When people talk about the future, they usually go: “I’m afraid because I don’t know what’s gonna happen next.” Jumping into the unknown is scary.
As I close 2017, however, I’m afraid because I know exactly what’s in store for me next year.We’re finally getting married. After eight years of working in media, I’m entering a brand new phase in my career.
Basically, my life in 2017 revolved around these two milestones. I spent the year deciding, affirming, resolving, and getting things done, barely taking stock of my feelings, just to be in what I visualize as the best place for me when I hit my 30th year on earth.
On paper, I’ve managed all that. Still, I don’t feel successful or content. Cycling through everything I wrote and posted, both public and private, there are a lot of things ticked off — vacations and adventures, work highlights, time with family, really getting underway w/ planning the ceremony. In spite of my incessant worry, we’ve hit our milestones and targets and everything is ready to kick into high gear.
But it honestly feels the same as not knowing what’s next. It’s also about letting go of one’s comfort zones. It’s about putting your trust into something intangible and just wildly hoping for the best.
I’ve been more excited and cheerful about smaller prospects in the past. Now that it’s actual shit about to take place, I’m filled with doubt and fear.
This doesn’t mean I’m not thankful, or that I’m not trying to make myself as strong as possible, or that I’m not going to go through with all of this.
I’ve realized several things. First — you do get used to problems. This year, I really felt like I’ve become an adult just by counting the amount of “real world” problems I’ve dealt with. And as a grown up, problems don’t consume you or cripple you they way they used to anymore. And you don’t call them problems anymore, you call them life. You don’t call wins, wins — you call it getting the f*cking job done.
Journal writing in the morning has always been an important part of my day, but I realized that this year, it’s been doing me more bad than good, as I tend to spiral down into self-crippling thoughts even before I’ve left the house. I still need to write for myself, but it’s more conducive to do this at the end of a work day when I’ve finished stuff and feel more productive and positive about myself. (Does this mean that ‘Waketime Stories’ will henceforth be invalid?)
I acquired big material gains, but I’ve realized that it’s the non-material accomplishments that bring me lasting fulfillment. Being with my family. Having time for myself. Being able to clean my room and plan my day for errands as necessary. Little, seemingly insignificant things that make my heart glow because I get to do what I need to do.
I realized that there’s no such thing as a ready-made perfect job. Every opportunity will have its pros and cons. You choose the best option and you make the most of it. Circumstances will never align to what you’d exactly need, because real life is not college and work, by its very definition, is not about doing nothing and getting something. (Yet wise people have said, you can make your perfect job instead. I don’t believe in one perfect job. My project in 2018 is not to have the perfect job, but to be in a set-up where I’ll be as productive as I should be).
TL;DR: The older you get, the less you rely on definite highs and lows to measure your year’s success. Instead, you look at how true you stayed to your beliefs and values.
And no matter what the outside looks like, as long as inside, you’re certain that you haven’t strayed from who you are, then the journey should be all right.
So bring it on, 2018! I’m not ready but what the heck, let’s get on with it.
Photo by Benj Villena