It’s still January, which means it’s technically still a reasonable time for people to make “new year, new me” posts and commit to resolutions that they (statistically) won’t follow through with by the end of the year. Maybe it’s the cynic in me, but I find myself in a position where I don’t feel the need to do that. For starters, I know myself and I know that if I commit to doing something like stop drinking soda or work out more or save money, I won’t do it. I’m not making any resolutions this year, but I am actively making and accepting some changes that I think have already benefited me. Some of these changes weren’t really planned, and some were out of my control, but I’ve come to realize that they’ve all been for the best. So in absence of (but also in the spirit of) new year’s resolutions, I want to do some reflection instead.
Since this time last year, a lot has changed for me. I’m in a relationship with an amazing woman. We have both moved out of our old apartments and into a new one together. We’ve adopted a cat, who we have come to discover is a ball of excitement wrapped in laziness and sprinkled with adorable clumsiness. I have a different job than I did at this time last year, and I’ve even committed myself to writing again (both here on the blog and on a tech news website). I’m set to graduate next spring, and I’m more confident about where I’m going with my life.
I said all that because despite handling some unexpected shifts in the past year, I’m still standing. I’ve lost friends, and I’ve gained friends. I’ve moved across town and switched jobs. I’ve worked for what seems like an eternity, but I’ve still found time to relax and enjoy the little things (as cliche as that may sound). I’ve been a victim of theft, twice. I’ve been sick as recently as last week, but I’ve also tried to be healthier by riding a bike and eating less toxic foods. Granted, that bike was stolen and I had McDonald’s for breakfast this morning, but that’s beside the point.
Or maybe that’s part of the point. Maybe my bike being stolen, as horrible as it may seem, is actually a reminder that things are going to happen regardless of whatever resolutions I might make.* I’ve come to realize that I truly have no control over how others feel about me, for better or worse. No matter how much I try to portray a specific perception of myself, I have no control over how someone else perceives me (or wants to perceive me) as a person. And I’m not saying that this gives me a free pass to do whatever I want, damn the consequences. But it does give me a sense of comfort, because I know that in all the chaos of what happened last year, some battles are meant to be lost. Or if not lost, some battles are meant to produce a certain outcome.
While I never would’ve imagined a year ago that I’d be where I am now, that doesn’t mean that I’m not happy with it. I used to have this understood perception that I need to make a plan and execute it, and that would make me accomplished (I have the education system to thank for that, I suppose). And this past year has made me realize that plans are important, but they aren’t everything. They aren’t the key to being accomplished, whether in work or school or life. So while a great number of things didn’t go as I would’ve hoped, a great number of amazing unexpected things also happened. As much as I hate to overuse cliches, last year taught me that life really is about balance. And not just balancing your time, but balancing what you do with the time you have, and who you share that time with.
I also learned something about myself that is actually sort of intriguing. I realized that I often fail to practice what I preach. What’s more, I sometimes don’t fully appreciate the gravity of what I preach. Take what I just said about balance. I’ve said countless times to friends and family members that life is about balance, but I never truly appreciated what that meant until now. I had to actually balance my own life to fully understand why that saying is used so much, and why it’s so true.
Basically what I’m saying (6 paragraphs later) is that I’ve learned a lot since this time last year. I’m not necessarily a completely different person, but my experiences have led me to the person I see in the mirror. A lot of things happened this past year. Some were good, some were bad, and some were inevitable. I couldn’t produce outcomes that I wanted at the time, but maybe I’m okay with that. I’m not the same as I was a year ago, but maybe I’m okay with that too.
* For the record, I wasn’t bike-jacked at gunpoint or anything like that; someone stole my bike while it was chained up and I wasn’t there.