I don’t think I’m the only person here who is so friggin’ glad 2017 is over. This year was a shitstorm of bad news, like actual Bad News every single day. This year was a lot, but I’m really passionate that 2018 is going to be better.
Here’s the thing —I’ve read a lot about how goals are much more likely to be achieved the more you tell people about them. So, I thought it would be helpful to do a little personal review of 2017, and write about what happened in my life that I’m proud of and the things that I’m hoping to work on in 2018. After all, I may not be able to do a lot about the garbage fire that is the news on a daily basis, but I can at least work on me. At my job we call this exercise wins and opportunities. Marketing words are dumb, but in this instance, I see the value of the positive language so we’re going with it.
2017 Wins: The Shit I’m Proud Of
Launching Lady to Lady
In May we launched Lady to Lady, our high school workshop series. It had been a dream of mine for over a year to organize a program for high school girls to empower them to self-reflect and make their own decisions. With the help of a super talented team, we put together the curriculum and did our first workshop. The absolute best part of the whole day was reading the surveys from the girls on our ride home. Not only did they enjoy the workshop, but they took away the most important info we wanted them to. It was tear-jerking, honestly.
Going To Therapy
So this year I reached my max capacity with anxiety. I had anxiety and panic attacks at a frequency I was not comfortable with and I had absolutely ZERO tools to manage those things when they happened. In April, I went to my first therapy appointment, it was following an anxiety attack that started as a result of a bad Friday at work but lasted all the way through the weekend. I could not catch my breath and that’s when I promised my mom I’d look into someone to talk to.
I do not know if there’s a word that properly describes the benefits of this change. I was lucky and really enjoyed talking to the first person I saw. Now, nine months of weekly appointments later, I’ve identified a lot of my anxiety triggers, specific things I can do to keep the anxiety under control when I’m in those anxious situations, and different tools I can use to sometimes avoid the anxiety all together! It’s pretty cool. I think I’ve made a lot of progress and I’m really proud of that.
Keeping Things Tidy
This sounds like a joke but it’s not. About three years ago, coming out of a break-up, I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I was honestly a category 5 hoarder at the time and the book had all the right responses to my excuses for keeping things. I got rid of all the stuff that I only bought because it was on sale (even though it didn’t totally fit right or I only wore it once), gifts I felt guilty getting rid of even though I didn’t love them, all sorts of beauty products I never used, and everything else. I am your cookie-cutter Kondo-convert and I’m not even embarrassed.
Since reading that book, I’ve become so mindful of what I bring into my space and home. I have an ongoing mental list of things I want or “need” for my wardrobe and home and I keep those things in mind when I shop. I very, very, rarely buy something completely impulsively, and if I do it’s because I love it. Sometimes this is hard, sure. No one likes saying no to free prizes! But thinking about how happy I am in my home where every single thing I own is special to me, and serves a purpose for me, eases that sting big time.
Side perk? My room is almost NEVER messy. I mean, even at it’s messiest it can be cleaned in 30 minutes. Why? Because every single thing has a place and my all of my drawers close easily.
Making My Mental Health A Priority
Until this year, I don’t think I truly understood how much of a priority I made other people’s feelings when I made decisions. While a healthy dose of this behavior is totally normal and arguably good, always making decisions with other people’s feelings before your own is less good.
For a long time, I had a close friend who I often bent over backwards (and then some) to accommodate. She chose to exit my life and while I am still coping with the long-term emotional effects of that, I’ve found a lot of happiness too. I’ve found my power to not let whether or not someone else is having fun affect whether or not I’m having fun. I’ve found my power to say “no thank you” to activities that will stress me out or that I don’t want to do. I’ve finally come to understand the difference between things you do for people that you love, things you do because you want to, and things you don’t have to do even though someone might not be happy about it because it doesn’t necessarily matter if they’re happy or not. Is that what being an adult is? I don’t know. But I know that I’m proud of myself for feeling empowered enough to ever make decisions while prioritizing what I want in literally anyway.
My New Job Is Good Stuff
I’ve been working for the same company for almost four years now. It’s been a journey that no matter how cliché is only best described as a roller-coaster. Down to the part where roller coasters also give me panic attacks!
But all joking aside, I’ve just weaseled my way onto a new team at work. One where I get to work with some of my favorite people every day, use my brain to the max, take advantage of my obsessive desire to learn about things, and a bunch of other things I can’t think of right now. This situation kind of fell out of the sky, but I couldn’t be more excited.
2018 Opportunities: Things I Want To Work On
This Negative Self-Talk Has Got To Stop
So while I’ve seen a lot of improvement in managing my anxiety pre, during, and post episodes, I have seen a strange increase in gross self-talk. This is my number one personal priority in 2018, and I’m going at it full force. I have had moments when I can’t stand to look at myself in the mirror, feeling like a hideous blob and then telling myself that’s what I am. Moreover, lately it’s been more of a “these great things are happening for the people that you love, but you will never know these things yourself.” Pretty nasty shit, and kind of on repeat like a broken record if I can’t find something to keep myself busy.
On a good day, I really do like myself. And on most days I know that whatever voice is saying this stuff to me is full of shit, that it doesn’t know me, and it’s not coming from a rational spot. Either way, though, it’s there and it SUCKS. I think in working on my anxiety, I’ve kind of found these feelings that were hidden under all the worry and they’re my next conquest. I think it’s probably a lot of internalized gunk from some hard changes the past few years. In 2018 I want to clean this gunk, manage this nasty voice, tell it to stfu, and get dressed in the morning thinking, “damn, girl.”
I Need To Write More
This is my first real personal essay of 2017. Ew, MK. Come on. There were moments this year when I wanted to write, but I couldn’t really think of a topic besides “I’m Really Not Doing Okay Right Now.” Other times, I had ideas but for one reason or another, I didn’t follow through.
Here are some of those essays left behind:
- An Analysis Of Why I Empathize So Hard With ‘The Crazy Bitch’ Characters in TV And Film (analyzing my connections with Blair Waldorf, Paris Gellar, and Miranda Priestly)
- A Love Letter To Jen Gotch
- ‘Her Success Is Not Your Failure’, And Other Advice I Give That’s Hard To Follow Myself
- A List Of Things About Me That Are Good
- I Swear This Is The Last Essay I’ll Write About Online Dating
I want to try to write at least once a month in 2018. It’s an ambitious goal, but I want to do it.
On That Note, I Need To Do Obvi Better
As comes with anything in life I’m sure, some pretty awesome opportunities have presented themselves and fallen through this year. I put a lot of extra pressure on myself when I feel bad about those things because I’m supposed to be a leader and nobody wants a leader who’s down in the dumps all the time.
In 2018, I want to smash the walls my brain builds those situations into. I might go so far as to have the crew write down the icky things they think when those situations arise, and then go outside as a crew and literally burn them up. Actually, yeah, I’m 100% sure I want to do that.
This Is A Selfish Share But I Want To Buy A Car
This is a lot more literal than the other things, but I’m going to get myself some wheels in 2018. I had a few moments that made me think I might be interested in this big move. The week before Christmas, though, I had access to my own car and it made me feel like An Independent Woman (queue Destiny’s Child). Dream scenario is to have one by the end of July. Here we go.
At the end of the day, while there are some things I want to work on so I can be a more content and proud person in 2018, I’m pretty proud of my progress.