journey will have a destination which will make it all worthwhile.

This Tribe of oddballs and misfits (I say with the utmost affection) have become the family where I fit in instead of feeling inadequate. We are finding our way together. Which is a good thing, because no one really wants to take the road less traveled by themselves.

2015 sucked. For so many people. I’m ready for some joy and enlightenment, damn it. My wish for you, readers, who feel the same way about this horrible year, is that you find your own Tribe in 2016. If you aren’t happy with your life, find one thing you can do in 2016 to open the door for life changing people to walk in or climb in the window while you sleep. Take a class, start a new hobby, travel, commit to changing your routine, look for a new workplace, seek out people who enjoy the same things you do. For God’s sake, don’t diet. That won’t bring you joy. Ask yourself—if money didn’t matter, what would I want to do with my life? Then listen. That’s your soul talking. Feed it. That’s what will bring you alive.

Thank you to all my readers for your continued support, feedback and shares. With any luck, 2016 will bring new avenues for my writing. I promise to leave this melancholy behind and return to my humorous posts. Love and light to all of you and yours in 2016. See you on the other side!

3 thoughts on “Bring it on, 2016!

  1. Danielle,
    You are an awesome writer! I’ve always read and enjoyed your blog. I think you should make a collection of these essays and turn it into a book. You have a bit of dark humor and are always interesting to read. Don’t feel bad about not writing for a while. The spirit that makes you want to write comes and goes. I haven’t written in a couple of years. But when I do, I love it.

    Take care!
    Always your friend and always on your side,


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