Goodbye, 2017: Reflections & Resolutions

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It's the last couple days of 2017 and so that means it's time to reflect and make resolutions! Anddd this also means eventually giving up some of these resolutions half way through the year...we've all been guilty of this, but I really do want to make a change for the better. It's always funny how we want to "start anew" in the New Year, instead of just starting on a random day in the year. So I'd like to also try and reflect on some of the things that I've been more or less trying to work on for the last 3 years but want to continue to improve upon, because I know I have it in me to do it. I know I'm not going to become one of those people who checks off every resolution, but I know Im already on my way, based on the things I've learned in 2017. I want to give myself not only realistic goals, but the goals that I'm comfortable with. 

Be Content

There is so much pressure to be happy. To be excited and 100% satisfied. We see that reflected in inspirational quotes on pillows and from people around us. But why do we kid ourselves like this when honestly life is so much more complicated than that; you're not always going to be happy, or perfectly satisfied -- there are always going to be downsides and worries, and that doesn' mean you need to let them consume you. You just need to accept these negative things for what they are, and not be disappointed because you expect everything to end up perfect. In November of 2017 I started a mood chart in my bullet journal and it's been really helping me reflect on my moods and overall mental health each day. I have a color that reflects "content" and even another one that is "neutral" and I found that those two colors are the ones that have come up on my chart the most. I realized that there's nothing wrong about this at all -- it's okay to just feel content about things and not worry about meeting super high expectations from others or yourself. 

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Be Decisive

If there's one thing that unfortunately, accurately describes me is indecisive. And this past year is the year where it really messed me up in certain parts of my life. Whether it was in my social life or academic goals, I had trouble just making a damn decision on things. There's never a way of knowing of whether the choices we make are the absolute correct ones, and they're never going to be perfect. Being indecisive can be a blessing and a curse. On the one hand it means I'm learning how to weigh all my options but  on the other hand it can definitely be a pretty big road block when I let it spiral out of control. 

Mix it up

The biggest lie that society will ever teach you is that you're supposed to fit into some kind of specific mold of a person. The most beautiful thing about being human to me is that you evolve and grow and go through different stages in life. Sure, we might look back at our high school selves and cringe a little bit, but there was obviously a reason why we went through those specific phases. That's why one of my 2018 goals is to continue to mix it up and surprise people. Go against type. Do something different. And do it for you -- because you suddenly feel like trying something new. It might not work and end up badly but who cares? Apply this to both your professional and social life -- mixing it up and doing something you wouldn't normally do. 

Unplug

I think it's safe to say that in the upcoming year we're definitely going to be seeing even more expansions and update in the wonderful world of the internet. Having a life online has definitely given me so much in my life, especially as a journalism student and blogger. But I'm slowly learning how to not let myself get consumed with it too much because it can get really draining really fast. Specifically, I'm going to try my very hardest to take a break from screens before bed and first thing in the morning. Along with this, I think there's a certain type of mental unplugging I need to start doing when it comes to social media. I need to stop letting things I see online, whether directed at me or not affect me so much. It's become so difficult to separate ourselves from "real life" and our "virtual lives" because there's a lot of good that comes from the online world. 

Clean Out

I feel like I need a cleanse with a lot of parts of my life. Clean out sugar out of my diet. Take social media cleanses. But my biggest one is going to be literally clean out all my STUFF. God, I really came to terms in 2017 how much items I own and how much space they take up in my life. Starting with my wardrobe, I think it's high time I step back and look at what I really need and really want and cut out the excess. This means giving away/selling clothes that are either uncomfortable or un-wearable and cleaning out old papers/notebooks I really don't need anymore.

Make the Time

I really don't know how to make this sound less cliche but, for the love of god, in 2018: do whatever the heck you want. And that means doing different types of things at the same time. I feel like  a lot of times we think that just because we're on a certain path in our lives academically or professionally, we can't do other things that we're interested in such as hobbies or friendships. For me, my biggest excuse for this was "I don't have time", and because of this I probably missed out on taking on things that I wanted to do, going on trips I wanted and seizing opportunities. I recently interviewed a YouTuber who has made a living through online photography tutorials and a self-started podcast. When I asked him what advice he would give to other aspiring freelancers of any kind, all he said was "just start". This really stuck with me and is forcing me to stop making excuses for not doing things or starting projects I'm interested in just because I tell myself I "don't have time". 

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2017 has been a mess in many ways. It's the year. It's been a year of hard work, exhaustion and taking risks. It was a year where I took on a lot of new experiences, but also learned a lot about my limitations. But along with that, I could also define that 2017 as a year of inspiration, because it was a time that I really felt inspired by so many things in person and online. It's always weird when a year ends and you're looking at the beginning of a new one. It feels like it needs to be a time of refreshing and improvement, but even if it doesn't, it's still nice to look back on some of the things that defined a whole year fo us. 

To wrap this up, here are some of my favorite things that I came across this past year; 2017!

Favorite Reads

1. The Secret to Marriage Is Never Getting Married. 

This is an essay I read on the New York Times talking about marriage. It's short, to the point, but brings up a perspective that I've thought about many times but never really felt brave enough to say. I also never knew how to put it into words that...marriage is weird?

""When I say I don’t believe in marriage, what I mean to say is: I understand the financial and legal benefits, but I don’t believe the government or a church or a department store registry can change the way I already feel and behave."

Oh and this is part of a column called Modern Love essays on the New York times website that I have been reading for years but have honestly not talked about enough. You can thank me later. 

Read the full article here!

2. Dear Ijeawele, Or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions.

This book I literally finished in less than 2 days and it really left an impact. It's wonderfully written and super relatable for anybody in this day and age. 

"Eighth suggestion: Teach her to reject likability. Her job is not to make herself likable, her job is to be her full self, a self that is honest and aware of the equal humanity of other people...Many girls think of the "feelings" of those who are hurting them. We have a world full of women who are unable to exhale fully because they have for so long been conditioned to fold themselves into shapes to make themselves likable."

3. Professional Zodiac by Man Repeller

Man Repeller is probably one of my favorite online fashion and lifestyle sites. Whenever I go on it, I feel like I'm hanging out with a friend--so I would highly suggest it to anyone who is interested in other style-related posts. This is a zodiac post I stumbled upon that was so on point I started smiling like an idiot, so maybe it'll do the same for you. I mean, honestly, the first paragraph was literally talking to me:

Here’s the thing about being a Taurus: People either assume you’re lazy, which may sometimes be true, or they assume you’re super stubborn and persistent, which is definitely true. The bull operates in two speeds, especially when tackling an assignment. You’ll take your sweet time to organize, strategize and plan out the attack — then you’ll charge, full-steam ahead.

I don't always believe in horoscopes but this one made me feel good, and the article is great because it calls you out on how they know even if you don't believe in astrology, you still like reading these. 

Read the piece on their website here!

Favorite Shows: 

  1. Stranger Things Season 2. A lot of people felt underwhelmed by this season but I respectfully disagree. This show has something special and it definitely kept it going with this season. There's just something about the story that is nostalgic but also has something new to give (especially with the growth of certain characters like Eleven). This was definitely a big highlight that made Halloween extra spooky and fun. This was also the year when I fell in love with the Stranger Things soundtrack -- it has soo many good oldies that you can't not rock out to. 
  2. Mindhunter. Alright, so I only got around to watching this on Christmas Eve with my mom (we literally binge watched 1/4 of the show throughout the holidays, no shame). and I fell in LOVE. I'm not even surprised bc since I'm a sociology minor and the show talks about a lot of concepts that are so fascinating. Oh and it takes place in the 70's and I absolutely love the colors/overall cinematic vibe. 
  3. The Good Place. My friend showed me this over holiday break and I ended-up finishing it in a day and a half. It's a pretty short show with only one season but it's that perfect blend of goofiness and dark comedy that I'm a complete sucker for. I'm not going to say anyting more about it because it's definitely one of those shows that you just need to go in blindly and let it surprise you. 

Favorite Albums: 

1. Brockhampton: Saturation II and III

2. Alvvays: Antisocialistss

. Princess Nokia: 1992

4. Fleet Foxes: Crack Up