Journal Entry | 18/12/18
A reflection on the past year and the lessons I’ve learned.
2018 is now almost over. I recently read a letter to myself from a year ago. In a number of ways things are exactly the same as it was and I initially had some thoughts that perhaps I’m not where I thought I’d be. My path has twisted and turned in ways I didn’t envision. But I’m here. And that’s what matters. I’m here and making the most of it. This time of year is a time of reflection for me. And maybe I haven’t done or accomplished the things I wrote about, but I’ve certainly done a lot of other things. Perhaps the reason I feel not a lot has changed since this time last year is because over time I’ve adjusted. Humans are good at adjusting. The year has been long but felt so short. I have grown so much. It has been a year of change and a year of new. New people, new experiences, starting Uni. Entering adulthood and a new phase of my life where I was pushed to be further independent and challenge myself in pretty much every aspect of my life. Maybe some things haven’t changed too much but I am in a completely different place now, and I can have the opportunity to work on things and approach old goals again in a new light.
I don’t think I have ever worked as hard as I worked this year and I can’t express enough how rewarding it is. In my eyes if I’m not going to do the absolute best I can then there’s not a lot of point in doing it at all. However, there were times during this year when I felt a little lost. Almost stuck in the cycle of working hard. Trying to work hard at everything all at once. Schoolwork, my job, and my social life. Burning the candle at both ends (or more). Too often I try to push myself too hard in order to tread carefully around everyone and everything. Trying too hard to please people. To be perfect. But maybe it’s not because I feel the expectations of perfection from other people, but from myself. I am a perfectionist and I expect only the best from myself. But doing my best doesn’t equal perfection. And doing my best doesn’t mean doing the best for everyone around me, it means doing the best for myself. Which means I can’t push myself to breaking point just to please people. It also means I can’t have this perspective of: ‘I can’t be happy unless things are perfect’. I’ve come to disagree with myself. I no longer think that’s true. Moments of imperfection are perhaps the most important. They push you to be better and also create a clearer sense of self. I’m still me. Through perfection and imperfection, I will always still be me.
I learned this year that I can’t rely on other people for happiness. It’s on me. I am completely and entirely responsible for my own happiness. I was excited for this year so I was looking at it in a far more positive light than I was looking at, say, last year. I can’t express enough how important perspective is. We harness so much power within a conscious mind. We can choose so much of what and how we see, feel and experience life. I am in control of how I choose to experience my life. I think that is one of the most important lessons I learned this year.
I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve had this year. I am grateful for the experiences that have pushed me. I have grown more than I can know by just looking in the mirror. There were moments when I felt like I almost didn’t recognise myself. Moments when I didn’t feel like me. But I am constantly evolving and changing and I can’t expect to be the same person I was last year, last month or even last week. I suppose it’s like when you don’t realise the grass is growing until its too long. There were times I felt lost. But I always remain faithful that I will be grow into myself again and that I will find my way back onto the right path. I always do. I spent so much of this year incredibly happy and I couldn’t expect to have a ‘perfect’ year without any lows to accompany the highs. But I have learned from them. Every wrong decision is still a lesson learned and a right one in the end. I can’t know what is right for me unless I first know what is wrong. If I hadn’t have said yes I wouldn’t have known that I should have said no. I learn that lesson over and over. Maybe I say yes too much but what if for now, I don’t. I will always be just as grateful for the lows as I am for the highs. After all, it’s hard to truly appreciate what happiness feels like if you don’t experience sadness (or anything else for that matter). Everyone I met, everything I did and everything that happened to me are things that made me. I would not be who I am while writing this had I not experienced all of it, and I will be eternally grateful for that. I am grateful for the new people I have met, for the old friends who stuck around, for a family who endlessly supports me and for everyone else who has pushed me to become someone I am proud to be.
2018 has been a truly memorable year filled with all sorts of things I could never have imagined happening, yet looking back it all makes sense. Thank you 2018, for all the fun times, and I look forward to greeting 2019 with open arms to welcome so many more.