Obligatory New Year’s Reflection

If you’ve been on the Internet at all in the past few days, chances are you’ve seen hordes of people reflecting on how 2017 went for them and making ambitious resolutions for 2018. While I believe that self-reflection is important, I think we should take the time to do it throughout the year and get rid of the societal pressure to reinvent ourselves every January. Additionally, not every year has to be glorified or antagonized. Some you just need to get through the 12 months and experience what’s necessary in order to close a certain chapter of your life and move on to better things.

For me, 2017 was one of those average years. 2014 wasn’t the best for me. 2015 was mind-numbingly empty. And 2016… well, it was new and exciting and held moments that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. But 2017 was different from all of those. It didn’t have anything that really stood out, but it wasn’t as depressingly empty as 2015 was for me. It wasn’t all change and excitement, but it wasn’t comprised of a bunch of lows either. I think it was a transition year, especially given what 2018 has in store for me.

I’ll be completely honest. For the past month or so I’ve been absolutely dreading the first 8 months of 2018. For me, my real fresh start wasn’t on January 1st, 2018. It’ll be in September when I’ll be heading off to start my first year of university. And even though I’ll still be living at home, it will be completely different and new. I know it’s going to be challenging and terrifying and anxiety-inducing, but I’m also really freaking excited. It just seems agonizing to keep waiting for that completely blank slate.

But I’ve recently come to my senses and realized that I can’t wait around for 8 months so I can have a fresh start. Not only is that a huge waste of time, I’ll be going into September with a really distorted mindset and unrealistically high expectations. So, right here, right now, I’m taking a pledge to make January to August 2018 an amazing eight months. Because yes, my second-semester classes aren’t particularly exciting, I’ll go crazy waiting to hear from schools I’ve applied to, and I’ll probably lose motivation exponentially faster as graduation approaches, but it doesn’t mean I have to have a bad time. I just have to focus on other aspects of my life.

My Goals for (the first two-thirds of) 2018

I’m constantly saying this, New Year’s reflection or not, but I’m going to take time to really focus on my writing during this vast expanse of eight months. But this time around, I actually don’t know what that entails, specifically. Before 2016, I always said I wanted to be a writer, but I never actually wrote anything outside of school assignments. Then I joined CelebMix and Fuzzable, and it opened some sort of floodgate. And now that I’m currently taking a creative writing class, I’ve been exposed to a whole bunch of new forms of writing that I found new passions for. So in 2018, I don’t want to force myself to write anything in particular. I do need structure and plans when it comes to writing, but I’m going to keep the content and medium open-ended. I guess I’ll just see where it takes me.

My Writing Journey (So Far)

Also throughout these eight months, I think I need to focus on understanding and working on myself a bit more. I sometimes feel like I lack an identity or individuality. I want to get to know myself more, get to the root of who I really am. Things like knowing my personal strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, values, goals, dreams, fears. This probably either sounds overly simple or really narcissistic, but I think having that foundation is really important and will help me stay true to myself when I get a fresh start later on in 2018.

And while we’re on the subject of taking care of myself, I should probably be kinder to my body in the upcoming year. With warmer weather on the way, I’ll hopefully have more motivation to start exercising again. I actually completely forgot about this, but in July and August of 2017 I actually went out jogging multiple times a week. It was challenging and tiring, to say the least, but I always felt so good about it afterward. I felt like I was taking care of myself. In terms of eating, maybe I’ll try exercising a little more self-control and restraint, especially when it comes to my impulsive and reckless sweet tooth.

Of course, there are so many other things I want to do in 2018. So, for lack of a better format, I’ll just list some of them here. I want to read more books, go to concerts, plays, or musicals, discover even more music, do something interesting with my hair, and pick up my ukulele again. And probably a bunch more that I’m forgetting!

What Went Down in 2017

We’ve gotten slightly off track, haven’t we? I still need to reflect on 2017. Like I said before, there were no earth-shattering events for me in 2017. But there were still some noteworthy moments. In terms of school, I pulled through under challenging circumstances at three points throughout 2017. All three times I was buried in assignments and exams, with more projects and tasks being thrown on the pile day after day. It was extremely stressful and frankly, not great for my mental health. But I took what was in my control and made the best of it. I planned and worked and improvised and pulled myself together until everything got done. Despite my serial procrastinating, I made it out the other side all three times, and I’m proud of myself for that.

As for writing, like I said, I fell off track in the last 6 months of the year, especially on CelebMix. One of those intense school assignment avalanches in June completely destroyed my motivation to do anything, and it kind of stuck for the rest of the year. But I’m proud of the number of exclusives I did on the site in 2017, especially given that they were completely out of my comfort zone in 2016. I even interviewed a couple people I’m fans of, which is just so cool and surreal. Also, here on Fuzzable, I’m proud that I managed to write a monthly blog for 10 out of 12 months. They challenged me and pushed me to think of new ideas, and I’m planning on keeping them up in 2018. Like I mentioned earlier, I also managed to branch out a little and do some creative writing in the latter half of 2017. It’s fun and fulfilling in a different way than journalistic writing or blogs are, and I want to explore more of that as well in 2018.

In 2017 I actually got out of the house a little more! Well, minus the last week. I’ve been holed up in my room either napping, staving off a sugar craving, or trying to write something. In 2017, I got my first job, and I actually really liked it. It gave me a sense of direction and accomplishment, and I really felt like I belonged there. This past year I made many trips into Toronto, becoming better acquainted with the city and actually falling in love with it. I went to my first concert (Oh Wonder), went to my first musical (Grease) and went to a few nice meals in the city as well. In the summer, I went on vacation with my family to our usual spot a few hours north of the city, and even though we got rained on for most of our time there, we got a few nice sunsets out of it. And I visited Ottawa, which was a completely new experience for me. It was a trip with many memorable and enjoyable moments that made me even prouder to be Canadian.

Me having tea with the Famous Five on Parliament Hill, Ottawa

In a more general sense, in 2017 I learned that I’m not good at letting go of things, people, situations, etc. When I’m comfortable in a certain situation, I feel the need to hold on to it. Even when it’s clear that it’s over, that I need to move on to other things, that something ending will only benefit me, I cling on to it for as long as possible. I haven’t quite gotten to the root of that yet, (that’s what my “getting to know myself” resolution is for) but it definitely manifested itself in various instances over the course of 2017.

I talked more about what I did in 2017 in my Year in Pictures post if you want to read more!

Well, I’ve probably rambled on long enough. This was my end of the year reflection for 2017 and some goals for 2018. This post lacked direction or a dramatic climax, but I think that’s representative of the year itself for me. Mish-mashed, a little wayward, a mixed bag of emotions, but ultimately something I sat down and just did, and didn’t turn out half-bad.  

Did you reflect on 2017 or make goals for 2018? Share with us on Twitter @Fuzzable!

Written by Annemarie

Canadian arts & culture writer and journalism student.

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