2017: The Year That Broke You Down & Built You Back Up
To think that I graduated from high school ten years ago (shout out to the class of 2008). Forget about 2017, when did 2008 turn into 2018? Going into the new year, I’m sitting here wondering if the resolutions that I made in 2007 came true in 2008 or any years since.
My high school self-set this image of who I would be in 10 years based on who I saw myself becoming. Now that the ten years have passed and to be honest, I fail to fit the image that I set for myself. I am not the 6 figures making business executive, the world traveler, the proud lover, or am I working the dream job of my life. The goals were set high, to say the least.
Ten years is a mighty long time for growth and change, as well as failure and pain.
I may not be exactly where I thought I would be in my life at this age. As my wide-eyed teenage self-saw. But I’m learning to be proud of who I am now.
I’ve never been one of New Year’s resolutions. I even contemplated writing this post. As I thought it could be a bit cliche “oh another New Year, New Me” piece of content circulating the internet this week.
What could I have to say that hasn’t been already said? Or if you’re like me, don’t want to exactly hear?
This isn’t a New Years Resolution post. It’s more of a Past Years Reflection post.
2017 was the year that broke you down but built you back up…or that’s how it went for me.
The year started off on a high note. I was in a healthy relationship, I was beginning to thrive in a dream career, and began to adjust to this new city that I had called home, Washington DC.
As the year went on the relationship started to fade with each passing mile that we spent away from each other due to distance. I began to question my lovability while trying to mend a broken heart that wasn’t all that yet broken — just torn. My dream job and career would also be put on halt as I quit my job to move back to Los Angeles. Still without a full-time position in my new home city, LA, I never thought my unemployment would last for this long. At times it seems like my career itself has been put on hold.
Then there are the times that I struggled with the depression of living in a location where I had no network or connections, to anyone or anything. Where I spent countless weekends alone in my studio apartment, only to leave to walk past the White House on the way to the Gym. Don’t get me wrong I’m a homebody, but there’s only so much time that you can spend with your own thoughts without it feeling like solitary confinement.
There are things that I started that I never finished. There are things that I didn’t follow through on that I said I would. Was I man of my word or did I make a promise to myself or to others that I knew I couldn’t fulfill?
I guess you can say 2017 was a year where I felt heartbreak, loss, uncertainty, loneliness, doubt, fear, let-downs and many more.
But it was also a year of extreme growth, finding myself (again), knowing my worth and value, pride, and going after the uncertain.
There are two things that I took away from in 2017. The first thing is, you can’t guide life’s course.
We all have this set plan of where we see ourselves going in life, but life doesn’t give a f*ck about your plan. It will guide you to where you are needed to be in that moment.
The second thing that I learned is that you can’t selectively numb emotion. We have to feel both positive and negative emotions and treat them as equal. Feel all the emotions. When you numb negative emotions, you numb positive emotions, and vice versa. Which leads us down a miserable and dangerous cycle of finding purpose and meaning.
I’ve always used the new year as a time of reflection, to look back at the year. As I get older, I’ve recognized that I focus on my losses and failures, the goals that I didn’t achieve, the relationships that I lost. If you’re like me, you’ve always been your worst critic. Moving forward we have to pat ourselves on the back more often. All the losses don’t come without a few wins. Congratulate yourself for the success that you did have, the goals that you did achieve, the leaps and bounds that you made in growth.
As I go into 2018, I don’t want to focus on the failures and how rough 2017 was because it truly was awful in many ways. In 2018, don’t let your failures define who you are. Focus on being proud of how far you have come in life.
Even though I may not be where I thought I should be, I am where I should be.
To close this out, because we all have champagne to pop tonight. I stumbled on this TED talk this morning and it inspired me to embrace these words for 2018:
Courage: To have the courage to be imperfect.
Compassion: To be kind to yourself first, then to others.
Connection: To let go of the thought who you should be, and just be who you are.
Vulnerability: To be willing to do something without any guarantee, to say I love you first, to be willing to invest in a relationship that may or may not work out.
I’ll be forever thankful for the lessons from the wins and losses that 2017 had to offer. So cheers to 2018!!