The holiday season is in full-swing and the onset of 2020 is officially looming (TL;DR: The air is thick with expectation). This time of year dating app sign-ups surge and new gym memberships are a dime a dozen—but rather than helpful, the term "resolution" has become this cliché with an almost comical connotation. So we're not going to resolve to change who we are this year. Instead, we're going to reclaim something we seem to have lost during the emotional, political, and cultural turmoil that defined 2019. We're going to give our progress the respect it deserves without the fear of failure taking up space in our consciousness.
"There's something very powerful about the word 'reclaim,'" notes Faith, our editorial director over Slack. "You're not laying claim to something new, but rather actively taking back something that was already yours." Join us, dear Byrdies, in a different objective for 2020. Keep scrolling for the things we wish to reclaim this year.
Hallie Gould, senior editor
"It's a hard ask, to 'reclaim yourself,' I think because we're constantly shifting and changing as time passes. In retrospect, 2019 was a really monumental year in my life—I turned 30, I got my own place, and I spent intentional time understanding the adult I want to be moving forward. I feel different; changed. Every other year, January would bring about feelings of inadequacy and pangs of guilt for a myriad of reasons. I wasn't as healthy or happy as my previous resolution would have prescribed. I wasn't stable. I wasn't in love. But holding those vague intensions as barometers for success is a detrimental goal (and a predictable one at that). I've learned to take better care of myself. We so often use our bodies as a vessel—to get drunk, to look stylish, provide comfort through food consumption—that I think we also forget to treat it with a little respect too. I've made massive changes in my choices as it relates to my health, both mental and physical. So, what's next?
"For me, it has a lot to do with reclaiming the creativity that fuels me. As it goes, I've written a lot less this year. It's the nature of the career (you do less of it as you progress), but it's what I love about this job and, really, about myself. I love words and I love that I'm good at using them. I love feeling proud of my work. It's also unbelievably cathartic. Oftentimes I won't even know how deeply I feel about a certain topic until I'm in the throes of writing about it. It's a way to work through my own issues while trying to serve some of yours. It's therapy for me and I miss it. So, the short answer is I'm reclaiming the writer in me in 2020. Expect to hear much more from me."
Faith Xue, editorial director, trending/creative
"'Reclaim' is such a proactive word to me—you're not staking claim on something new, or reinventing yourself—it's already within you, and you just need to bring it to the forefront. That's such a powerful concept. With that in mind, I'm planning to practice gratitude every day. Each day I want to write down one (or more) things I'm grateful for in my life—because there are a lot, and it's easy to forget when you're swept up in the little things (and when you live in a frenetic, fast-paced city like New York). There's so much in my life to be grateful for—my family, friends, boyfriend, job, and health, just to name a few—and I firmly believe that taking a moment to appreciate each and every one of these things will only attract more positivity."
Lindsey Metrus, senior editor
"I'm taking the concept of reclaiming myself in 2020 quite literally by trying to repossess authenticity in every facet of my life. I had a bit of a reality check recently (long story short: someone from my childhood messaged me something insulting on Instagram by accident) which actually ended up serving as a blessing in disguise. It taught me to take a step back and look at the personality I was trying to give off on social media and question my own authenticity: Was I posting things I felt a genuine attachment to or was I posting for other people? It's since changed my approach to the app in so many ways, especially as it relates to my own happiness.
"Above all, outside of the confines of my phone screen, I want to make sure I'm always being true to who I am and not putting forth a version of myself that I think I should be. It's insurance for my accountability and the diving board I need to plunge into this upcoming year with confidence and security."
Leah Wyar, GM/VP
"After three years of IVF hell, I am taking back my fertility. Back in 2014, when I was 35, my husband and I decided we should start trying for a baby. Shockingly, it only took one try. So we took our time with baby number two. When we were finally ready, I was 38. One try turned into six, which turned into two-and-a-half years of medical intervention: two IUIs, three rounds of IVF, four embryo transfers... fail, fail, fail. No explanation, just defeat, which I internalized as my biggest failure in life—a dark cloud that, perhaps, propelled the issue, and definitely affected my confidence, creativity, and self-worth. After the final attempt, I set out to reset my body and mind.
"For the next five months, I cleaned up my diet, popped supplements, self-Moxa’d, attended secondary infertility group therapy, and religiously saw an Eastern Medicine doctor, who practiced acupuncture, herbal therapy, and the power of positive thinking. Five months in, I saw improvements in my cycle: My basal temperature chart (which provided hormonal cues) became more predictable and my cycle went from 24 to 27 days. Then one morning, this past August, I got the surprise of my life—a positive pregnancy test—something I was convinced I’d never see again. If I’m being honest, trusting my body continues to be a daily effort, but each day (and ultrasound) helps. I’m due to meet my miracle daughter on May 1, 2020, the day I’ll officially walk away from that "unexplained infertility" diagnosis and toward a kinder, gentler, more respectful belief in my body and its powerful abilities."
Star Donaldson, associate social media editor
"Looking back on this year, it has been transformative for me in so many ways. I landed my dream job (at Byrdie of course), and finally felt like I settled into my New York life. At the same time, it felt incredibly fast-paced. And although I accomplished a lot, I felt depleted some of the time. In 2020, I want to reclaim a sense of calm and slow things down a bit. I want to reacquaint myself with the ability to say "no" when I’m taking on too much, and take more time for recuperation when I need it. I want to enjoy the time it takes to finish a book rather than quickly consume an episode of a show (while also inevitably on Instagram as well). I want to take more yoga classes and relax on the weekends instead of keeping a mental to-do list. 2020 is the year I will check in with myself and listen to when my body says it's time to rest. I want to realize there is a time for productivity—but it doesn't have to be all of the time."
Kelly Gallagher, senior social media editor
"Looking back at this past year, it feels like it was an incredible whirlwind. And while I'm so grateful for every opportunity that's come my way, I would be lying if I didn't say I wasn't tired as a result of said whirlwind. So, for 2020, I've decided that I'm reclaiming my energy. I was recently reminded that we are the only ones who protect our own energy. This idea really resonated with me—I often blame things like work, the city I live in or my busy social life as the reasons I feel constantly exhausted. When, in reality, it's up to me (and only me) to create boundaries around and prioritize the many ways in which my energy can be drained. In order to do this, I'll need to learn to say "no," I'll need to schedule myself time to relax and breathe on a daily basis, I'll need to plan ahead so I'm not running around like a chicken with my head cut off to get things done at the last minute and I'll need to force myself to slow down overall. It's not going to be easy but it will be worth it."
Holly Rhue, associate editor
"So often, my resolutions to get a six-pack, do more volunteer work, and take more photos (selfies not included) are derailed by March. That's why I love the idea of reclaiming rather than resolving. And in 2020, I'm reclaiming my time. Last year I resolved to do more with my free time—be it a workout or a catch up with an old acquaintance. The way I saw it, if I had time to scan Netflix then I had time to put in some extra work in my professional or social life. But as we approach the new decade, I actually plan to do the antithesis. I'm gently relinquishing myself of all guilt associated with saying no to drinks and spin classes and anything else that I see as fluff that doesn't add any real value to my life. Instead, my free time will be just that... free. Free moments for me to read. To call my Mom. To count my blessings. To do absolutely nothing at all."
Elspeth Velten, editorial director, growth
"2019 was a year of growth and change for me, and as it passed, I didn't always find ways to prioritize my mental health throughout periods of stress or anxiety. So in 2020, I'm reclaiming my mental wellness. Luckily, I'm heading into the year with a bunch of great outlets for expression lined up. I've found and committed to a new workout that makes me feel great. I got a cat, who's quite literally become a therapy animal to both my husband and me. I claimed my dusty instrument (that I haven't opened since leaving college ten years ago) from the attic at my parents' house and ordered some sheet music. And I signed up for a produce delivery service that's forcing me to go home and spend time creating during the week. When one of my outlets falls through, I've got three others prepared to play backup, and none of them involve partying after work—though there's room for that in my plan, too. Heading into the new year, I feel more aware of my mental health than ever. And more prepared to protect it."