I think almost everyone reading this will agree with me that calendar dates are pretty arbitrary. A new year is not a mystical point in time by which you must bind yourself to becoming a new person in some way, or by which things must take shape in your life or else never come to fruition. Maybe you didn’t meet a major goal this year, or overhaul your life in some way. Maybe your everyday life doesn’t look exactly the way you want it to, and it’ll take a while for you to get there. Maybe your life is stressful enough that you don’t want to deal with the pressure of a New Year’s Resolution right now. And that’s okay!
For me, the healthiest way to look at a new year is not as the date by which to completely change my life or decide I must reach some major goal. Instead, I like to use January 1st as a reminder to take a step back and take stock of my life as it is — including what’s working and the things I’m really grateful for.
Here at TFD, we have a lot to be grateful for from the past year! Just under one year ago, Chelsea and Lauren published the TFD book, followed by a super invigorating 10-city book tour. Over on our YouTube channel, we launched two new shows that we couldn’t be prouder of — The 3-Minute Guide and The Lifestyle Fix. And here on the site, we could not be prouder of what we’ve produced and the many amazing writers we’ve been lucky enough to work with. While I couldn’t possibly list every single TFD article that touched our hearts this year, I wanted to take the time to point you all to some of the team’s favorites. Writing about money means writing about everything, from dating to skincare to societal expectations. Here’s a little 2018 TFD time capsule to bring us into the new year on whatever kind of note you need — productive, contemplative, hopeful, or anywhere in between. Happy Almost-2019, everyone!
I couldn’t possibly tell you how much I loved and related to this article (and the movie referenced in the title). If you’re looking for a cathartic read on the financial and emotional toll that modern dating can take on one person, look no further:
Paul and I matched on Tinder in January. I’m not one for small talk through an app (Why do it? Why not just meet in person?), so I suggested drinks the following night. I spent the next 24 hours cyberstalking him, very excited for the relationship I was building in my mind. I already pictured myself watching his band perform in dark bars, listening to songs he wrote specifically about me. Our future together was a romantic indie flick waiting to happen.
It’s impossible to convey the depth of pain that sexual assault can cause a person, in any sense — physical, mental, emotional, and yes, financial. And the costs associated with assault can follow survivors for the rest of their lives. I’m so, so grateful that writer Elly Belle was so generous in sharing her story with us. It is, unfortunately, a reality that so many people deal with, and we need to talk about it. Please read this story if you haven’t already. (And if you are looking for ways to support survivors, Elly also put together this amazing roundup of charities where your dollars will actually do the most good.)
One of my favorite genres we turn to time and again here on TFD is thoughtful essays that dismantle a part of life we accept at face value, without giving further thought to. Even though you may not completely agree with it, I think Savanna Swain-Wilson’s point in this article hits a super important note: that even though beauty standards may be a huge problem, telling women (and specific groups of women in particular) not to follow them is just another form of shaming them. I loved this passage in particular:
My personal belief is that beauty is not a luxury, but a necessity for navigating and surviving this world, if not for being a form of capital to help us with our careers, but for being something that makes us feel like our best selves. Sometimes it’s in the form of a new haircut that feels like a second chance, or the clean feeling of freshly conditioned hair after a hot shower, or the joyful familiarity of picking up that pink and green mascara tube. It can mean different things to each individual.
Another one of my favorite essay genres: How Getting Older Actually Rules. I loved what Audrey Gonzalez wrote about how a new job position helped her really come into her own in her 30s:
I finally started feeling like an adult in my thirties. It wasn’t because I had achieved some lofty goal (still no spouse, children, or house, though I’m working on the last one). Instead, I started feeling like an adult when I realized that I could uncover my own ignorance and then work to correct it. After the senior proofreader in our department went to part-time remote work, I ended up with the honor of being the senior proofreader on site. With that came a lot of questions from others in the department and the company on anything from product content to style guide issues to editing conventions.
I always love seeing posts from Annie, our CRO! Here, she walked us through three meals that pretty much anyone could recreate on their own — no need to spend a ton of money on ingredients or master a lofty kitchen skill. Please enjoy her verbal artistry, too:
Hey, fellow domestically-uninclined soul.
I know you probably feel guilty about your helplessness in the kitchen. Same. Or at least, I used to. You might worry (rightfully) that this attribute will only become less excusable/charming with each passing year. You may even know that if you could just bring yourself to pick up a flipping knife, it’d save you anywhere from $5,000 – $10,000 a year.
But I would guess also, because you’re reading this, that knowing the facts isn’t enough. For whatever reason, there’s a mile-high mental block keeping you from starting this habit. I feel you. For the better part of my 20s, while my partners at TFD were becoming little Ina Gartens in the making (see: Chelsea’s weekly Instagram recipes), I was living that bagel-to-bagel life.
Shammara wrote a lot of wonderful articles for us this year! I was particularly touched by this extremely personal look at the impact of gentrification, not just on entire neighborhoods, but on all of the individuals within those neighborhoods. This piece is very well-written and researched, and I encourage everyone to give it a read:
Consequently, native Brooklynites like myself are being priced out of the places we’ve called home for years. When my grandparents were looking for their first home when I was 10 years old (14 years ago), they were more than able to afford somewhere in Brooklyn (though they eventually settled on Queens). Today, that surely wouldn’t be the case. They probably wouldn’t even be able to purchase their current place.
Whether we enjoy it or not, being active is a crucial part of living a healthy, well-rounded life — and preventing potentially costly health problems down the line. So it’s much better if we can figure out how to enjoy it, right? I absolutely loved what Chelsea had to say about finally becoming a personal who likes exercise. I’m pushing myself on a similar journey right now, and I find points like this so inspiring in a super-accessible way:
Probably the #1 logistical element to my successful workout regime was the fact that it was profoundly convenient to my day-to-day life. And that doesn’t just mean that it was close to my office — it’s actually kind of not! — but rather that going to my workout classes could become a tentpole around which to construct other things. In my case, I knew I wanted to get a good amount of steps in, and I also (since I take evening classes) wanted a studio near a grocery store so I could get dinner stuff on the way home whenever needed. It’s also near several nice bars, restaurants, and cafes, so I can sometimes meet up with people after class or even walk to a nice dinner by myself.
Image via Unsplash