When my gaze is directed forward thinking about the future, I tend to forget the achievements I’ve accomplished so far. As I reflect on the past year alone, I feel as if I’m looking back at someone else’s life. All the career advancements, creative endeavors, community involvement, and personal growth took leaps forward in Year 23, yet I feel like I need to do more. I need to out do myself and strive higher. With this internal need to always keep growing in all aspects of my life, I am itching to see what I’ll get done in Year 24. Watch out, because I’m only just blossoming into who I’m meant to be. My stem is reaching higher towards the sun, and my petals are more eager than ever to float away to new territory.
Self-reflection into another year has got me thinking about the complexities of myself, such as the spectrum of my feminine and masculine energies, my soft heart yet tough resilience, my strength to speak up when needed and ability to be silent as I listen to others. All of this and more can be reflected through my self-expression, most strikingly through how I present myself. My body is my canvas, and as a creative I will take any chance I can get to challenge my creativity. Through my body, I can explore and play with the intricacies of my complexity, whether it’s through clothing, jewelry, makeup, hair styles, body language, behavior, or even how much space I take up (or don’t take up). I used to feel so stuck feeling like I could only present myself in one manner, and stick to one style or only like doing certain activities and hobbies. But how limiting and restricting is that? Allow yourself the freedom to learn more about you through play. Learn what you like and don’t like. Evolve through this exploration, and continue learning, because you should never allow yourself to stop growing.
These past 23 years have been a wild ride, and as I enter Year 24, I want to share with you some lessons I’ve learned along the way and promises I hope to take with me into this new age:
23 LESSONS FROM YEAR 23: PROMISES TO MYSELF
- What is for you, will be for you. What is not for you, is not meant for you. Rejection will lead you towards a better path. Learn from it, and embrace what’s to come.
- Don’t let your past hurts haunt you and dictate your present-day experiences. Acknowledge them, appreciate the lessons learned, grow from the pain. But you are not the same womxn last year, last month, yesterday. You are ever-growing. Don’t keep looking back because you won’t be present for what is in front of you.
- Keep your heart soft.
- Know what you will and will not allow in your life.
- Own up to your mistakes. Reflect, and apply that lesson moving forward.
- It is okay to not feel okay. You do not always have to be at 100% at all times of the day. Acknowledge your feelings, and learn how to care for yourself.
- Don’t let thoughts fester in your head. Pour them onto paper. And maybe let the world peek into your mind by sharing. They might need some healing too.
- Stay curious and connect with new people. Ask questions people don’t typically ask.
- Take time to invest in your physical health. It actually helps.
- Engage in difficult conversations. Otherwise, how will you grow and expand your world view?
- Know how much work you can take on, and when to say no. Have time to recharge and reconnect with loved ones in between work.
- Don’t let outside noise influence your progression. Work on yourself. Feed yourself. Nurture yourself. Grow yourself. Then watch the riches, opportunities, and love flow your way. That is when you will be ready to receive rewards.
- You are not too emotional. They are made uncomfortable because they fear your passion.
- The way you present yourself is for you, not for the comfort or convenience of others. Keep your hair unconventionally short (“for a girl”) if you want. Wear baggy clothes. Wear less clothes. Throw on sneakers. Rock those heels. Gender binary, who?
- Be comfortable with unforeseen changes and adapt with the new challenges that arise. Strengthen your skill at improv, you’ll be less uptight and less stressed when you go with the flow.
- Save at least half of your paycheck into a savings account that you do not touch. You’ll have a comfortable amount of savings before you know it.
- Read voraciously. Everything and anything you are interested in.
- Be charitable, quietly. A dollar can make a difference for someone’s day. And look those who are homeless in the eye. Acknowledge their existence.
- Cut people out of your life if they no longer add value to your well-being. Do not feel bad, you are merely taking care of yourself.
- Regret what you did, not what you could have/ should have/would have done.
- Take tech breaks. Let the sunlight kiss your skin.
- Remember to give thanks for the good in your life, such as family, health, ability to be self-reflective, hunger for learning, a job, etc.
- Be proud of your personal growth. Your younger self would look up to you in awe of what you’ve become today.