looking back to move forward.
featuring reflections of key moments from this year, lessons learned, aspirations that i’m working toward, and a bit of hopes-n-fears sprinkled throughout.
2017 was a rough year for most, myself included.
many people finally realized the kind of world we live in — the fact that monsters live among us, and that perhaps everything isn’t as fair as it should be. although this wasn’t news for many, more and more people are galvanizing around issues that others (my & our ancestors) have been fighting against for longer than we could ever appreciate. i do not want to focus too much on the endless devastations brought about by our sociopolitical climate (i’m tired, we’re tired, etc.) but i do want to acknowledge immense gratitude for everyone who has paved the way for us to do what we do. i also want to acknowledge immense gratitude for the mentors and friends that have helped me gain clarity and insight into my professional future. i feel very blessed to have had this support, and even more so to be on an upward trajectory in this regard.
2017 has been a year where i have gotten to know myself.
i mean really, intimately know myself. so many experiences over this past year have forced me to really understand what (and who) i value, and what i am willing to do in order to maintain these values. i’ve experienced betrayal (by lovers, friends, family) more times than i can count in the last year. each instance forced me to look at myself and re-evaluate my self worth. how far am i willing to go for myself? how much am i willing to sacrifice in order to preserve my sense of dignity? i don’t have a definitive answer as of now. but, i’m finally beginning to see myself as worthy of respect — worthy of love. this is a work in progress, and honestly i am terrified of never getting to that mythical place of fully, truly loving myself.
2017 has been incredibly lonely.
there is inherent value in solitude — i have always appreciated this. i often enjoy being by myself. too much of a good thing, however, is still too much. i have felt lonely, and moreover alone, more times than i can even recount this past year. sometimes that meant literally, physically not having anyone around in moments where i needed someone. sometimes it meant having people, but having them 3000 miles away. most times, it meant experiencing loss of trust in and (what felt like) abandonment by those around me. i hope this doesn’t continue in 2018 — although i have a creeping suspicion that it will. this isn’t completely separate from the previous paragraph; perhaps this is the other side of the same coin.
i enjoy setting goals for myself, at times. the most difficult set of goals i’ve set for myself in the last year regarded applying to law school. looking back, i’m very proud of my self-discipline — and very excited about where that’s going to take me. i’ve also achieved many of my goals in regards my mental and emotional well-being.
other times, goal setting can be very difficult. i, like everyone, have a certain set of issues that are monumentally more difficult for me than others. i’m going to keep this in mind, especially as i try to name my aspirations* as realistically as possible. so, here we go.
*for some reason “aspirations” feels more right to say than goals. for me, a goal is something that can be checked off, a task that can be completed. the word aspiration evokes a sense of fluidity and non-linear growth, and in the spirit of being realistic (and also kind/understanding to myself), i’m going to go with that.
- be kinder to myself. i talk to myself in ways that i would never dream of speaking to others, and somehow that sits well with me. that’s not okay.
- continue to communicate. one of my favorite qualities about myself is that i am able to communicate clearly with others, and that i don’t fear confrontation. this skill has allowed me to keep toxic people out of my life, and more importantly, it’s strengthened many of the relationships that are closest to my heart.
- but also, perhaps share a lot less. i do not write this aspiration from a neutral place; this is a sad aspiration. sometimes, when we have been hurt, we make decisions that we would not otherwise make — we do this to survive in the best way we know how. this is where this aspiration comes from — from a place of hurting. nevertheless, it is still a truth. i aspire to share less of myself.
- find a hobby. no hidden meaning in this one — i really need a hobby.
- stop excusing mediocrity. there is a clear difference between someone who doesn’t know something, but wishes to, and someone who doesn’t know something, and does not care to. i promise to always try and be empathetic to the former. the latter, however…this year, i’ve had too many people show me how much they do not care, and yet i have nearly bent over backwards to try and find a way to continue to give. no more of that nonsense. i aspire to nurture the ones who do care, and not spend so much of my energy on those who do not. this is meant to encompass all spheres of my interpersonal relationships.
- indulge mindfully. with some help, i’ve come to the realization that i have learned to fear indulgence. i’ve learned to shy away from what makes me feel good about myself, instead vying for what i think i should be doing. yes, i’m more than my productivity — but i am an extraordinarily productive person. i’ve earned the right to treat myself (and even if i didn’t earn it, per se, i am still allowed the right).