I hope you all had a wonderful and fun holiday last weekend! I am working this week, and a bit woozy from the in-betweeness of the holidays right now, but I have a couple more blog posts I wanted to get out before the New Year, so let’s get started!
This past year has been a whirlwind of changes. Last week I was thinking about all that has happened in the last year and whether or not there was anything specific I’ve discovered about myself or life in general. Here’s a list of sorts of things I’ve come up with that I’ve “learned” in 2017 (because we’re all still learning, right?):
Expect the Unexpected
When 2017 started, I was working at a job that I didn’t really love, but wasn’t really planning to leave just yet. Three months into 2017, I was applying to graduate schools, and five months into the year I was started my Master’s in Library and Information Science program at The University of Arizona. If you had asked me on January 1st, 2nd, 3rd, (and so on) up until mid-February if I had planned on leaving my job to pursue my MA, I would have laughed and said no. Yet here we are! In this sense, I think it’s good to remind yourself that as cemented as things feel sometimes, everything really is all up in the air once you decide you want something different for yourself. Sometimes, the things that end up happening are the ones you were least expecting.
Be Okay With Uncertainty
Nothing in life is certain, and this was the first year I really had to grapple with that fact on a bigger scale. I think we can all say that those daily news alerts about major changes there were taking place (or about to) in the country were quite anxiety-inducing. For me, it kind of turned into a guessing game as to when was the time to freak out (the first ICBM missile launch? the second? Plus, how weird is it that we no longer give those updates a second glance, because we know now it’s just the person in charge having a fit on Twitter? Very weird.)
I haven’t mastered how best to approach dealing with unsettling news, but the only thing that I am getting better at is recognizing that nothing is for certain. In that way, I’m letting myself be less shocked when crazy things happen, and better able to approach things logically and not emotionally. There is a time and a place, and this year I think we all got to experience what it was like to feel exasperated and stressed by uncertainty. I don’t want that to follow me into the new year, so I’m still working on this.
Gratitude Lists Really Work
One of the ways I’ve been working on mindfulness lately has been making gratitude lists. Each day, usually in the evening as I’m winding down for bed, I make a list (mentally, but you can write it out, too) of ten things from that day that I am grateful for. You would be surprised at how incredibly relaxing this little mental exercise is! It instantly puts me in a calm mood because I’m focusing on things that I like, or that I’ve done for myself, and recognizing how those things made me feel. If you’re considering taking some steps to be more mindful in the new year, I can’t recommend gratitude lists enough! They. Work.
Do What YOU Like
When I look back on the last year, the times I was most productive were when I was working alone, taking extended social media breaks, and doing a lot of introspection (through meditation, exercising alone, bike riding, etc.). The times that I was surfing the web and different social media sites were the times when I had the most creative roadblocks, leaving me uninspired and restless. There is nothing wrong with seeing what projects other people are working on, and following up with their whereabouts, but it can be not-so-helpful when you personally are also working on creative projects of your own.
Keeping your head down and doing what you want will help you feel less inhibited by others, allowing you to slip into your zone and get the creative juices flowing. Like I said, my most productive days were those in which I was working alone and had the time and space to breathe and focus. That is rare and not everyone has the luxury to take time like that, which is why it’s important to make the time for it.
What Did You Learn This Year?
There are a ton of other things I feel like I learned this year, but these are the main ones that I wanted to write about. What are you hoping to learn in 2018? I am still deciding what my personal goals will be, and whether or not to make it a series on Words for Everything. Is that something you’d be interested in reading about? If so, please let me know in the comments and feel free to let me know anything else you’d be interested in seeing more of next year! 🙂
*all images via Pinterest – if you are the original owner and wish the image to be removed, please email me with a link to the post and I will certainly do so.