In case you hadn't noticed, Taylor Swift had a pretty great year.
She's managed to wrangle most of Hollywood's elite into her inner circle of BFFs. She dropped an album with songs that are impossible to not get stuck in your head. She's simultaneously given up dating bad guys and stood up for her right to write songs about them.
She's performed here, there and everywhere, including the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, where she could have easily been mistaken for one of the models. Basically, she's had a kickass 12 months.
I'm guessing the next twelve will be pretty good, too (not to mention, her New Year’s Eve festivities, which will probably include Karlie Kloss, a crop top and a lot of Instagram-worthy decorations).
For everyone who isn't Taylor Swift, New Year’s Eve can be a little bit scary. The prospect of the New Year – a clean slate, a fresh start – is a good thing, sure, but it's also a daunting one.
The starting of a whole new year begs questions most of us aren’t necessarily ready to answer: Have you done everything you wanted to this year? Have you said "I love you" enough and to the right people? Have you become the person you hoped you might be? Are you even close?
For many people, the answer is a loud, resounding, “no.” We’re pretty quick to punish ourselves for that answer, too.
We’ve probably read one too many of those unbearably unoriginal articles (or heard one too many bitter rants) that condemn Generation-Y for being lazy, so, as a defense mechanism, we've overcompensated by expecting too much of ourselves.
We’ve also probably spent too much time on Facebook, where every single job or baby or wedding announcement makes us feel more and more incompetent at living our own lives. I’m not sure when or how it happened, but suddenly, we feel like we deserve a slap on the wrist for not having the kind of year we see in the movies.
So, understandably, setting goals, creating expectations and making resolutions for what could very well be another tough year can be frightening.
Maybe it’s time to cut yourself a break this New Year’s Eve.
When you’re raising your glass of champagne at 11:59 and the countdown is ticking away, stop planning. Stop thinking. Stop measuring the happiness you’re feeling against the happiness you could feel if you just did one thing differently. Just stop.
Don’t look forward. Look back.
You’ve made it. You’ve crossed off another twelve months. You might not know it, but you’ve accomplished things. Those things might be noticeably insignificant, like mastering your knowledge of the lyrics of Nicki Minaj’s verse in "Monster" or eating mussels for the first time and feeling like a real adult.
Those things might be bigger, too.
You might have said, “I love you” for the first time and truly meant it. You might have learned to like yourself a little more. These aren’t accomplishments you can post to Instagram for the world to see, but in a way, that makes them more important.
You’re allowed to grant yourself one day of freedom from trying to figure out what the hell you’re doing for the next five years. The world might tell you the New Year is all about looking forward, planning and becoming better (whatever that means). But, maybe, it’s about looking back, too.
I’d like to consider the possibility that it’s also okay to celebrate your past triumphs, even if they are few and small. It’s okay to feel proud, even if all you are doing is just getting by.