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thank u, next: a 2018 retrospective

2018 was easily the most difficult year of my life thus far: I left the startup that had occupied 99% of my time, thoughts, and (literal) tears without a backup plan; I had a quarter-life crisis that led me to doubt if my current field was the one that I actually wanted to be in; and my serious, long-term relationship ended suddenly, leaving me with under a month to find a new place to live.

All of these individually would be tough to manage, and I had the misfortune of having all of these happen in the span of three days. To say that I was miserable was an understatement: my self-worth and self-esteem had been damaged in the process, and I felt completely isolated. If it wasn’t for the love of some of my favourite people in the world, my mother’s insistence that I speak to a therapist (“if only so you have someone to talk to”), and the many “10 steps to get my life back on track” lists that I (somewhat obsessively) created, I can honestly say that I might not have made it to the ‘thank u, next’ point in my recovery.

It’s easy to focus on these negatives and to paint 2018 as a terrible year, but 2018 was also filled with so much light and growth:
 

  • I learned how to code and built two websites, completely from scratch, along with a handful of unfinished apps
  • I learned to be comfortable with both silence and being alone
  • I learned to love my own company
  • I learned how to put my own needs first
  • I experienced the rush of falling in love, even if it didn’t last
  • I made the difficult decision to switch fields and to go back to school (one more week until classes start!)
  • I was fortunate enough to visit Paris, my favourite city in the world, twice
  • I experienced the magic of Walt Disney World for the first time as an adult
  • I learned how to ask for help in a way that is productive and that is respectful of others’ time, energy, and boundaries
  • I learned that even the most stressful situations can be managed with the help of good friends, chocolate chip cookies, and lots of lists
  • I treated myself to all the concerts, including two nights in a row with Mumford and Sons
I start every year with the same wish: “[year], please be good to me.” While 2018 may not have been as noticeably good to me as I would have wanted, it was a year filled with growth and self-discovery, and I wouldn’t trade the learnings for anything.

on new beginnings

I’ve been drafting this post for what feels like years now. Starting a more personal blog has been on my New Years Resolutions list since I finished high school – and I’m about to start a post-graduate degree, so you can tell how long I’ve been putting this off! For the last few years, January 2nd would roll around and I’d tell myself that I missed my window and that I would start something in February… and so began a seemingly never-ending cycle of trying to find the “perfect start date.”

If I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that a) the perfect date is April 25th, which I’ve already missed by a lot and that b) assigning arbitrary start dates without anything to hold me accountable to them is really just me setting myself up for failure. So far, 2018 has been all about embracing change and jumping into more things head-first; about committing to starting something instead of putting it off, even if it’s messy and imperfect and kind of terrifying. So here I am, on November 25th, getting a heads start on next year’s New Years Resolution. 😉