The Year of the "Delicate" Dumpster Fire

Hey, everyone -

I’m not sure if people still read “Christmas Letters” – or write them for that matter– but as, at least on the inside, I’m a Velcro pair of shoes away from sixty-five, I hope you’ll indulge me.

Let’s just be honest – aside from Taylor Swift blessing us all with "Delicate" & "King of My Heart" – 2017 was a complete dumpster fire. 

Even beyond the divisiveness of our country and political landscape, my own life felt upside down; as if nothing I’d ever known about the world, or myself, mattered any longer. 

I spent a lot of the year feeling I wasn’t “enough” – facing rejection after multiple rounds of interviews for jobs I thought I wanted. Most of this year’s first quarter was spent scrambling to bring my business back into ‘the black’ after a series of mistakes made us stumble. Finally, Big Pharma sponsored my Fall, filling my October with painkiller daydreams as I recovered from a traumatic, six-hour jaw surgery.

These "low-lows” were counterbalanced by “high-highs” – spending time in Amsterdam and Berlin with two close friends, driving an RV through Banff, sharing Thanksgiving dinner in Tokyo, and enjoying Christmas in West Palm Beach with my family.

Mostly though, the year was tumultuous because it seemed I'd lost myself. I think as humans we have a propensity to attach our identity to the roles we play in life. Yet, I've discovered those things come and go and who we are as people go so much deeper than what we do or who we love.

 Here's to hoping 2018 doesn't *actually* turn my hair grey.

Here's to hoping 2018 doesn't *actually* turn my hair grey.

As someone with an ingrained performance mentality, I almost didn’t send out a letter this year. I don’t have a nifty new job-title to share… I’ve sold off my businesses and am unemployed aside from occasional writing gigs. I’m single, closing in on 26, and moving out of my downtown apartment. I don’t know what’s next for me; personally or professionally. So on that note, feel free to reach out with job suggestions (or blind dates) and follow along on johnmarkconklin.com.

There is so much unknown in my life and in our world, which is why I think it’s so important to return to what we do know. I hope wherever you find yourself this season you wouldn’t believe the cable news version of the truth. My prayer is you would realize, as I have, that "enough” is just wherever you are. 

Writing is my way of making sense of the world. Yet, I've always found poetry a challenge. I think it's because with poetry it's hard to know when and where to begin a new line. And yet you must. Otherwise, it’s simply a regular sentence. As 2017 comes to a close, I'm starting to realize maybe I need less clarity on what to do next and more courage to begin the next line. Grateful for friends and family like you who remind me what it looks like to be brave. 

Let's keep going... together. 

- J.M.C.