Celebrate the Wins: An Exclusive Guest Post from Tara Schuster, Author of Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies

If 2020 taught us one thing it’s to appreciate the little things — but how do you stop overthinking and overanalyzing all those precious little things?! Tara Schuster has a few words of wisdom on the matter. Whether you became a master bread maker or a connoisseur of sweatsuits, if you’ve survived 2020 you have reason to celebrate. Here, Tara looks back on an overwhelming year and finds ways we can all be kind to ourselves in 2021.  

If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent a large part of 2020 berating yourself over your perceived faults and questioning how you “should” live. Here are some actual questions I’ve stressed myself out about: “It seems like everyone has learned to bake bread in COVID. Should I have learned to bake bread? What is ‘starter?’” “Now that I don’t commute to work, should I have started a small business? Shouldn’t I have used that precious thirty extra minutes a day to do… I don’t know, make an app?!” And of course, “Should I become a full-blown, full time, protestor? Should I just scream in the streets about all the injustice in the world? Will that help? I’m not sure how I would support myself, but HOW can I better help the world?!” I ask myself these questions on the daily. And I’m tired. I’m f*cking exhausted and overwhelmed from constantly investigating my life.

So, is it any surprise that when a well-meaning friend asked if I had any New Year’s Resolutions, I wanted to politely scream, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!” directly into her loving face? Here’s how I see it: 2020 was already hard enough, I am NOT subjecting myself to the cruelty, the indignity and the futility of New Year’s resolutions I know I won’t be able to keep. Instead, I am creating New Year’s Celebrations. I am going to CELEBRATE all the things I did WELL in 2020. Looking back on the year, I can see that I nurtured my mind, body and relationships. For my mind, I did battle with meditation until I can now say, “hell yes, I’m a meditator” (but maybe don’t trust someone who uses the word “battle” when referring to meditation)! For my body, even with gyms closed, I became a full-blown runner, logging over 500 miles of masked strides. I literally did not let the pandemic slow me down. For my relationships, I made new and meaningful friendships with people I had always admired but who didn’t typically have time to hang out. How did I make new friendships as — GASP — an adult?! I called people I thought were cool, got out on the vulnerability limb and told them I wanted to be their friend, and then acted like a friend and followed up. Voila. New friends. Even in an incredibly difficult year, I found ways to be kind to myself and grow.

Tara Schuster © Sarah Coulter

I am going to celebrate that even in a very dark year, I did not wilt into a nothingness pile, I did not fall apart (okay, I fell apart a few nights), I did not shrink from my life, but I embraced the life that was here to live. And that’s what I want for you. Because you did not wilt into a nothingness pile either. Instead of looking at the New Year as yet another opportunity to be self-critical, look at it as a chance to celebrate the good, shiny, beautiful things you accomplished in 2020. Did you become the world’s best Dog Mama? Did you do Yoga once a week? WERE YOU THE ONE WHO LEARNED HOW TO BAKE BREAD? We have so much practice at being mean and judgmental about ourselves and oh-so-little experience affirming our strengths. How did you help your mind, body and relationships? How were you kind to yourself? Even in the smallest ways? Let’s identify those wins and really celebrate the f*ck out of them so that we remember to carry our hard-won wisdom and good habits into 2021.

We are, definitively, living in a “new normal.” Rather than seeing that as a total loss, we are invited to create what is “normal.” Isn’t that kinda magical? And we can start with our very own habits. I for one plan on grasping onto the hard-won self-care habits I developed into 2020 and making them, even more, a part of my life in 2021. Because, as horrible as this year’s been, if you are still here on planet earth at all, if you are able to read this post, if you have had the luck to survive, then there is so much to celebrate.

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