Everyone keeps saying things about how “New Year’s Eve marks the line between the past and the future.” I completely disagree. Every second of every day marks that line. It’s for this reason that I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I am aware of myself and how my life is going and what I need to work on. I don’t wait until the first of the month or the first of the year to start something new. It’s either today, tomorrow, or the next day… but the point is, it’s now.
Still, I can recognize that from one point to the next, 365 days later, it’s always a year. It’s interesting to look back on the past year and see how much I’ve grown and changed and accepted about myself.
1. It’s not bad to be with someone, that’s the first thing I learned. After building my life around being alone (to note: I’m a bit of a loner and any given day I will prefer solitude over social activity), I met someone who respects that and provides what I’d need in a relationship. He understands me. (I met him in 2012 but I didn’t really learn this until later.) Plus, he is perfect for me in a lot of ways that I never knew I needed!
2. The second thing I learned was all about creativity. I have always known that I’m a creative person and that being creative is important in my life. I never knew until 2013 exactly how important it was. I learned how I can use creativity to balance a lot of the issues I have with anxiety and virtually make them disappear. I also learned how much happier I am as an individual when I set aside time for making!
3. Setting goals and making commitments has always eluded me. My solution has been: just don’t make promises! This isn’t the best solution. It means I couldn’t agree to hang out with people too far ahead of time, and I couldn’t keep a long-term relationship or be reliable to friends/family. I’m still learning about what to do with this, but I’ve accomplished a lot in the way of personal goals and understanding how to make things work.
4. Every year I learn something new about perspective. Perspective is an important concept to me and I like learning new ways to view and understand the way the world works. This year, through my creativity, a few online courses on various topics (art, creativity, leadership, video games, education), and watching myself accept G as part of my life (#1) and try to work through my fear of commitment (#3), I more or less destroyed the depression I had been building for 15 years. I’m starting fresh with a new perspective. Granted, I’ve done that before… but that’s the fun! You don’t have to stick with what doesn’t work, and you can keep trying until something does.
5. Careerwise, I’ve learned more about what I might want to do next. I was a bookseller for 6 years and comfortable in that until I wasn’t anymore (it was pretty sudden). I’ve been doing web work and various odd jobs while unemployed ever since but right now I’m in a 6 month contract in the field of online education and I love it. I’m definitely getting closer to my next long-term career dream!
It’s been a pretty intense year.
As I noted, I don’t lay out New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I’m constantly working on things. I’m always aware of what needs to be changed or improved upon. Some things I set aside for later, others I tackle right away.
1. Health is the obvious first one… I used to be so committed to taking care of myself, but I recognize that part of that was having a steady income and being able to afford things like gym memberships, fitness clothes, healthy foods, and bicycle maintenance. I’ve fallen out of that loop and have been out of it for so long that I don’t even feel like myself anymore. G is helping a lot with this, but I know the motivation has to come from me.
2. The second big one (and also obvious) is finances. It’s a little rougher now than it used to be. I used to be dirt poor but at least I was able to manage what little money I had. Contract work and temporary positions aren’t ideal financially, but they’re the only thing I’ve been able to get. Without having any basis for managing actual money, I just spend it all. I definitely need to keep working on that…
3. I’m striving to be a better social person. I don’t really know what this means yet, so I’m taking it a day at a time. I’ve been a loner for so long that I disconnected from a lot of the people I love. I’m not trying to “not become a loner,” because I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the way I am, but I am trying to be more compromising.
4. Spending less time online has been an ongoing goal since last year! I’m not doing very well with it. I’m trying to find the balance between utilizing the Internet for its good uses, and staying away from social media addiction and such. I say this now with tabs open for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram… just waiting for me to finish this post! Before I got a smartphone last year it was really easy to stay away but since I have easy access to everything now, it’s difficult and I spend a ton of time refreshing just in case someone updated something.
5. I try to stay away from goals like “read more,” because I have learned that my creativity comes and goes as it pleases and I have to follow the Muse. One year I might be invested in creating, and there’s not much time to read during that– I don’t want to feel guilty about it. Instead, my goal is to learn more. Keep learning. Whether that’s through reading (fiction is learning too!), taking classes, or asking questions… I want to keep filling my mind with wonderful things!
When I set out to write this down, it started as a letter. About halfway through, I started realizing how proud I am of myself and what I’ve accomplished this year, as well as what I’ve been striving for the past couple of months. Sometime during my unemployment this year, I had a day where I couldn’t get out of bed. I was crippled by mental/emotional thoughts and ideas; I was still beating myself up a lot and allowing myself to think all those thoughts that keep me in the dark. Sometime later that day, I made a decision to stop. I chose to look at life in other ways. I was done.
The journey since then has been uncertain, but it’s been my journey and I’ve kept track of my steps. It may not be what you would normally consider “self-love” but just the very fact that my continuing goals for now and next year don’t involve depression or trying to change my views on life means a lot to me. I have come so far and I am so proud of myself. I’m declaring this a post of self-love for Mary’s Self Love Link-Up!