Happy holidays! And happy almost 2017!
It's Christmas morning. Presents have been opened, hugs exchanged, breakfast eaten, and a second pot of coffee brewed. My mom and sister are napping (as are the dogs), so I'm here, on my computer, content to be at home and smiling slightly that this is the first year I've truly been happier to give gifts than receiving. Probably because I finally have enough money to actually take pride in what I'm giving, but that's another story. Christmas has never been a huge deal in my family. We (my mom, sister, grandparents, and I) love each other. There is no drama. There are no extravagant gifts. But there's Christmas dinner and a walk for the dogs on this breezy, Ohio December day (no snow, though). So in the meantime, I'm at my computer, putting a few thoughts down on paper (uh, blog post) because my mind is quieter than usual and my heart is full.
2016 is almost over. I could fill this posts with rants about how this was the worst fucking year ever
or ramble about how I'm handling "adult life"
or go the other way, and talk about how the New Year is a *~*special time~*~ for change and self-actualization. But I don't really think any of those things are true. (Except that I am that dog meme, that part's accurate). But while I'm not a proponent of New Years Resolutions or making a big deal out of flipping the calendar another year forward, I do have a soft spot for the ends of things. Although, honestly, in one of my more blindly optimistic ways of making sense of life, I've always thought of them more as new beginnings. I like celebrating times past, but not as something I'd ever really like to return to. I get too excited about what's to come, about the endless realm of possibility that both thrills and terrifies me. So, instead of going on and on about this year's shortcomings (re: political issues, but this blog is not for politics so if you want that, go look at the rest of the Internet), I'm going to talk about the one thing that I've been actively engaged in all year: storytelling. This is the year, or at least this second half of it, that I started my career in earnest. Of course, I'm still 23, 6 months out of college, so I'm not doing anything earth-shattering, and probably won't be for some time. But I'm on my way, slowly taking steps toward the future that I want, elated to be out of school (even though I love school) and actually moving (clumsily, slowly) toward the career I want for myself.
If you're wondering what I even want to do, I want to tell stories. I want to help people feel a connection to other human's lives, even if they have nothing tangible in common. I want to write, or create video, or produce audio, or whatever gets me there in whatever format fits. I want to share things that matter and open people's eyes to realities outside their own daily lives. But, like I said, I'm 23. My dream job for the next 6 to 12 months is to be someone really important and brilliant's assistant, and write at night or early in the morning when I'm off the clock. Or, you know, something like that. Anything that will help me learn and get me where I need to be. So in the absence of my own thoughtful and well-researched writing, I thought I'd collect some of the best writing and audio-storytelling I'd consumed this year. Well, at least as much as I can remember.
A quick note, because I know people on the Internet are fucking trolls and love to yell: This is not an exhaustive list. These are not "the best" stories out there, but the ones that stuck in my head and came forward when I sat down to write this post. Some are long and some are short, some are funny and some actually made me cry (not that hard to do, but still). I also don't necessarily agree with every opinion expressed in these pieces. But damn, if that's how you're choosing what you consume, go out and find something that will open your mind a bit.
HAVE MORE SUGGESTIONS? OR WANT TO TELL ME I HAVE BAD TASTE? Comment! (But if you're mean, I'm probably just going to yell back).
(articles, not books. stay tuned for book recs when I get my shit together and stop working multiple jobs so I have time to read)
- Jia Tolentino on whether or not 2016 has been the worst year ever (for The New Yorker) *RELEVANT!!
- Eve Peyser on the problem with PC culture (for Esquire)
- Hana Schank and Elizabeth Wallace’s Ambition Interviews (yes, all of them) (for The Atlantic)
- Ta-Nehisi Coates on our first black President (for The Atlantic)
- Kristin Oakley on being a reporter in rural America in (or slightly before) the age of Trump (for Quartz)
- Alec MacGillis and ProPublica on the “original underclass” (for The Atlantic)
- Jia Tolentino interviewing a woman who got an abortion at 33 weeks (for Jezebel)
- John Taylor on testing vs. actual learning in education (for Aeon)
- Casey Schwartz on abusing Adderall for success (for The New York Times)
- Julie Beck on happiness apps (for The Atlantic)
- John Branch on Phil Health and bodybuilding (just because I was fascinated to see this in The New York Times)
- Jesse Singal on Internet trolls, Pepe, and the 2016 election (for New York Magazine)
(podcasts episodes, because I love them and you should, too)
- Longform – (whoops sorry there are tons this is my fav podcast)
- 218 Wesley Morris
- 215 Krista Tippett
- 202 David Remnick
- 193 Robin Marantz Henig
- 183 Jia Tolentino
- 182 Heather Havrilesky
- 179 Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton
- Any Gilmore Guys episode with Jason Mantzoukas or Aisha Muharrar because I’m obsessed with them and they're fucking hilarious. Try being sad when you have this playing on your phone.
- The Ezra Klein Show –
- Ta-Nehisi Coates: “There’s not gonna be a happy ending to this story"
- best conversations I’ve had about the election, with Molly Ball
- Malcolm Gladwell on the danger of joining consensus opinions
- Hillary Clinton. Yes, that Hillary Clinton
- Dr. Leana Wen on why the opposite of poverty is health
- Reply All –
- #76 Lost in a Cab
- #74 Making Friends
- #64-74 On the Inside, Parts I through IV
- #62 Decoders
- #52 Raising the Bar
- Heavyweight –
- #2 Gregor
- #1 Buzz
- This American Life –
- 602 The Sun Comes Up
- 593 Don’t Have to Live Like a Refugee
- 592 Are We There Yet?
- 589 Tell Me I’m Fat
- 581 Anatomy of Doubt
- Millennial –
- #30 Thirty-Year Plan
- #24 Will Work for Free
- #20 Haves and Have-Mores
- The Heart –
- Mariya—Extended Cut
- Call Your Girlfriend –
- Episode 70: Chosen Family
- Episode 62: Women-Only Weed Utopia
- Episode 60: Lady Villain
- Episode 54: I’m Every Woman
- Episode 50: Joy of Missing Out
- Episode 48: Let’s Have Another Round
- Episode 45: Right Hand Woman
- Live from LA! With Rebecca Traister
Yay! But seriously: If you have suggestions for any type of media you like to consume, I want to hear them!! This has been the year of podcasts and keeping never-ending lists of articles to read for me, but I'm always looking for more. The challenge is just finding time to read/watch/listen to it all... but we're getting there.
There were lots of existential crises this year. Like, once a week. Ask my roommates. I cried a lot (but that's nothing new). I lost some friends, but made some new ones. I felt like a hot mess that everyone was for some reason treating like a person who "had their shit together." BUT I don't think I've ever grown more as a person or a writer than I have in the past six months. I've learned to have continually high expectations for everything I do, but not beat myself up with I fall short. I've had to struggle through job offers, rejections, tons of cover letters, and many interviews to figure out what the hell I actually want out of my career. (I'm still working on this. There's apparently a lot to consider.) I've had to learn to take myself less seriously and not freak out about anything and everything that goes wrong. I've had to deal entirely with my own bank account and income, actually make it in NYC (!!!!), and think about what I want for my future, financially and otherwise. I've had to deal with all of the situations in which people I love are more important than I am while also balancing with the fact that my early 20s are the best time to be selfish and figure shit out for myself. I've had to let go of people who bring me down, and not feel bad about it. I've had to think about what in the world I want out of life, and deal with the fact that this could change every day, and that's okay. But mostly? I think I'm a better person than I was a year ago. And if nothing else, I have a college degree and an income that I didn't have 12 months ago, so that's cool. I'm pretty damn excited. 2017's going to be cool, I think. So stay tuned.