An Open Letter to the New Year

by Kee Kee on February 5, 2018

in Authenticity,Happy New Year,Inspiration

Dear 2018,

You finally arrived. Nonetheless, it’s taken me a month to center myself enough to write my eighth annual letter to the New Year. Last year, 2017, will forever be remembered as my year of grief. The year was filled with loss—loss of sanity, kindness and reason not only in the White House but also in our country and throughout the world; the unexpected loss of a friendship; the loss of a business relationship I had poured my heart into for a couple years, and of course worst of all, WAY WORST OF ALL, the devastating loss of Yoda.

In other words, 2017 sucked.

Between the grief from all the loss and the constant shocking and negative headlines, I had trouble seeing past the intensity and volume of the anger in the world. As a result, it was a dark, sad, exhausting year where I struggled (largely unsuccessfully) to carry out my 2017 New Year’s resolution to be the light. I even stopped writing, a practice that pre-2017 fed my soul because it is often through writing that I’m able to let go of judgment and let words flow that teach me to live with shama, optimism and hope.

Last October I bottomed out and it scared me. So I forced myself to take a five day break from work, the news and from technology. Eric and I flew to Wisconsin for my sister’s wedding and I left my computer at home, turned my phone off and buried it at the bottom of my suitcase, and didn’t even turn on the TV or a radio. When I surfaced a week later, I felt a bit better. But only just a bit.

That’s when I decided to make some big changes in my daily habits. I stopped my compulsive deep diving into the news because I realized that all the horrific headlines were consuming my life. I initially planned to stop reading the news websites for a month, but three months later I’m still keeping an arms-length distance. I also stopped being chained to my phone. Now I turn off my ringer, or even leave my phone behind. And I am making a concerted effort to surround myself with positive people who inspire me to become a better version of me.

There’s a Japanese concept called wabi-sabi. In simple terms, this means finding beauty in the incomplete. I often think of it as finding the perfection in imperfection because nothing lasts and perfection doesn’t exist. Examples might be petals that have fallen on a table next to a vase that holds a bouquet of flowers, a single blade of grass growing out of a crack in the cement, a patch on the knee of my favorite pair of raggedy jeans, a gap between someone’s front teeth, the bald patch on Pedro the opossum who visits our front yard every night, or a scar on a person’s arm behind which exists a wonderful story that gives insight into his or her childhood. And how about Magic the deer with his one antler – it’s absolutely perfect, in a lovely imperfect way.

I’ve been attempting to embrace wabi-sabi with a new daily practice of sitting quietly and observing the world, which leads to engaging in life as it happens. This has weirdly been super hard to do. Now, when I am waiting for someone, instead of whipping out my phone and scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, I force myself to instead bear witness to what’s going on around me.

And oh my goodness is there a lot of wonderful going on around me! It’s not all doom and gloom out there. There is such joy to be had by watching a baby giggling with her mommy as they wait to board a plane, or a young man helping his grandfather load groceries into the car. I’ve found that watching the family of deer at our house, or seeing a dog proudly walking along side its human can bring about a profound contentment from simply getting lost in the moment.

The world remains loud and angry. Racism, hatred, white privilege, climate change denial, mass shootings, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, misogony…it’s all still there, at shocking levels. I had thought the history books proved that we as a people learned from the past and were growing towards becoming a better world, but we seem to be moving backwards by repeating the same monstrous mistakes all over again. Yet still, by working hard at integrating myself back into the real world by walking away from my devices, observing things around me, and making a daily attempt to embrace wabi-sabi, my mind feels a helluva lot less crazy and fatalistic. I’m developing a faith that people will come back to their senses and the world will hopefully soon feel safe and sane again.

So this is where my promise to the New Year comes into play. This year my New Year’s resolution is to embrace wabi-sabi. I’m going to take time each day to find the beauty in the world around me. It’s there to be found, even amidst the extremely imperfect world we live in these days.

In closing, Year 2018, I think I love you already.


Kee Kee


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