I want to be more like Jessica Day in 2018
I’ll be honest, this is a blog post about New Year’s resolutions. I won’t ever call it that, but I’ll tip-toe around it, walking like and talking like a New Year’s resolution blog without ever admitting to being one. It’s a point of pride. Maybe I’ll work on pride in 2019.
But for now, as basic as it is, a look back on the love and lesson and light that poured into my life in 2017, and sends me into this new year perhaps less encouraged to change and more content to just be.
Numero Uno: Self-reflection is the only thing you have to get good at.
What a relief… in part. I guess a better title for this numero uno would have been “get good at knowing yourself,” because since self-reflection in itself is only open to judgement from oneself, who’s to say when you’re “good at it” or not. Too meta? Let’s move on.
If you would have asked me a year ago, hell even six months ago whether I had nailed self-reflection, I’d be all “yes, how do you turn it off?” I analyze and over-analyze. I’m a woman. I make connections where there aren’t any and read into things that are shallower than a puddle from a melted ice cube.
It took me 23 ½ years to realize that self-reflection is not situational. It’s about really understanding who we are. It removes the ability to point to someone else’s behavior as a reason for ours. It’s a sobering process, one that I believe continues a lifetime, but it’s also so so empowering. It reminds me that I have the power to feel, act, do, say whatever the hell I want. I can alter and evolve and fail and negotiate things about myself with me and me alone. Self-reflection is training yourself to stop looking outside of yourself for worth or answers and instead hold yourself accountable.
Next up: (these all are kind of related) When you understand yourself, other people are so much easier to be around.
I’m an introverted extrovert. I prefer to be with people, but like two people, not ten. People don’t recharge me, in fact they really wear me out. But as much as I love a good Netflix binge by myself, I crave close connections with good friends. This also translates to my desire for committed relationships. I’m very bad at surface-level interactions. I don’t excel at small talk or remember details of people I’ve met once. I rather have a politically-charged discussion with someone I truly dislike than talk about the weather with an acquaintance. BUT the more I learned about myself and how impossible I am to love (through self-reflection), my bar for friends, partners, parents and siblings, went way down.
I mean that in the best way possible. I think we all have expectations for how people should act or what they owe you, but more often than not, people fail to meet those expectations. And it’s rarely because they’re problematic people, but because the expectations are unreasonable.
When I realized how jealous and resentful and insecure I really am, and that a lot of the awful things I do are rooted in those emotions, I realized I have absolutely no room to judge anyone else. And this isn’t an excuse for myself or for anyone else to allow their issues to reign supremely, but instead a reminder to understand that we are all flawed.
3—Love is so much harder than getting into college.
There is literally no class that prepares you to love someone forever. And even if you’ve been practicing for years there’s not really any test that says “yup, you’re qualified to successfully love someone forever now.” Not to mention, every person you love requires different things. Colleges may have different essay questions, but to some degree you can copy and paste a bit. Not for love.
In the most cynical-sounding of ways, I know I will never be prepared to love someone as much as they deserve. I will fail them a thousand times. I know that no one will ever love me perfectly. I will be disappointed, frustrated and really hurt by them. There’s no person that I will ever truly love and be able to be myself with that will not do all of these things. The key is not giving up or letting the fact that you disappoint, frustrate and hurt them keep you from trying (see number one for how to self-reflect).
But to some degree (lol pun), this realization sort of takes the pressure off. I’m gonna screw up, you’re gonna screw up, so wanna do this forever? K cool.
4: Square pegs will want to give round holes advice and it will make you feel misshapen.
What works for someone will not always work for you. Someone’s standard of perfection or happiness or hell even healthiness can and mostly likely will be different than yours. We have a tendency to see ourselves in other people and then try very hard to relate. It’s natural. We all want to belong. So, when someone you really relate to finds happiness in something you don’t, it’s easy to think you’re doing it wrong. And even more so, it’s easy for them to think you’re doing it wrong. Listen to their advice, but make the decision on your own. I’ve seen some of my best friends thrive in jobs, cities, relationships, hairdos that I would absolutely loath. You do you boo boo. I’m do me cee cee.
5- You can be a girl who outwardly loves herself without overcompensating for something.
We’re all flawed (#2), but when you can recognize what needs work and know that the process and acknowledgment of that is enough, you’ll be golden. Yeah that realization gave me superpowers.
Here’s a bunch that are self-explanatory and don’t have sub-paragraphs because you’re tired of reading and I’m tired of typing.
6. Creating without the expectation of a final product is the most freeing and productive things I’ve ever done.
7. Always give second chances to others that you’ve already given to yourself.
8. Buy yourself fun stuff when you adult well.
9. Give yourself permission to feel the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows.
10. Find the balance between allowing others to be your teacher rather than your idol.
11. Try to live like Jessica Day.
She's just so who she is without caring what anyone thinks. She knows what she deserves and lets her freak flag fly. Role. Model.
Going into 2018, I don’t have a lot of concrete “resolutions." I do want to stop going on my Instagram explore page so much and be better at saving money. And I want to unsubscribe to spam emails that I hate and remember to bring my travel mug home at the end of the day so I don't end up with like 50 mugs at my desk. But really, I just want to be open to learning at least 11 more things by the end of the year.
May your 2018 be full of things that make you feel supremely you.