Rarely do I get personal on this blog, or any form of social media.
Hell, rarely do I blog at all.
But I’m paying for this here URL, I have a lot of thoughts about 2017 and we might as well marry the two, yes?
What a year it’s been. I don’t mean this in the “politics are screwed up and everyone sucks and the world is fragmented and OMG my favorite celebrity died and and and…” These thoughts are not how I measure the passing of time and are not what I’m here to discuss. This is more of a personal reflection, and I think it’s important to do this not just yearly, but periodically. The flipping of a calendar one day is no different than the day before simply because it’s in a new year. The only thing that matters is what you choose to do with it.
What I chose to do with my days in 2017 has left me in a completely different place – literally and figuratively – than I started.
I live on my own. For the very first time in 2017, I lived on my own. I am the sole person responsible for my well-being, for my livelihood, for all of it. It was terrifying and exhilarating making that change and sure, I’m still figuring it out. But everything comes in time.
I forged new and lasting friendships that I’m not sure where I’d be without. Throughout my life, my circle of friends has constantly evolved. There are always a few mainstays – but changing your circle I find to be essential. We, as human beings, are also constantly evolving. Interests come and go, activities become less or more prominent, and along with that comes people who also share those interests, or don’t. Broaden your horizons, both in terms of those with whom you share your life and in the things in which you take interest.
I traveled. Boy, did I travel. For work, for play, and each time it brought me to people, places and things I’ve never experienced before. The ability to travel is something I will never take for granted. Travelling makes me feel renewed. Changing my surroundings has always been what refreshes me. It sparks my creativity and it’s what makes me feel alive.
I pushed myself professionally. I started off 2017 with a brand new job and it’s brought me more professional growth than I’ve experienced thus far in my career. I’ve pushed myself to ask more questions, to take the lead, to be the educator and mentor I wished I had had, and to accomplish things I’ve never attempted. For privacy’s sake, I won’t go into details. But I truly feel that I’m thriving for the first time in my career.
I dropped some poundage. I encouraged myself to be more active and to better nourish my body and it left me 22 lbs lighter. I have an ongoing goal related to this, but learning how much better I feel in all aspects of my life when I treat my body properly was a true awakening. It’s empowering.
I learned more about myself. I hope that this is a theme throughout every year for the rest of my life. Growing up, you’re always told to never stop learning. That doesn’t just mean to read more books or learn new skills. It’s about self-exploration. I traced my family history this year, and I asked questions of relatives who may not be around much longer to share those stories. I learned how incredibly sentimental I am. I learned how often people can come and go, and the lasting impression they can leave – good and bad – but it’s how I handle those situations that matters. I learned that no one can make you feel any certain way unless you let them. Only you can dictate how you feel. I learned that you deserve people in your life who don’t make you question anything – question who you are, who they are, where their intentions lie. There will always be a little bit of ambiguity in life, because nothing is set in stone and no one has a crystal ball. But the intentions of those that surround you should never be shrouded in mystery.
I learned that you can be too much for some people, but that’s never something for which you should feel you have to apologize. I don’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t strong-willed and very aware of who I am. There are many development opportunities I’ve seen in myself this year – but I am never willing to change the core of who I am because anyone else doesn’t understand me or can’t accept me for me. Sometimes being an incredibly social person is too much for some people to handle. Sometimes being heavily opinionated is too much for some people. Sometimes the amount of makeup you wear is too much for some people. But that’s only some people. We’re all wired differently, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But there are countless people in this world who will get you and appreciate you for all that you are. If I can steal from my fellow Millennials – your vibe attracts your tribe, y’know?
One day on the calendar is bleeding into the next, and that’s the only thing that’s different – unless you choose to make it different. Cheers to making it count.