It’s hard to start this kind of post without the usual cliches; 2019 was a bit of a year of growth and getting to know myself, and I’ll say that I probably ended up in the positive when it comes to me as a person, even though I don’t feel it at the moment.
In 2019 I traveled to somewhere I’ve always wanted to go, alone, and made my own path in terms of my plans and how I executed them. I learned a lot about myself in the process, but ended up having one of the most positive experiences in my life. I end up thinking about and missing Japan daily, and I want to be able to go back, if only to recapture the feeling of being able to chase what I wanted to do, and feeling like I was in control of how I was at that very moment.
This year I realized that I have a good ability to just do things, rather than needing a ton of time to mentally or physically prepare; people have commented to me on things that “must have been difficult”, and there’s this weird feeling of disconnect as I think “it needed to be done, so it might as well have been done as soon as possible.”
This year I ended up internalizing a lot of the work that myself and my therapist have been trying to do for a long while. I realized that I was using streaming and doing my own content as a crutch to avoid forming connections with people. I realized I was throwing myself into work in order to avoid working on the things I really needed (but were difficult to change). I realized I was looking for things from my coworkers and work environment that I should have been finding elsewhere — this kind of accelerated the burnout and frustration that led me to leave.
This year I realized I didn’t love myself. This year I realized that I wasn’t taking care of myself. This year I realized that I was probably a lot more talented than I was ever giving myself credit for. This year I realized that I was getting more sure of what I wanted out of myself and other people, even if I wasn’t always getting it.
This year I started building a comfortable home, and realized that I could afford to stay in it. I realized I wasn’t always under threat of moving (for work, or just a yearly move to a newer/cheaper building). I realized that it was okay to settle down and eliminate that source of stress for myself. I realized it was okay to pay a little bit more in rent if it meant getting more convenience out of it.
I think I realized more about the person I wanted to be, and it doesn’t feel so intimidating to try to get to that goal. That’s… strange to me, and I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s the feeling of not having the confidence to be in that space in the past, and it feeling a lot more natural now.
I fought with the feeling of not fitting into certain spaces. While half the time it was cause for automatic self-criticism and browbeating (bad habits), the other half started to become more about self-compassion. I realized that I’m the person I am despite (and not because of) a lot of trauma, and people failing me as I grew up; the desire to avoid using that as an excuse led me to try to discount it entirely.
And all of that (like, the whole post) is okay.
It’s okay because I’m learning from the negatives, and I’m continuing to move forward without giving up. Despite depressive periods that knock me on my ass for weeks, or times where I feel like I’m not making any progress, I’m still moving forward. I’ve made new friendships and maintained old ones with people that love me. I’ve realized that I can have better relationships with my family on my own terms. I’ve built a positive reputation for myself in my field. I help people from time to time.
With that in mind, I can say I’m satisfied with 2019. That’s better than usual.
Starting in 2023, more of my writing will be on Substack, with only certain, personal posts making their was to this site. Consider subscribing to support my work.
Amazon links on this post may be affiliate links to help support Matt.