What can we make of a year? Of one more Earthen journey around the sun? I suppose it depends–like most things in life, a year is what we make of it. What happens isn’t always up to us, but how we react can define the outcome.
Early on in 2017, I found myself in a few situations that forced me to reevaluate how I perceive myself. When I looked closer, I didn’t like a lot of what I saw. I realized that I was putting my attention in the wrong places, and that was keeping me from focusing completely on myself and my future. In turn, I was unnecessarily anxious and completely out of wack when it came to evaluating my wants and needs in a healthy, productive way.
How did I react?
I stopped drinking coffee cold turkey when I realized that I was drinking 3-4 cups a day and accomplishing nothing because of caffeine-fuled anxiety; I quit my temp job, which left me feeling lifeless and uninspired, and started teaching ESL online; and, I decided that 2017 was going to be “The Good Year.”
Good hasn’t always been easy. It was a lot of hard days, and it was a lot of confusion. Good has meant a lot of growth, though. It meant slow change as I started to experience more good days than hard days on a day-to-day basis.
A lot did happen this year. I did take a much-needed trip to Germany with my family in the summer, where I got to see an old friend who studied at my high school on an exchange program in 2007. I also had quite a few visitors this year–one of my best college friends came to celebrate my birthday with me in early March, and my mom and Grandma came to visit in late March. My grandma had never been to DC before, and I was so happy to show her around my adopted city. My Kindergarten bestie and oldest friend came for a long weekend in October and all three of my immediate family members came to celebrate Thanksgiving with me in my DC apartment–the first Thanksgiving we had together since 2014. I quit two jobs (my temp position in January and my coffee shop position in August) and started three more (VIPKID in February, substitute teaching in September, and a really low time commitment tutoring opportunity in the summer). I am now officially an independent contractor in all three of my jobs, so I’ve learned the joys of removing tax money from paychecks on my own, as well as the frustration of not always getting work. I also moved from my first DC apartment to my current place.
Aside from working and my few adventures, 2017 was a lot of sitting and reflecting. I spent a lot of time by myself ths year. I worked to embrace my inner intorvert, I read a lot, and I spent a lot of time reflecting. I went to a few sessions of therapy in the spring and learned A LOT about myself; I spent much of spring and early summer processing and coming to terms with what I worked on in therapy. There was a lot of delving into the past and remembering vivid snippets of my childhood that I had forgotten about. There was a lot of healing from the pain that developed over the years from growing up as a highly sensitive introvert, and there was A LOT of yoga. Oh so much yoga, mostly with my favorite yogi goddess, Adriene.
Sitting and reflecting has been so fruitful. I’ve learned so much about myself. After all the hubub of 2015 and 2016, I really needed time to figure things out…and I did. Over the course of 2017, I’ve seen slow, but measurable growth in the way I handle my anxiety, in the way I communicate with others, and in the way I’ve been actively working to live in the present. There have been days, weeks where I’ve watched myself regress back into old habits, and in those times I remind myself of the advice I received from a friend back in Thailand: “Growth takes time.” It certainly does, and it certainly isn’t fluid.
As I move into 2018, my goals include continuing to work towards balancing out my need to turn inward with my great desire to be out in the world. When I don’t have plans, my default is to become a complete homebody and turn into myself. While this is good sometimes, I’ve also discovered that I’m way more social than I ever used to imagine, and I need to be developing habits that will help me balance how I spend my time.
In 2018, I want to have a healthy dose of adventure. I want to challenge myself in new ways, and I want to push myself in my teaching career. 2017 has been a year of massive internal change and, in 2018, I want to bring that change–slowly, quietly–into the world.
Cheers to The Good Year. It truly has been good on so many personal levels.