Reflections, Gratitude, and a Short Year in Review

This blog has always been a place for me to write down all the stuff that have been bouncing around in my head. With my birthday just having passed, I thought it would be a good time to do a “year in review”! There’s been a lot of stuff that’s happened in the past year, that have really changed my life.

It’s crazy, because when I look back on all of it, I am blown away but how much can actually change within a year. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the small and insignificant day-to-day stuff without realizing all the progress you’ve made and experiences that you’ve shared.

So it just makes it all the more important for me to reflect on the entire year, both the good and the bad. Same as how you get caught up in all the small and useless things, you always seem to lose sight of all the good stuff that’s happened to you until you really sit down to appreciate it and express gratitude.

The Disappointing, the Bad, the Petty Terribleness

  • Broke my thumb, and missed out on an international competition, a competition i had been waking up early for, training a lot, and skipped a lot of fun for
  • Missed OFSAA, provincial school swim meet by 0.01 seconds in a relay event, looking up at the scoreboard broke me on the inside a little
  • Missed OFSAA, by 0.2 seconds in a 100m breaststroke event, I had cut close to 8 seconds since the year before, and I missed a turn that I had hit literally hundreds of time before
  • Didn’t meet my goals in DECA, which was to go to ICDC, an international competition in Anaheim, most of my good friends made it
  • Operating on 6 hours of sleep as stress filled my life, responsibilities started to pile up, and things seemed to spiral out of control. Distinctly remember crying in an English class

There were points during this year where it felt like absolutely nothing was going right. That I had gotten so unlucky, that I had worked so hard with nothing to show for it.

That’s a pretty dumb mindset to have. It’s negative. It sucks you into a dark hole that is so hard to escape. It shows how easy it is to lose sight of all the good things that have happened.

So here’s the counterpoint, the little thought experiment. What if I just forgot all the unlucky stuff that had happened to me this year. What if I only just focused on the good things that have happened?

The Exciting, the Good, the Amazing Awesomeness

  • Went to SHAD, where I met a bunch of incredible people who are some of my closest friends today
  • Joined my friend’s business as an unpaid intern, started getting paid, now managing this said business
  • Got into my top choice for university
  • Watched the people I train in my chapter succeed and make it to DECA ICDC
  • Tried so many things that have been on my bucket list like rock climbing, dancing, yoga
  • Got my hands on a cheap rail pass and going on my own little cross-Canada adventure during the summer
  • Got to travel a lot, went to Halifax, Italy, Spain, and Greece, I can say that I am slightly more cultured
  • Started the Project 5K podcast, which let me meet a lot of interesting people and learn from them
  • Having good friends who are there for life talks, food adventures, parties, jokes and everything in between

The list goes on and on. If you compare the size of the two lists, there are a lot more positive things to be grateful for than the negative. We blow things up out of proportion, get caught up in the small stuff, and lose sight of what’s important.

I would argue that for 99% people, that list of positives outweighs the negatives by far, but it’s something that we often fail to notice. We notice the negative, terrible, depressing stuff way more than the uplifting, inspiring, and exciting actions. There’s actually a term for this: negativity bias.

So for me, to make sure that I can keep all this negativity at bay and appreciate all the good things happening around me, I like to practice gratitude every single day.

Sounds super zen and everything, but all this really is, is sitting down for 5 minutes, and writing out a short list of all the good stuff that happened today. I try to aim for a minimum of 3, so that even if I’m having a bad day, I have to stretch myself and really find those good moments. There are always some.

But that’s the end of this short post! I am grateful that you took the time to read this :)

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