Since getting my first job in 2012, I started assigning themes to my new year. For 2012, the theme was Hope because with getting a job, I hoped that my circumstances would improve and I would be able to manage my student loan payments. I forgot what the theme was for 2013, but for 2014 it was Progress. I wanted to build on what I attained in 2013 and continue to move forward.
For 2015, I wanted to Improve. I did well professionally in 2014, but not so great in my personal life. I needed to improve my health, relationships, and finances, and though I tried, I failed miserably in some areas and by the time 2016 rolled around, I was so angry with myself that I constantly berated myself for my failures. By reading Pema Chödrön’s Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better, I learned that such internal dialogue isn’t healthy and that failures can help us to improve. Sometimes they are blessings in disguise, but it’s all a matter of Perspective, which was the theme for 2016.
Changing my perspective on things or simply taking a step back and considering circumstances from a different angle has greatly helped me in 2016. Many of the hang-ups and heavy goals I carried with me since college fell away in 2016 because when I took a closer look at them, I realized that I didn’t want those things anymore. It made me feel lighter and allowed me to focus my attention elsewhere.
The huge mistake in 2015 that made me feel like the biggest, stupidest failure in the universe was rectified in 2016. Actually, I’m still working on it and am two months from completion, which makes me immensely proud of myself. I also realized in 2016 that I need to start doing things that make me happy, things that I really want to do.
Friends and family members always have suggestions for what I should be doing and how I should enjoy myself, but no one has ever asked me what I want to do or considered that the things I like are fun, like attending a book conference. So in 2016 I considered my life and decided to take everyone’s advice to start enjoying myself and I did so by attending events that everyone I know believe to be boring but were fun for me. And I plan to continue doing so in 2017, even if I have to go alone (because I really don’t know anyone IRF who’re interested in the same shit I like).
So my theme for 2017 will be Persevere. I suspect it was the forgotten theme of that mysterious year, 2013; but I need to Persevere so I can continue to improve and attain the goals I do want to reach. I’m not good at staying focused so I usually give up on my pursuits halfway in the chase when I get distracted by something new and shiny. I’d like to see things through to the end because the few times I’ve done so, I felt immensely happy with myself and felt a great boost of self-confidence.
So Persevere. That’s what I’ll do for 2017.
Happy New Year.