At this point, I think it is custom for me to write things on new year’s eves and then go missing for 11 months. Today, I am offering you this ‘thing’ written at 11pm on 31st December 2019 without any explanations. Tomorrow? Who knows.
Firstly, hello ji hello yes nice meeting you too yes aunty indeed I did not grow tall at all in these 3 months hmmm yes the weather is horrible you look dashing uncle.
Disclaimer- this is not an end of the decade thing. Not even an end of the year sob. Not a mating call either. This is merely a challenge for 31st December 2020 me (who would be looking for inspiration to write something she should have been done with a week ago) to count the number of lines in here that are references to Neil Hilborn, John green, Hozier and Sia (by reference I mean direct copy, or you know, theft.) Answers at the end!
Before we begin, my sister has graciously agreed to bless the general public and my one follower from Tobago with her pearls of wisdom about 2019. P, and I quote her, O P A T. Hear ye, hear ye!
I have procrastinated till the death of every idea I had for this thing, but there are still about 1.5 hours left in the decade. The night may not be young, but I am. You may be too. You may be reading this in 2034. To quote John Mulaney, what the fuck. That’s not a real year. Is Putin still riding horses? How are the bees? Did democracy finally stop fighting for its existence and sell the patent to a big pharma company like a dutiful American capitalist? Did I ever quit using big nonsense words just to seem like I understand economic systems and social justice movements? Did the comrades defeat the bourgeoisie? Did the queer students finally eat the rich? I hope they kept eno handy.
Now with that out of the way, I’d like to get real with y’all. Remove your shoes – keep your socks on- and chillax. Stress, it is a thing. A bad thing; it makes your hair fall off and tea taste boring. What is worse than legitimate and justifiable stress? You are right, it is stress caused by not having an idea to write an end of the year thing summary for a blog you have basically abandoned. I struggled so much. I had written like seven drafts in my head during showers, but none of them were exciting enough. I did have a brilliant idea at 1am though, after a friend had said nice things about me that day (flattery makes me sentimental) but then I didn’t write it because it is so cold here. Alas, sweet talk managed to warm my soul but could not warm my fingers (since it is not a high resistance coil having high current passing through it, causing heat production.) (My father wanted me to include physics somehow. I would have written a chemistry joke, but I was sure I would get no reaction.) (sorry anisha.)
So here I am, at 11:40pm on the last Tuesday of the decade, scribbling into a notebook because I can’t think and type at the same time. Mummy baked a cake, which is tradition. Talking to my 7 followers every year is also a tradition. Time doesn’t wait for traditions. I am so cold and so hungry even though I had dinner a while ago.
John Green, what a guy, right? He’s no Shakespeare, but The Anthropocene Reviewed, a monthly podcast, is nothing short of a masterpiece. Each month he picks two things out of the human centered planet and rates them on a five-star scale. It is his idea of a memoir, recounting life changing advice from former bosses and last memories with a dead friend, while reviewing Taco bell. I have wanted to write my own episode since the beginning of the year. It is past midnight now (Happy 2020!) (I’m sorry the cake looked very tasty) but hey, I can still rate the past, even on a sugar high.
Two thousand and nineteen, was a year. True statement, can’t sue me. Was it a good year? Or was it a shitshow in a dumpster fire? IT IS NOT THAT SIMPLE. I can sit here and cry about all things that broke me this year, like the 2018 review, but who wants to read that? It was a dark time for me, when I wrote this last year, but nobody saved me except me. It didn’t happen overnight, and it sure as hell did not happen by complaining on a blog; it happened by shutting up and sticking it out. It happened by forcing a smile one getting out of bed. I made a resolution to get out of bed last year, right? Hey Tanu, I fucking nailed it.
I am very proud of myself this year. Disappointed too, but deliberately choosing to be proud. No, I’m not going to list all the reasons why I’m proud, all my cherished memories, all the dark nights, because they aren’t for you, dear reader. I apologize for being rude, but they aren’t for my future self either. I will forget and you don’t care. All these little moments are for me to think about in this moment and get overwhelmed with gratitude.
The true recap of my year would be found in my inbox. All of my most meaningful work from this year, perhaps ever, are poems, letters, and birthday cards written for friends and family. I cannot reproduce them here, because they don’t belong only to me. But that makes one think. “I’m not saying you will find the meaning of life in other people/ I’m saying other people are the life to which you provide meaning.” (Here and Away, Neil Hilborn)
Lately I’ve been thinking about the poem ‘Liminality’ by my boy Neil (wow much surprised very unpredictable), especially the last lines:
“Heaven is floating to earth in this already shattered car.
I will lie here forever and sing to you all the things I stopped myself from saying while we were alive.”
I always thought that the girl in the poem was saying the last lines to the poet, but some people think otherwise. Still, I like the former explanation better because damn, imagine being loved enough to hear that from someone. Imagine loving someone enough, platonically and otherwise, to say that and mean it.
There is a line in there that goes “All that has ever mattered is volume.” And I think it’s true. Why listen to your sadboi hours playlist and spiral down into a rabbit hole of self-pity when you could just twerk to some Lizzo? Or even better, just go to sleep. You will need to save yourself, someday surely, so rest up.
Why regret the things you didn’t do when there is so much that you did?
Why focus on the deteriorating state of the planet when you could do something about it? I know, the world is so big and your hands are so small, on some days everything feels on the brink of decay, but nobody benefits from you being stressed about the refugee crisis in your living room. Close a few tabs in your mental browser. Man, just go to sleep.
Social media, the news, there is so much noise. If we increase the volume enough, sound will surpass deafening silence. Silence is not the solution; it is death. But you cannot live with bleeding eardrums either.
If there is one thing I’ve learnt this year, and god knows it might be the only, it is to pick my battles. To say what needs to be said, because there is never enough time. I would rather ruin my throat screaming love letters to my mother, or sleepy appreciations of friends or slogans against fascism than sob silently anymore. “At best you’ll find a little remedy; at worst the world will sing along. So honey, sing.” (To noise make(sing), Hozier)
There is a lyric in a Mountain Goats song called “you were cool” which was introduced to me by John Green (I should not be this obsessed with a 40-something white man). It goes “It’s good to be young, but let’s not kid ourselves. /It’s better to pass on through those years and come out the other side/ With our hearts still beating /Having stared down demons /Come back breathing” My only hope this year was to survive. I had no idea I would come out and LIVE like this. Seriously, my gratitude tonight is unmeasurable.
Yesterday I was toying with the idea of writing ’19 Things I Learnt in 2019’ but it seemed too much work and very cliché. Let me retain at least some of my edge. Exam season is here already. CBSE will test me on what I have learnt in 2019 soon enough. Life doesn’t release datesheets, but I still hope to pass.
I am aware it is the end of the decade. If I were to try to be more annoying than I already am, I’d point out how the new decade technically doesn’t start till 2021 because there is no such thing as a zero year- but then it would be plain as a day that I’m just increasing the word count. I don’t know what to say about this year, it’s too much pressure! I don’t even remember most of it (which will definitely give me an existential crisis later). I was 8 in 2010. Had no friends in 2011 by virtue of being the new girl at school. 2012 was the year I peaked, getting my face in newspapers, getting all-rounder awards. In 2013, our French teacher used to bake cakes too frequently for the whole class. 2014- literally can’t recall a single thing, except writing this one poem that my teacher accused me of plagiarizing, from my own project, memory is a scam. 2015- turned 13. 2016- we don’t talk about this year. 2017- started a blog. In 2018 I wrote so much emo poetry even god fears me. In 2019 My Chemical Romance came back so that I don’t dethrone them. Also this year, I came out, as a person who is not afraid to step out of the closet and step into a city bus, alone.
If you listen carefully, you can hear an intern at Buzzfeed shaking in their boots in this moment. Bachna ae content writers, lo mai aa gayi!
Whether you’ve known me since the 4th grade when I had a boy-cut or we started talking two weeks ago, welcome. Whether you’ve been reading this since the days of my harry potter rants or you accidentally clicked on a link and have no idea what is going on, welcome. All that has ever mattered is volume, and fortunately, the next stop is the roaring twenties. Doors will open on the left, please mind the gap.
I have said this before on the new year’s eve the previous year and I’ll say it again: maybe the worst is yet to come, but so is the best. You are not 2019 Tanu anymore, it’s 2020, you’ve grown up. You lived to see another year, congratulations.
It’s good to be young, but let’s not kid ourselves. I give 2019 five stars.
(Number of pop culture references- 13, including the title.)