On a few occasions in 2017, I had to take a step back from consuming politics. It didn’t come easily to me; even when I deleted social media and news apps from my phone, I found myself checking them on my laptop. I knew that in order to be at my best I needed to rest, but it felt like such a display of privilege to avoid what made me uncomfortable simply because I could. So many groups of people in America can’t just “take a day off” from politics, so I felt guilty for needing time off. But here’s the truth: you can’t run a marathon on a bad night’s sleep, and 2018 is the final few miles of the marathon. We spent 2017 in a near-constant state of shock and awe, watching as the Trump administration managed to screw up nearly everything it touched. From multiple attempts to dismantle Obamacare to foreign policy gaffes galore, every day brought something new and ridiculous that somehow made the day before seem tame in comparison.
To me, the #MeToo movement was the brightest star of the year. While it was equal parts excruciating and triggering to endure, witnessing women from every walk of life come forward with their stories of harassment and abuse was exhilarating in a way that is difficult to put into words. It was a slow burn of a revolution, decades in the making, bringing powerful men to their knees like dominoes falling. I often worry, like so many others do, about the possibility of one false accusation that could cause the movement to collapse. It’s incredible that we have come this far but it feels almost too good to be true, like at any moment it could all be over and the patriarchy would find a way to save itself yet again.
But I can’t let my thoughts become toxic in any aspect, and positivity will drive me politically in 2018. I will also do my best to remember to take care of my mental and physical health and encourage others to do so as well, because we will need our full strength for the road that lies ahead. There are huge consequences for our actions this year: every day we must be fighting to take back the House and the Senate in November by canvassing for Democratic candidates, donating to organizations like Swing Left and Indivisible, and never forgetting that the small victories add up over time. Even when it feels like things can’t possibly get worse, they can always get better. We must take the lessons of 2017 and use them as fuel in 2018. Get your rest in where you can, because it’s going to be a big year.