2018. I had some success, but it was clearly not my best year. Far from it in fact. For all I achieved between internships, research projects, a double major, and cherished memories and friendships… that momentum isn’t going to get me anywhere without getting rid of the failure of the year. I’m an advocate for plans going slightly awry, but there’s a fine line between embracing mishaps and pattern behavior.
So as the hours tick down towards the end of this rocky year, I am promising myself I am not doing this again. Instead of setting goals, it might be more realistic for me to just try not to make the same mistakes. We’ll see if I make any progress with this new method in 2019.
Changing my location will not fix everything.
This was the first and most important lesson I got out of the last year. I thought by spending a second semester abroad, I would be able to get away from the insecurities I left behind in the US. Europe and an escape into the unknown was surely the answer to the emotional baggage that couldn’t fit in my suitcase, and by that logic, could not follow me across the Atlantic.
I quickly learned that it can all travel with you and then some, even as you’re conveniently unaware on the other side of the world. That’s how I realized self-image problems don’t get resolved in the shade of palm trees with exotic backdrops, and your sense of worth doesn’t get redefined by how many free drinks you’re able to score off of foreign men.
I now know I have to take a hard look in the mirror and set an example for myself before the next disruption, whether it be the start of my last semester, my graduation or my first job. And it doesn’t matter if I move back home or end up in California by this time next year. I need to reset my values, my goals, everything right here, right now. If I don’t, then it will just follow and fester into something else with new scenery.
I’m done with the illusion of change.
I need to stop wasting my own time.
I’ve decided it’s no longer enough for me to know that I am worth more, I need to start acting like it too. I can’t keep responding to my friends when they give me that speech year, after year: “He’s a fuckboy,” “He’s not going to change,” “He’s wasting your time…” The. List. Goes. On. I ended up sounding like a broken record playing Carrie Fisher in When Harry Met Sally “ You’re right, you’re right, I know you’re right.”
Even with that in the back of my head, I instead would give into the fantasy of thinking he’s different this time, or the real trap of “I’ve fucked him before, why not again?” I clearly have watched either too many romantic comedies or not enough reruns of Sex and the City. My friends who have stuck with me after every batch of self-destructive behavior followed by the spiral of guilt and regret… we all deserve a long overdue reprieve from that disaster.
I’m going to have to lose in order to win.
And how do we get there? Standards. I’ve been missing them for years now. The important note here is they should be sober standards, not just free from inebriation, but also the adrenaline rush that comes from the thrill of impulsivity. Do I want a relationship? Eventually, yeah. Sooner rather than later, actually. This whole single thing was fun and everything until it wasn’t… so yes, I guess I do want a relationship. Or something that is at least exclusive?
That is the art of failing at negotiations with myself, the very definition of appeasement that needs to end. I stopped seeking out gentlemen callers for most of 2018. Now begins the very painful process of not answering phone calls, text messages, and worst of all Snapchats after midnight. Gotta draw the line in the sand somewhere and that time is now. Does that mean I’m probably going to end up a born-again virgin for what feels like at least the third time? We’ll I’ve done it before, and the stakes were lower, so in the name of love for myself, I’m setting some damn standards and following them.
Holistic self-care and repeat.
I need to keep investing in myself. In this world, there are few things in life that are entirely yours. Aside from your body, one happens to be your degree, and the other is your career. With the grace of God, I’m aiming to be set for both in May and the only way I’m getting there is if I’m selfish. I found that throughout this last year, I was always trying to give when I had not the time nor the energy to do so and it cost me. I can’t be there to put out everyone else’s fires when I have to take care of my own. The next five months are the last I’ll have before the rest of forever, and I need to be replenished before then. I don’t mean that in an indulgent way. I’m thinking less wine, more water; less Netflix, more bestsellers. It means continuing to surround myself with the right people who push me to be a better version of myself. You’ve heard the saying your body is a temple, well I believe that we are all an investment of what we value. My 2019 will value sleep, sanity, and most of all success.
And finally, I’m done wondering “what if.” I overanalyze everything. But now it’s time to accept that things happen, the consequences exist in that moment, and then it’s time to move on. I can’t keep replaying what lead to my all-nighter for an essay thirty times in my head, nor the multifaceted reasons of why a bitch just gave me a look. It happened, and it’s done. Even the things that have an impact on your future, like where would I be if I had tried just a little harder in high school or chosen a different major. It’s too late to turn back now and it’s just wasting time trying to map out a different course. The pieces fell were they did and it’s time to figure out where this is leading me next. These mistakes were plenty in 2018 and all that’s left to do with them is learn and better myself from here on out.