17 Things I Learned in 2017

Welcome to what is historically my favorite post of the year! (Well, except for last year, when I was a snarky asshole about the whole thing but I’m cutting myself some slack since last December, I, along with everyone else I know, was suffering from PTSD -POST TRUMP STRESS DISORDER.) Now that we’re living in legit real hell, I’m going to resume with a real list. Hey, I’ve been doing this since 2011. Why let the end of the world stop a good tradition?

For some reason every year I learn exactly the same amount of things as the year itself. I don’t know why this happens but, for example, in 2015 I learned fifteen things. And this year I learned seventeen! Can you believe it? Yeah, me neither but I’m writing this anyway.

Without further ado, here is my list of 17 things I learned in 2017:

1. Giving feels better than getting. After the election we, like a lot of people, set up monthly donations for our favorite charities. It was a bit scary because we both work in volatile industries and, to be honest, I have a bit of an issue around money (shout out to my therapist) and the amount freaked me out. Ultimately, it’s been very rewarding to know that even when I forget to call my senator or I have to miss a protest march, at the very least we’re giving money to people who are working hard on behalf of the rest of us. #resist

2. My friends will walk 500 miles for me, or at least read 300-some-odd pages. I wrote a novel and I asked friends to beta-read it for me this year. They actually did and my pals give good notes, y’all. Shout out to Tim, Monte, Christie, Liz, and Kamon. You complete me, you had me at hello and show me the money. Oh wait. Sorry, I Jerry Maguire-d too hard there. I got excited.

3. I’m not just tweeting into the void. Someone out there either actually appreciates my tweets or they pulled a very good practical joke on me. In any case, this year someone wrote this: 19 Times Kendra Alvey was the funniest person on Twitter. Seriously, shout out to The Berry writer who, like, totally gets me. ILU, boo.

4. Self-care isn’t just a hashtag. This year self-care has been more important than ever before. I’ve embraced doing what’s best for myself with a fervor I previously reserved for cocktails. I invested in monthly unlimited yoga, I started meditating, I became obsessed with Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations podcast, I haven’t missed a week of therapy (shout out to my therapist), I had my tarot cards read, I’ve been going on SO MANY long walks and holy shit, do I know a thing or two about at-home facials. Take care of yourself and everything will seem more doable. (You will also be more doable. You’re welcome.)

5. Go ahead and get bangs. What’s the big deal? Even if you hate them, they’ll grow. You only live once, dude. I like mine at least 60% of the time, which is more than I like most things. (Shout out to my therapist.)

6. Old friends are for real friends. This year I got to hang with one of my oldest pals, Andleeb, three times even though she lives in Oregon. We went for drinks in Portland, she dragged me to Pop Physique in Silver Lake (I’m still sore) and then we saw our old fave band, Depeche Mode, at the Hollywood Bowl. Nothing better for your soul than spending time with someone who’s loved you since the days you wore baby powder to high school because you thought it made you look like a vampire.

7. 20 years is nothing and also everything. This year I celebrated twenty years in Los Angeles. I moved here TWO DECADES ago with my college bud, Christie. The anniversary freaked me out because the years flew by and oops I forgot to do SO many things but ALSO I’m  proud of who I’ve become and I love this city and the life I’ve made here.

8. The internet is for friends! (Picture a sparkly rainbow here.) I’ve met some amazing people online. People I can talk to about the evils of politics/IUDs/Dave Matthews Band and the beauty of dogs/novels/cocktails. I’m extremely grateful for my relationships with so many people, whether I get to see them irl occasionally or just online.

9. Family is legit. Whether it was celebrating my parents’ 50th anniversary in January, the marriage of close friends who feel like family in April, Tim’s cousin Laurel’s beautiful wedding in September or getting together to honor the life of Tim’s amazing late grandfather in October, our year was stock full of family stuff and every moment was memorable and amazing.

10. My dog is the best dog. Word.

11. If you bug them, they will cartoon you. It only took me twelve seasons to convince Tim to make me  a character on American Dad. Not gonna front; this was a major highlight of the year. I’ve wanted to be a cartoon since the days of Smurfs, y’all.

12. Nephews rock. I mean, come on. Look at these faces. (Full disclosure: the first pic is from 2016 because the older dudes were too cool for the camera in 2017.)

13. Sometimes you have to get out of town. Even if you love your town. Even if you can only afford a road trip. Totally worth it.

14. Let it go. Yeah, I don’t even know that song, you guys, and I’m not getting this tattooed on my wrist or anything. But in 2017, I learned to let go of things that don’t serve me anymore, whether it be a way of eating, a relationship or an outdated view of  life. Let. That. Shit. Gooooooooo.

15. Play(list) to your strengths. There’s a reason I have a Mixtape tattoo and 2017 reminded me of it several times. I was asked to make playlists for everything from a funeral reception to a bachelorette party to a pal’s long road trip. My nephew even asked me to introduce him to some “cool music.” You TOTALLY have skills and knowledge that the people around you value, even if you’ve forgotten about them.

16. Take a break from the news. I was watching two to three hours of news a night, reading countless articles a day and checking Twitter every five minutes like a crazed lunatic. No clue why the first half of my 2017 was full of anxiety and panic attacks.  And, while it’s true that if you don’t check the news for half an hour you’ll miss something, for fuck’s sake, give yourself a break and just MISS SOMETHING. Go pet a dog or wrap a scarf around your cat. Go fly a kite like you’re those bratty kids in Mary Poppins. You can catch up later.

17. Nothing is ever perfect but who gives a fuck? Not me. I have no fucks left to give, y’all, and I’ve never felt stronger. This year has given me PERSPECTIVE. In 2017 I let go of having the perfect *fill in the blank with your own stuff* and, even though we’re living in an actual nation-wide nightmare, I personally feel confident and badass in between panic attacks. Bring it, 2018. (Shout out to my therapist.)

Aaaand, scene. Those are my things. Hope you learned some good stuff this year too. Sending awkward hugs and good vibes to you and yours. See you next year!

xo,

Kendra

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