On What 2018 Taught Me
Now that the frenzy of Christmas is over, 2019 is fast approaching. Tomorrow is literally the last day of the year and many of us have (or will) take the time to make resolutions regarding our plans and goals for the year ahead. I believe it’s equally important, however, to reflect on the last 12 months and what progress has been made - what lessons have been learned. A lot of times we are quick to talk about how terrible the past years have been but not as willing to embrace the good or even reflect on the good or bad the year taught us. Here are three things 2018 taught me:
I. INVEST IN EXPERIENCES: “Life is short” is definitely a cliche but it’s true. Life is short and it comes at you fast. Making time to slow down and experience as much as possible a hould definitely be a priority. Travel to cities in America or around the world where they don’t speak your language. Taste food you don’t know how to pronounce. Explore the art and history of every unique place you have the chance to go. This year, I had the opportunity to travel to Ghana and Jamaica and I only wish I would have gone to more places. I went to concerts and festivals more. I spent more time in galleries and museums. My ability to do all of this in 2018 taught me how much I value traveling, engaging with culture and trying something new - things I hope to continue in the new year.
II. TRUST THE PROCESS: This has also become a cliche but it is the hardest lesson I had to learn this year. I’m still not even sure how to fully articulate the “how” of this lesson, because I’m still very much learning and understanding it. For most of the year, “trust the process” was something I read or told myself in hopes that I would say or read it enough to convince myself. It wasn’t until very recently that I saw how everything may seem to be falling apart, but it’s really falling into place. Even if you’re unsure about what exactly the end of your journey is going to look like, know that you’re heading in the right direction. Stay the course. This is also a lesson faith and remembering that God has a plan for your life.
III. WORK SMARTER NOT HARDER: This is a lesson on independence, passion and patience. As someone who considers themselves a creative ,although I hate what that word has become, the amount of projects I want to complete can feel overwhelming. Making money, socializing with friends, going to church, binge-watching ‘The Office’ on Netflix, and trying to make it to the gym can feel quite impossible on its own without the added pressure of pitching freelance articles, working on exhibits and keeping up with blog posts. Working smarter means finding a balance and not running yourself ragged trying to juggle everything at once. Rushing something that you’re passionate about won’t end well because you won’t give it 100% of your time and attention. Understand that not everything needs to happen at once and we should practice patience, working smart to get things done. Think long-term and plan your goal according to your ability to execute it successfully. Lastly, don’t wait for others to make your dreams come true because you may be waiting forever.
Reflecting on the past year, I think my focus word was BEGINNINGS. I spent most of the year accepting the end of a chapter (graduating from school) to beginning my career and life as a young adult. I started a blog this year, I started freelancing as a writer, I started making steps toward my career, and I started practicing self-love and building confidence. My focus word for 2019 is DISCIPLINE. I hope that with discipline, I will be consistent with everything I have started and my plans will start manifesting as I’ve planned them.
It’s critical to acknowledge how the most significant moments of the year influence who we are at the end of it. What was good about your year? What about it made you feel good? How can you replicate those moments/feelings? What went wrong for you this year? What made you feel negative/ low in those moments and how can you avoid it in the new year? Rather than dwell too much on past mistakes, we should really think on what improvements can be made and the good that happened. Beyond making resolutions or plans, we should reflect on how 2018 prepared us to tackle whatever is thrown at us in 2019.