Reflecting on 2020: Life

Despite the trials and difficulties of 2020, I was lucky and had many positive moments throughout the year. The coronavirus has made the year hard on everyone, and, although my family members were able to keep their jobs and managed not to contract the virus, it made aspects of the year difficult for us too.

The biggest difficulty was being unable to physically connect with family to support them during difficult times. We had a death in the family in 2020 (unrelated to corona) that deeply affected everyone; but because the person passed in March when air travel was at a standstill and countries’ borders were closed, we were unable to travel back to Jamaica to be with family there, to emotionally support them and to be emotionally supported. We had to do it from afar, often over Zoom and WhatsApp, which weren’t often the best substitute.

The downside here is that corona kept us apart when we wanted to be closer; but, in some ways, it made us closer. Due to the death in the family and restrictions to travelling, my family began to connect more. Instead of calling each other every now and then, we formed a WhatsApp group that allowed us to quickly share news, encourage each other, and even joke around. There was a lot more chatter between us.

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Reflecting on 2019: Life

2019 was a good year. 😀

I saw and did many amazing things and reached goals I thought I wouldn’t. I am proud, glad, and grateful for all I did and accomplished in 2019 and am thankful for all the help I received.

My word for 2019 was Movements, a simple word but it drove everything I did. 2019 was about making significant progress in the things and areas I wanted improve. And I did exactly that. Unfortunately, at times my blog was neglected as other parts of my life became more busy, but I will be back on track in this new year.

I’m so happy with myself right now. 🙂 It’s been a while since I’ve felt this way, so I intend to relish every moment of this feeling. In fairly recent past years (lol I find that whole phrase funny), I’ve been through personally trying times: moments of deep sadness, anger, and worthlessness. Blogging and reading helped to distract me and prevent me from wallowing in such dark feelings. And sometimes I’d get lucky and stumble on books that were centered on exactly what I was feeling, experiencing, tackling. The book that stands out the most at this moment is Pema Chödrön’s Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better, which I’ve mentioned and recommended many times, especially to those going through a difficult period. That book was very helpful in making me change my internal dialogue and push on through such dark moments.

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Reflecting on 2018: Life

Believe it or not, self-discipline is something I still need to work on. 2018 was dedicated to improving my self-discipline, but I stated the goal and immediately forgot about it. I did try to curb my appetites and refrain from overindulging in things I love, but I wasn’t very successful. I was unable to prevent myself from succumbing to immediate gratification and my bank account often hurt because of it.

Looking forward, I plan to continue working on my self-discipline in 2019. My progress is slow, but I made small achievements toward the later part of 2018 and I’d like to build on them and go further in 2019. However, self-discipline will not be my theme for 2019. Instead, 2019 will be about making major Movements — that is, taking leaps that I’ve been fearful of to achieve my topmost goals.

I foresee, well, hope, that by the end of 2019 I will have achieved at least 2 of my topmost goals, which are huge goals that I’m anxious about. I don’t know what I’ll do with myself once I’ve achieved them.

So, cheers to making major Movements in 2019!

Happy New Year,

Z

Reflecting on 2017: Life

Every new year morning, before I roll out my bed, brush my teeth, or talk to anyone, I grab my computer and make a long journal entry where I reflect on all I did in the past year. I reflect on what I accomplished, what I failed, and what I hoped for. As I mentioned in this Weekend Reads post, I usually do this while my family is at church. I see this as a spiritual process though it does not involve church, and it helps me to see how much I’ve developed over the year and assess what areas need further improvement.

I’ve only been doing this for a few years now, probably since 2012 when I started making one-word goals for the year, and it has benefited me well. By reflecting on the past, these journal entries give me perspective on the future. At the end, when I’m mentally and physically spent from all the writing and reflecting, I’m left with is a single word that becomes my goal for the upcoming year.

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Reflecting on 2016: Life

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.

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Reflecting on 2015: Life

I think it was the year after college, when I secured a job, that I started giving themes to my years. I felt so lucky when I got that job in 2012. I was stressed because the meagre pay from my internship was not enough to cover my student loan bills. But when the new year came, I was blessed with a salaried job and I was happy. The theme for that year was Hope. Hope that things would continue to improve and they did.

My theme for 2015 was Improve. Though my professional life had improved in 2014, my personal one wasn’t where I wanted it to be by the end of that year so I decided that 2015 would be about improving all facets of my life, especially my health and relationships. I can’t say I was overall successful, but I made an effort and have made progress in my attempts to improve. However, I made mistakes along the way.

And though those mistakes hurt because of how harshly I sometimes berate myself, they caused me to reflect on my habits and note where further improvement is needed. They also alerted me to things I need to let go. I’ve realized that often things aren’t as bad as I think they are and going back to where I started doesn’t always mean to regress. Sometimes returning to that starting point is a progress. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Realizing these points have made me alter my goals some. I have changed, more than I realized, since graduating college but I still carried the hang-ups and goals I had since then. I definitely want to drop those hang-ups and loosen the hold of old goals that are no longer needed. My situation has changed. I have changed and so too my goals.

At first my theme for 2016 was going to be something like “Act Smarter” because I’m still smarting from my mistakes. But I think for 2016 my theme will be a phrase:

It’s all a matter of perspective.