2017: The Reflection Post

I think every writer has a voice in their head that tells them to write a New Year’s resolution/reflection blog. It allows them to be a bit reflective and nudge a little narcissism at the same time.

So, if you’ll indulge me a tiny bit…

If we cling onto yesterday, what can we hope to become tomorrow?

— Haikyu!! Ch.280

I re-read my 2016 year-end post and was kind of surprised to see that a lot of the changes I mentioned there are still ongoing. It doesn’t feel like it’s a bad thing, though: I always come to the conclusion that the year felt “weird,” but I think I should just resign to that feeling at this point.

2017 was about reassessing my priorities. I started it with no job, and no idea what I wanted to do. I was kind of desperate. I needed to find work, and fortunately I did. Working for Evil Geniuses has taught me a lot about myself; despite wanting to get away from the weird sleep schedules of journalism, I’ve felt pulled back to that by a new challenge. Thankfully, it’s been more accommodating that journalism was, and I’ve been able to find better balance.

After finding that stability and paying off my student loans, things felt a bit… off. Suddenly, I had no goal to strive for; up until then, the main driving force in my life was “get a job so you don’t fuck up financially,” and without a looming threat of growing interest, I felt lost. Work has defined me and my self-esteem (and still does, sadly), and I felt myself questioning if this “was what life was, now.”

Through continuing therapy, I’ve been able to come up with an informal list of what’s important to me right now. I’ve placed a greater emphasis on developing deep friendships, because I’ve found that I made the mistake of ignoring them in favor of making sure I was financially stable. A lot of what I’m doing right now is trying to refocus; it’s harder as you grow older to meet new people who want to spend energy on you, and it’s been weird trying to figure it out.

Also, this year was realizing how much my junk food diets hurt me. This isn’t just literal junk food — a lot of things, from my friendships to relationships to the things I watch or consume, were just merely “satisfying,” but not healthy.

A loud example is this content loop of going from Twitter to Instagram to Snapchat to Reddit to imageboards in my free time. By the time I’ve reached the end of the line and run out of stuff to see, there’s new content at the beginning. This leads to a lot of wasted time: not the kind where you binge a show and still feel entertained at the end, but where you’re actively thinking “Christ, what am I doing with my life.”

This is a major sticking point for me; I’ve known this is something that needs to go for a long time, but it’s just now starting to become easier. Just being able to close windows while realizing that I’m not missing anything important has been a very recent and freeing thing. Still, I can feel myself resist that change, mostly because it’s a “I have something comfortable (even if it’s shitty) now; I don’t want to end up disappointed, with nothing” anxiety. It’s the moment-of-weakness pizza you order and eat entirely when you’ve had a hard day. You still feel like shit after, but for that moment it’s what you need.

A lot of people will tell you that’s an unhealthy way of looking at things, and they’re right. But that’s how brains push back against change.

But that change is happening, and I’m happy that it is, and I’m happy it’s on my terms. I’m embracing new habits when I can see why they’re needed, and I’m getting to the point where I’m realizing loops like that are actively hurting me.

It’s a weird existential moment, but I’m more comfortable pondering “what really matters to me?” without getting lost overthinking what I’m not, and where I’ve failed to change in the past.

I talked to a friend yesterday who said that you can’t announce the changes you want to make in your life, since their encouragement will make you feel good and kill your willpower. While that’s probably true, writing about what I’m doing is therapeutic for me, and I’d like to keep sharing what I’ve been up to with you.

I mention this because I truly think I took back my writing style from what it was before. Looking to last year’s post again, I noticed that I wrote really safe and robotic; it was harder to see “me” in that post, and it’s been something I’ve been looking to correct.

Like what I mentioned above, it’s largely a fear thing, where I’m hesitant to step out of my zone, even if it’s in the name of being genuine. I have some paranoias about Internet mobs and other dumb shit that I’m working to get over; I’m scared of that “one ‘wrong’ opinion” that derails everything I’ve built for myself, even though I know I’m not a particularly controversial person. Part of why I’m being more open and candid in these recent posts is to try to break that conditioning. In reality, most people don’t care.

At this point, I don’t have much to hide — anyone who wants to hire me or work with me knows that I deal with some pretty harsh mental stuff. I’d like to think that my work makes up for it. Accepting that it’s a part of me and accepting that I want to help people going through the same thing are things that I need to embrace more. And I’m going to.

If I’m going to announce anything — and therefore jinx it — it’s that I want to genuinely try this year.

Not that I wasn’t before, but I want to try in a different way; I want to find passion in the things I’m doing, and I want to want to try, if that makes sense. I want to approach things with zeal. I want to push harder.

We’ll see how that goes. For now, thanks for reading. See you in 2018.

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