I moved to New York nearly three years ago. The wind was bitter that winter, and as I waited on the open platform of my Williamsburg subway stop, poorly equipped for the chill factor, I shook from head to toe. So after my first job interview (which was a total bust), I scooped up a necessary purchase: a heather-grey beanie from an American Apparel in midtown. It served as a cozy helmet, a piece of soft armor, a look. I loved that damn hat, and wore it daily through spring, winter, winter again. Taking it off felt like an unrobing from the New York self I was building, one cold day at a time.
Then this fall, in an unfortunate omen for the downward spiral of 2016, I left the hat behind in an UberPOOL. Ironic, I know.
Some things are only meant to be part of one chapter, though. Loss—of a thing, or a feeling, or a person—is part of the game, odds stacked against us.
That’s a lesson I’m learning, slowly. It never gets easier (although I’ll be the first to admit I’ve so far been pretty lucky in terms of real grief, real stakes). But we grow up, and we grow on, and that is loss, too. Friends move away, move on, find other cities and passions and people. Brad and Angelina break up. Health becomes a thing; mortality stares us in the face. Kanye goes rogue. The world seems to shift on its axis, bringing with it a wave we may not have seen coming, crashing down to strip away our millennial innocence and taking youthful optimism in its wake. Carrie Fisher dies. So do Prince, Bowie, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Leonard Cohen. Romances we strike up—such nice distractions—flash and fizzle just as fast. A favorite hat or coat or lucky scarf is lost to fate.
As a wise friend recently told me, though, that is all OK. Let that chapter end. Maybe it was lovely to read, or maybe it was rough, but it’s over and preserved in memory and, in its own way, complete. Then turn the page. Just turn the page!
In 2015, I reflected on overcoming fear. In 2014, I wrote about home: the way it changes, and stays the same. In 2013, I quoted a book on technology and identity. All still relevant. But the pages keep turning, and the wind keeps blowing, and the answer, my friends, is probably just to stay warm.
Thankfully, my mom got me a new hat for Hanukkah. I’ll need it, as these cold winds are just beginning. Let’s make 2017 a cozy one.
Things I did in 2016: Landed an internship, and then a job; interviewed some pop stars and cool people; got published in print; launched a newsletter; made it out to Montauk; saw Lady Gaga perform live at a dive bar; joined Equinox; was ambivalent about the new Harry Potter script; became a regular at my local Sweetgreen; got Olympic fever, specifically for the Final Five and the antics of one Ryan Lochte; chatted with Michael Phelps; performed my civic duty as a juror; binged on (and then incessantly recommended) Peaky Blinders, Lovesick, and Mozart in the Jungle; got pretty bummed about politics; discovered some top-notch friends, coworkers, and writers, whom I treasure; drank tequila sodas and vodka martinis almost exclusively, save for the champagne; read a poem a day; consumed so much good new music.
Things I’m working on for 2017: That damn yoga handstand; earlier bedtimes and earlier mornings; cooking, at least sometimes; punctuality; giving back and not giving in; abs; reading more classic books; dining out solo; organizing my music more effectively; rekindling relationships I’ve let slide; keeping an eye on the prize; being an ally; ditching the screens every so often to find a fresh perspective.
Thanks for reading—thanks for thinking—thanks for keeping your chin up. Onward, into the warmth of a bright new year!