Here’s the thing, we start every year the same, with the promise of something better, a newer sense of self, and maybe some pounds to be shed in the process.The reality of what your year looks like, however is usually very far from where it began. I started 2014 with a couple of promises to myself, but the first and most important being to value myself more in every aspect. To me that meant that I would value my abilities, my writing, and what I had to offer anyone, personally and professionally. Cue the job/internship I took, that was paying me dirt but had me working like a dog. I was running someone else’s life and business for them and was getting paid the same as people folding shirts at the Gap, while they raked in thousands. So out the window went my value of my talent. To compliment it I followed that up with a handful of really terrible relationship decisions, where I clearly compromised on the things I was looking for, convincing myself that I was young and that now was the time to “be open”. Nope, I should have been shut tight and focusing on me. There’s a long trail of mistakes and bad decisions that I’ve left in the wake of 2014, but littered along that trail are some real gems.
I graduated college, alive, in one piece, and with most of my sanity. To me, this is probably the greatest personal achievement. I’ve watched way too many people crack under all the pressures that come with finishing college, and let me tell you, it’s way more than you can even imagine. So this holiday season, hug your college student while they’re home recovering, you don’t know how much it means. I cut out some genuinely toxic relationships that were hindering my personal growth. We lose people in our life either because they have served their purpose or because they were never supposed to be there in the first place, it is a natural part of life. But as a bonus I have strengthened the genuine relationships in my life and learned to appreciate them even more. I learned how to take a loss in the short-term in order to grow towards a win in the long-term. Sometimes you have to let go of what may seem like a win, in order to gain something that will help you in the overall.
I was quoted in a Washington Post article and in a piece on The Root.
Guys… THE WASHINGTON POST…I get excited when a family member e-mails me about something they read on my blog, so you can only imagine.
But more important than these things, I learned some real lessons in a very hard way.
This post isn’t just about what I did wrong this year, it’s about reminding ourselves that we set out with goals every year and very rarely do we end up achieving all, if even most of them. So why bother to set goals if we really never adhere to them? Well it’s simple; I’ve learned that even if we don’t follow the plan to the letter, your life yields better results when you give yourself a plan. But do not outline your life; that was ultimately my greatest mistake. I planned 2014 based on what I thought it SHOULD look like and not what it COULD look like. I didn’t leave room for me to make mistakes or change my mind and still have a clear vision. So much changed for me as the year progressed, and because I didn’t account for that change, I got pushed around by my own decisions and circumstance.Life is designed to live, and if you put on blinders that are too thick you will miss out on what life has to offer to you. Sometimes it’s important to learn that the normal or the typical path may not be best suited for you. I was so focused on a path that should have made automatic sense, that I excluded the parts that could have made even better sense for me personally.
So yes I will have some resolutions for 2015. I will have some real very concrete ideas set up for my life, particularly because I’ve had the last month to really evaluate the year and be honest about what I wanted. Since I haven’t exactly won at life, I can’t give you advice on how to approach the new year so it turns out right, but what I can say is, set up the year to be realistic, open to change, and make you happy. DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY. Seriously, I know this sounds redundant, but it’s the best advice I’ve ever gotten. I’ve spent a long time trying to fit into a box of “what should” when I should have backed up to look at “what could”. 2015 will be a year of could; a year of open minds, new paths, and beneficial decisions.
The blog will probably go offline within the next week as I make some big changes for 2015, I’m switching it up, so I can bring readers SO MUCH MORE! Look out for the relaunch in January 2015 and thank you so much for being a reader and supporter through 2014. Keep up with all the changes and new things coming by liking the Facebook and following me on Twitter and Instagram!
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year everyone!
Ariel is a 22 year old North Jersey native with a degree in Journalism and African American Studies. She writes about everything from social justice to lipstick and is a firm believer in Black Girl Magic. Her work has appeared on Jawbreaker, Black Girl Long Hair, Blogher, and more!