Happy New Year! Welcome to what I hope is a much better year than last year. In all honesty, 2017 sucked. It started off great, then slowly went off the rails. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all black rain clouds but it wasn’t all sunny blue skies either.
I’ve started this recap, review, look ahead, whatever you want to call it, many times over the past few weeks. All of the turmoil of 2017 has been churning around in my brain, waiting to be birthed into something coherent and not completely depressing.
If there’s one word that would apply to 2017, that would be it, depressing or raw. Raw unadulterated emotion. That’s exactly what you wanted to hear in this 2018 look ahead, isn’t it?
But if there’s one thing I am, it’s honest. In spades. And I promised myself I’d be more vulnerable, share my stories, and put it all out there for all of you that may have had the exact same shitty ass year I did.
So here goes…
I felt like Frodo in Lord of the Rings battling good and evil. Except this battle was going on inside my head. And there was no ring, no ‘my precioussss.’ And there was no Samwise to tell me it’s alright, or you can do it, or get back up Mr. Frodo. Sure, I had family and a few friends, but I hardly revealed it all, feeling it was too much to burden someone else with. You never want to be one of those whiny, complainy, victim type friends, and that’s what I thought I’d be.
So I struggled mostly in silence.
After spending most of 2016 decompressing, attempting to search for a full-time job, battling my ex-employer, and traveling, I decided that 2017 would be my year to simplify more and to start my journey toward self-employment.
It was all golden opportunity and I was embracing it.
Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? It was. It was fantastic. It was all great in theory. But the one thing I couldn’t predict was the downward spiral into self-doubt and fear and the resulting bouts of depression I would face.
Sure, I had my mantras, my affirmations, and my gratitude practice. They were all there keeping me from sinking into a very dark abyss, but I still struggled.
One day would be fabulous. I’d be happy, full of purpose, and a writing machine. The next day, I doubted everything. And I mean everything. I’d compare, doubt I had anything valuable to say, and doubt the fact that I had anything meaningful at all to offer the world.
My emotions were so raw and strong. There were a few times I admitted to family I thought I was going crazy. None of it made sense to me. I was in a new place entirely and very little of life made sense.
Even though 2017 was tough emotionally, there was some good that came out of it:
- I discovered I’m capable of traveling with friends without driving them nuts, and it’s also super fun. I traveled to California with fellow solopreneur Karen from Makinthebacon.com for the Wild Hearts Weekend.
- I accepted the fact that you need time to decompress and heal – 2016 was decompress and 2017 was heal. You can’t rush healing your heart and mind.
- I realized that no matter how much wine you drink, nothing ever truly goes away. And in fact, you make the problem that much worse, spiraling yourself into depression. Facing your emotions – not avoiding them – is part of the healing process. I found my emotions to be much too raw and didn’t want to face them for most of the year. But when I did, amazing things started to happen.
- Overthinking life does not yield results. Instead, it results in fear, self-loathing, and inaction. I’m exhausted from thinking and taking action is now the order of the day.
- I once again learned the value of a hard-earned dollar. Earning minimum wage for a year brought me back to my college days when I had to carefully consider what I spent my money on. At the same time, I learned that its next to impossible to survive on minimum wage and I must earn more.
The most important lesson?
It’s okay to not be okay.
We all go through rough patches, setbacks, and tough times where it seems like one thing after the other goes completely wrong.
Sure, it sucks having an entire year go this way, but it happens.
Sometimes you have nothing. There’s no motivation. The creativity well dries up. And all of a sudden, you’re questioning everything.
You don’t have to be a pillar of strength all the time.
You are allowed to be vulnerable and not be judged for it.
You’re allowed to sob uncontrollably. There’s no law saying you have to bottle it all inside.
You are not weak for showing emotion.
You are not a failure for having a bad year.
All of this and more is how we grow.
2017 was a tumultuous year of self-loathing followed by self-love. I experienced every possible emotion. I felt lost, confused, lacking in clarity, depressed, sad, happy, doubtful, inadequate, confident, then not so confident. I had thoughts like:
Why can’t I find direction?
What do I want to do with my life?
What is my gift, my passion, my thing that I can monetize and make a career?
Who am I again?
It’s interesting that although you may firmly know what you don’t want, trying to figure out what you do want minus those variables is hard. I know I don’t want to go back to corporate, so what do I do? There’s so much I’m interested in doing that I believe it messed me up. I want to do it all. But, I forced myself to make a decision and go with it. You can always pivot or change if it doesn’ t work out, right?
There’s a quote from Connor Franta’s Note to Self that sums up 2017 for me:
“sometimes the quiet ones are yelling on the inside.”
That was my truth for 2017. I was doing a lot of yelling and very little listening. And I’m a good listener, so go figure. I spent too much time yelling at myself for not having it all figured out, for not having the next step lined up, and for rejecting the logical next step. And the next logical step would have been going back to corporate and finding a job. But every fiber of my being kept screaming, ‘please don’t do that, you’ll die.’
Collectively, my intuition, my body, my soul, my inner guide knew it: you’ll die if you go back to corporate.
After all, I had already been dying slowly and it wasn’t pretty. It was ugly. It’s not something that any human should have to witness themselves doing – killing themselves slowly.
So, the yelling carried on and battles ensued within my psyche. It was a good versus evil thing. The only saving graces were gratitude, affirmations, and my focus on simplicity. They’re the only things that kept a small glimmer of positivity going.
It’s hard when you spend a year beating yourself up; trying to convince yourself that you can do it, only to turn around and convince yourself in the next moment that you can’t.
I spent 2017 fighting the battle against fear and self-loathing and fighting self-imposed thoughts that I’m a failure. As a result, I’ve come out the other side better equipped to heal faster and love myself more.
All of this self-loathing took a turn and blossomed into rebuilding quality rituals in my life and quality thoughts. I started thinking new thoughts, cleared out the crap, and installed new rituals. I grew tired of the old negative destructive thoughts and wanted everything to be positive again.
Keeping life simple means positive thoughts, not wasting time and energy on the negative.
While I was reflecting on 2017, I asked myself: Why would I do this to myself? Why would anyone spend a year beating themselves up?
I wanted to understand how I reached this point.
And you know what? I don’t know and maybe I’ll never know. It just happened. I mean, no one enjoys being depressed and drifting listlessly. None of us purposely sets out to spend a year loathing our very existence. Sometimes it just happens.
So here we are at 2018. Rebuilding myself and life. Starting all over again. A reset. A reboot. A fresh start that I had the best of intentions of doing at the beginning of 2017, but never really happened.
Intentions for 2018
The theme for 2018 is simplify and rebuild.
As I’m still recovering from 2017, I decided not to put excess pressure on myself to come up with some insane list of goals. I’ve done that to myself before and failed miserably. One year, I came up with 34 goals and completely floundered. The lesson? Well, I learned that humans can only focus on one thing at a time.
I’m okay with it. Rome wasn’t built in a day and rebuilding your life from the ground up definitely won’t take a day.
I have a lot of work ahead of me. I must rebuild all my good habits that I once had in place. All those strategies I had for keeping my mind focused and clear need to be put back in place.
The healing has begun and I once again have purpose and direction in my life. Who knows, it may or may not be the right direction but I’m going down the path I’ve chosen and seeing where it leads me.
The plan for 2018 is to expand, rebuild, create more for you, and to get back to my normal blogging schedule. After losing my Grandmother this year, and seeing the resulting impact it had on my dad, I feel as though I’ve aged exponentially and wonder whether that’s where all my strength went. It’s as though I transferred everything I had to my dad and forgot to take care of myself. This year I also became very aware of the fact that my parents are getting older, and I may lose one of them soon. That hit home a lot harder than I’d like to admit. A lot of my energy goes to helping my dad care for my mother.
But aside from all of this, there are days when I feel incredibly inspired, happy, strong, and blessed.
Struggle makes us stronger. It builds character. We are all meant to live an amazing life blessed with love and happiness. I hope this new year brings you many moments of joy, happiness, love, self-acceptance, and health. I am grateful for each and every one of you. Every one of you that kept visiting, reading and commenting, even when my posting schedule may have changed a little. You all put a smile on my face.
So for 2018, let’s rebuild and simplify together. And I promise to you, that I’ll do my best to share as much as I can because no one is an island.
We’re all in this together.