This year is not the easiest. America is in a well-deserved upheaval over racism and violence against black people. Public figures are being accused of rape and assault left and right. Climate change is accelerating. These are not easy times. And yet, as prosecutor and commentator Lisa Bloom said, “joy is allowed.”
It’s hard to know how to drink in both of these things at once: terrible pain, suffering, and injustice, and also amazing beauty, kindness, solidarity. It’s too much.
I only know one way, and that’s to crack my own heart wider and wider open. So let’s do this.
The game: because sometimes it’s too much, or you have difficult relatives, or you’re really missing someone, or forced gratitude makes you angry, we make a list of 77 things that don’t completely suck. If you can’t think of 77, try 50. Or 10. Or two. I learned this game from Havi, and now it’s one of my traditions. Feel free to play with me, here in comments or on your own social media, or quietly inside your head.
77 Things That Don’t Completely Suck, 2014 Edition
2. Living here
3. Coffee. I love it so hard that I even love decaf. I know.
4. We Need Diverse Books
5. “You do not have to be good.”
6. The gas fireplace that keeps my house warm
8. And the ways we earn it
9. My wife
10. Let me say that again: my wife
12. Yoga, which I have finally started to enjoy after years of wishing I enjoyed it
13. Change. It gets us out of everything, eventually.
15. Hot toddies
16. Generosity. This year, amidst all the hard, I’ve been on the receiving end of more than one act of generosity so big that I found it hard to even believe it was happening. Wow.
17. Anne Lamott
18. Lisa Bloom
21. Finally learning how to apply eyeliner with a brush
23. An Open Letter To White America
25. We can do hard things.
27. Grade B maple syrup
28. Flannel pajama pants, which are basically the definition of cozy
29. Or maybe that’s slippers?
30. Yes means yes
31. Scruffy hospitality
32. Connection, which is the center of my work and also what I believe will heal most of what’s wrong with us and the world
32. Telling the truth [trigger warning for sexual abuse]
34. Ice cream
38. Boston Pride Interfaith Coalition. I am so proud of the service that we put on and the hugely inclusive welcome we seek to offer to queer people of faith and allies.
39. Having a tiny computer in my pocket, and all of the things that makes possible
40. Crazy plans
41. My comfy bed, with a comforter and extra wool blanket on top
42. Clean sheets
43. Resources: physical, emotional, financial, spiritual
44. Justice: everyone deserves to have these
45. My best friend Katie. We’ve been friends for over half our lives and I couldn’t be more grateful for her.
47. Also podcasts!
48. And walking, which I’m still grateful for, years after the two-year-broken-foot saga concluded
49. Actually, bodies. They have some very tricky parts, but also some very awesome ones.
50. Having a goddaughter
51. Shaun King
52. Living in a tiny space (this one, which I share with my wife, is 500 sq ft plus a porch)
53. Chosen family
54. And the amazing tribe of women who have come out of the woodwork and loved me through some really hard stuff this year
55. Having an amazing massage therapist
56. And an amazing acupuncturist
57. And all kinds of other great tools for taking care of myself when things get hard
58. Also people who help me do that: <3
59. Twitter and its vibrant social justice community
63. My new umbrella with a sunflower on it
64. Mark Rothko
65. Other people’s kids
66. And the delight, challenge, silliness, and heart-wrenching joy they bring into my life
67. Also: “SARAH! SARAH! [tiny voice] trains,” which is how one of them greeted me recently.
69. Especially ones with eerily good instincts about when to send me pictures of kittens or their kids being cute
70. The internet, which keeps me connected to things that would otherwise be far over the horizon
71. Burdick’s hot chocolate
72. Invader Zim
73. Linen napkins
76. The Earth