Hello, Internet. What are you up to? What's amazing and fun and exciting and basically making you feel alive and optimistic and ready for a bright shiny new year!?
It's pretty easy to measure your life in calendar years, especially if your birthday rolls close to the end or beginning of one (which is the case with me). And 2012 has been a very good year for me. Probably the best yet. I've kept working hard, have been lucky enough to get a little attention for it, and generally lead a charmed little life with a good circle of friends and family, an amazing girlfriend, an amazing dog, and with some awesome things on the horizon to plan for and look forward to. (Gotta take a minute to appreciate that.)
I've been basically reading this over and over for the past few days. Cracked is a pretty great site overall, and a big part of what makes it great is that every-so-often article they'll publish that really jolts you awake and hits home in a personal way (John Cheese's columns are amazing for this), and for me, this was one of them. I read through this, realizing I've come a long way, realizing I've got a long way to go, as always, because that's life and you can't ever stop moving forward and growing and getting better or else what's the point, right!? (ahem.)
It makes some damn good arguments. I've had pride in myself for being "nice" in the past, even though it means very little to be "nice" if you're not doing something good/worthwhile or bettering yourself and others in some way, and even "nice" people can be selfish, thoughtless jerks deep down underneath that outward layer of "nice". (I will stop saying "nice" soon, I promise.)
I've learned a lot of things the hard way. It's the best way to learn anything. I've tried to put myself out there and received nothing in return. I've been judged, mistreated and disrespected by people I've cared about after trying to do well by them. I've been on the other side of that as well, though (which I'm not proud of) and I understand the mindset - where it's all about what other people can do for you, and rarely (or never) what you can do for them. And you can get away with that for a long time by being "nice", but I believe/hope that eventually people will see through that and simple self-respect won't allow them to tolerate it anymore.
(And the great part of that is, if you're doing it right, self-respect forces you to demand more of yourself first and foremost - not just others.)
So yeah. On the cusp of the new year, this is where I stand. I'm better than I was. I want to be better than I am. And I'm super, amazingly thankful for all the help, support and friendship I have, all the understanding, that makes that whole journey so much easier.
I'm ready for you, 2013.