As 2017 ends, I imagine it’s normal to reflect and take stock of the past year. Perhaps it’s my way of measuring progress by asking myself, “what does my life look like compared to a year ago?”
Sometimes I feel like I haven’t accomplished much. I feel frustrated and sad at times. It feels like I haven’t made enough progress and I should have figured out what I want to do with my life by now. Have I not focused enough thought and effort in finding my life’s purpose or am I being too self-critical?
Overthinking and Overly Emotional
Part of my recent anxiety has come from overthinking. Thinking of an uncertain future and reflecting on what’s happened since getting laid off and moving back to New York. As much as I’ve learned to embrace uncertainty, I still find myself putting a time-frame and boxing myself into a schedule for figuring things out.
I don’t want my inner critic’s voice to get too loud or overpowering, but I’ve been feeling out of sync, out of alignment…in a mood of ups and downs. More irritated and annoyed or angry than just being content. I know I should just be thankful and that will help me be happier, but for some reason I’ve been getting in a funky mood. Confused, sad, worried and emotional. Maybe I’m just not happy with myself.
Putting Pressure on Myself
As a freelance project manager, the work hasn’t been consistent. If I looked solely at income, I could say that I wasn’t as successful as I would have liked. Maybe I’m putting more pressure on myself than necessary. Pressure to figure out my work situation and my life’s purpose within a certain time-frame. Pressure associated with the holidays and the feeling of sadness from the loss of loved ones that is common around this time of year. I have a tendency of worrying about what others think of me and perhaps that weighs on me too. Maybe I’m too concerned that people will judge me and my journey. All of this is keeping me from being present in the moment.
I can get on myself about the things I could have or should have done over the past 12 months. And, maybe those should haves and could haves can become goals for the new year. At the same time, I don’t want to minimize or overlook what I have done and accomplished.
My Life is Richer
I’ve come to realize that my life is richer because of my experiences this past year. The flexibility in my schedule and the gaps between work projects have given me a chance to fill my time doing things that I enjoy.
I have to remember to be kind to myself. Rather than focus on what I haven’t accomplished yet, I must give myself credit for what I have done and how far I’ve come in the past year. So, what does my life look like compared to a year ago?
2017 has been a year of travel…more than I ever have. I’ve traveled to Orlando, Chicago, Vancouver, Toronto and the Philippines. I did a road trip from New York to Atlanta to Cincinnati and back.
It’s been the year of meeting and/or reconnecting with family. I met relatives for the first time that I had only known through Facebook. Even though they’re family, in the past, I would have shied away from getting to know them. I became more open and in some cases, I initiated contact. I also reconnected with cousins that I haven’t seen or talked to in ages.
It’s also been a year of love. Not just a love of family and friends or self-love, but also romantic love. It was during one of my trips while reconnecting with family that I met my boyfriend.
It’s been a year of learning, self-care and personal development through books, seminars, podcasts, classes and most recently, meditation.
Feeling Calmer Through Meditation
Self-awareness is key to making a shift. Feeling the recent plethora of emotions led me to start a regular meditation routine. Friends who recommended meditation attested how it has transformed their lives and I wanted the same. My routine consists of meditating a few minutes when I wake up in the morning. I pause and sometimes meditate throughout the day, and then again before I go to bed. Meditation helps me to be present. Overall, I feel calmer, less anxious and not as reactive as I had been feeling before I started this practice. I may not be getting the answers I seek (yet), but in time and in the stillness, I believe they will be revealed.
As I was taking stock of my 2017, it started off as a reflection of what I should have or could have accomplished over the past year. Fortunately, I shifted my focus towards the experiences of travel, connection and self-care that have made my life richer. And, it made me realize how good my year has been.