2017- My Year In Review (Part One)
Hello everyone and Happy New Year!
Wow, I cannot believe that I'm sitting here writing this on New Year's Eve. Another 365 days came and went, queuing a night of celebration to finish the year. One more thing I'll be saying cheers to this evening is (drumroll please...) the first post on my blog! Yay! I know, it took long enough, but I finally felt content and ready to start something new.
This probably isn't the greatest first post since, warning- it's going to be a long one, haha. For that reason, I've decided to split it up into two separate pieces. This half, primarily focusing on the self, will be a tad more personal. Part two will still be centered around the individual but highlight some broad practical lessons.
I figured there's no better way to finish off 2017 than, releasing some final thoughts, doing one of the things I love most- writing. Allow me to take this perfect opportunity to shamelessly enjoy typing away my last few thoughts of the year. I no longer really believe in crafting new year’s resolutions, but engaging in some healthy self-reflection, is a practice I appreciate.
2017 was a bit of a strange year for me. I can safely say that this past year has easily been one of the most dynamic of years. If you imagine a chart showing both my shifts in attitude and the number of experiences encountered you'd see that line moving up and down often and at the extremes. Very dizzying. I made some awesome memories, surrounded myself with great friends and of course, family. But, I also realized I had some growing up to do. Overall, I’m glad to say that my year ended on a steady note!
I didn’t go into this year with that many expectations. But I did force myself to adopt an open mind. Instead of making resolutions, for 2018, I’ve decided to discuss some reoccurring lessons and key points I kept encountering. Unlearning and relearning seemed to be the theme, and I'm here to share them with you.
So, without further a due, here is part one of, 2017- My Year In Review.
1. I Learned how to Fall in Love
Before you label me as egocentric, just hold off a short while. 2017 is the year where I fought with myself… a lot. Seemed as if my brain and body were constantly bickering. Many things went unsaid and thoughts unexpressed. At times I felt like I was going through the motions of things other people wanted me to do. Acting according to someone's script and playing each role perfectly.
When I say falling in love, I'm describing appreciation that goes further than self-love or self-care. I'm also not simply talking about appearance either. Personally, it’s been easy to construct my outer layers to seem quite wonderful. I mastered that art a few years back and thought that was enough. Turn out it's not. Figuring out what's honestly underneath all that has been the quest I ventured on this year.
At the root of this are honesty and confidence. My goal became to find confidence in my character accompanied by sprinkles of pride. I want to continue to become more comfortable at regularly revealing all the layers of my personality. There're many facets that I don’t readily share. My thoughts are often louder than my voice. Oddly, I wasn’t always that way. Somewhere along the line, I began to mute my tongue and turn up the tune of everyone else's. Now, I’ve been working on balancing out the volume a little.
At first, I thought, hmm...maybe I was never fully satisfied with myself, but that’s not true. I love the face I see in the mirror every morning! Believe it or not, I love the face I see in the selfie cam of snapchat…even without the filters haha. All that’s happening is that I’m changing. It threw me off a little. Change has spanned from friends, hobbies, and beliefs, to simpler things like music-taste and fashion sense. They’ve all re-sculpting themselves a little bit (same clay just new art). Instead, I needed to fall in love with the new parts of my complex personality that are still developing. When you’re proud of who you are, it shouldn’t really matter who you come into contact with, if at the end of the day, you're being authentic.
As the year progressed I recognized the need to keep falling for the person I want to be, not the one that others perceive me to be. Falling in love with myself means no longer allowing my opinions or voice to be walked on in fear of displeasing those around me. No time for that anymore. I’ve slowly begun to restructure different areas in my life. I’ve learned how to take compliments, trust my intuition, and balance (instead of replace) my interests with others. I hate that taking time to work on myself leaves me feeling so selfish. But it’s necessary. 2017 helped show me how to be proud of my identity, avoid being passive, and the importance of defending my opinions. My wish for the coming years is to continue to accomplish all that with grace. Loving myself is a necessary challenge that I'm excited to be conscious of.
2. Turns out I'm Highly Hypocritical
I am a Hypocrite.
And that's the truth.
Look, I'll easily admit that, at times, I can be extremely hypocritical. Odds are you are too. We all preach things we don’t practice and it's not good enough.
All year I repeatedly sat down and lectured my friends suggesting things they should or shouldn't do.
"Try and be more vulnerable"
"Work hard play hard"
"Eat a balanced diet, but make sure you treat yourself too".
"Oh, you aren't feeling well? Get some rest, and go visit the doctor"
The list goes on. Now, the truth is I struggle to do every one of those things! Oops? To be honest, some things I rarely practice.
Late-night phone calls, morning texts, girl chats, even discussions while running on the treadmill. You name it. If you had something to ask I had something to say. In all honesty, I probably gave one too many pep talks. The advice was good; I just wish I followed it more often.
Here I am regularly reminding people that, sometimes sleep is more important than cramming, or that it's okay to skip the gym sometimes since balance is a major key to a sain life. Meanwhile, I’m still up until odd hours of the night, constantly running on caffeine, and balance is a concept that I'm still fighting to grasp.
The worst part is I'm usually completely conscious of when I'm being hypocritical. It's as though I can literally hear a voice screaming out "FRAUD", in the back of my head. Maybe that makes me sound lil' crazy. Not sure if that's embarrassing, but the awful sensation is no joke.
Yet, here I am. Still advising. Still frauding it out. Again, I know. Not good enough. This past year I called myself out on it...as did many others haha.
I like to tell myself that most of my hypocrisy stems from having the best interest of others at heart, but I’m not here to justify being phoney. It's still hypocrisy and it needs to go.
Being a hypocrite was not the huge revelation. No shocker there. Understanding how to solve my hypocrisy problem is what the year taught me. Quitting my constant encouragement was not the solution. Rather I'm trying to be sure that the habits, thoughts, and practices I promote are ones that I'm actively trying to incorporate into my day-to-day life. (or at least make a conscious effort to). It's difficult, but I've already noticed that my advice has become far more genuine than before.
Needless to say, I am still working on this one.
3. I Understand that It's Okay Not to be Okay
Who You Are, by Jessie J, came in at number 4, on my Spotify list of most played songs of 2017. That's no coincidence. The whole sentiment of this song is wrapped around the phrase "it's okay not to be okay".
2017 gave me several glimpses that pushed me to understand how important this is.
Over the last couple of days, anyone close to me has probably heard me talk about this last point pretty in depth. I got sick a lot this year, I overcommitted myself to too many things; At times began to struggle with personal relationships, and insomnia became one of my best friends. Unsettled and tired, I'm okay to say many tears were shed. Overall I just felt worn out. The issue was I didn’t want to accept the fact that I was not my best self. No way. My stubborn-self refused, better yet, denied, that anything was wrong. Finally, the second half of the year forced me to discern that ignoring your feelings won't get you very far. You’re only prolonging any type of resolution when you do.
I don’t say this for pity. Quite opposite actually. My daily disputes with life are nothing compared to most. I say this to show that everyone is dealing with things that often goes unseen.
Hidden. Maybe it’s because we all want to seem like we have ourselves sorted out. For you, it could be the fear of people finding out that you’re struggling. Some, don’t want others worrying about them.
Either way, I’m learning that there’s nothing wrong with having a bad day. Sometimes you need to let others have a bad day too.
I don’t mean to sound like a winey millennial, but to all my fellow students, I feel for you. School, work, trying to stay physically and mentally well, maintain a social life, all while attempting to get at least 6 hours of sleep, is a circus act. It shouldn’t be a mystery as to why anxiety and depression are a top concern among many university students. We go, go, go, but don't try and stop and fix ourselves until we've already broken down. Being told to keep a good attitude or to “look on the bright side” isn’t always the best solution”. Faking cheer 24/7 is draining.
Having a down day does not mean that there's something seriously wrong with you.
Look, we’ve all tried suppressing negative thoughts and feelings, but there’s nothing wrong with feeling bad sentiments. Yep, it’s true. 2017 told me so. Emotions exist to be felt. Take this simple example. If you get a sore throat you may let them go on for a little. But once the discomfort builds ups, or gets worse, most people do something to address the pain. Whether that means seeing a doctor or sucking on a few halls, we let ourselves acknowledge the pain. I’m beginning to grasp that sometimes it’s best to let yourself wallow in the misery ( but, only for a little while). When the time comes actively seek out ways to get back to whatever true-self that is.
Similalry to how the common cold builds your immune system, there’s strength to be found in every struggle. A bad day here or there will make the good ones brighter. See look, here we are. Smiling and looking forward to another marvelous year. And not to worry! More often than not, I was in good spirits. I laughed a lot, loved a lot, saw and even accomplished a lot too. All this to say is I want to be resilient.
Rainy season is going to come, but it won’t last forever. It took a while for me to realize that plastering on a false smile, to the world, doesn’t solve anything in the long run. Acknowledging how you’re feeling leads to growth and resolution. I’m sure that can only be more beneficial than pretending like you’re put together 100% of the time!
365 days have only been enough time for some of these seeds to grow stems. They’re not all blossoming. I only chose a few points of what to focus on. The conclusion of 2017 only brings me to the end of a tiny chapter, in a book, that has many sequels to come. The challenge now is to continue to apply all that I have learned into 2018 so those seeds continue to grow. I have a lot of things to say- and I am finally ready to say them.
Congrats for those of you who made it to the end of this lengthy first-post! I'd love to hear your take on this past year.
If you enjoyed part-one, stay tuned because there're a few more points to come!
Until next time,
this is me just,