Leaving 2017/Entering 2018

Dear Me from 2017,

You’ve had a pretty steady year, not gonna lie. Maybe the biggest thing that happened was that YOU GOT MARRIED! Remember back in 2012, when you said to yourself that it’s okay to be single, that you didn’t want to wade back into the dating scene because it just felt toxic and you were perfectly fine to be one of those academic titas (because let’s face it, you actually have tons of great role models for that) who will pursue her intellectual passions and leave the desires of the flesh behind (or invest in a decent vibrator once you had enough cash)? But the universe had other plans for you – namely, falling in love with the best person for you, and ultimately changing your mind about marriage and love and being with someone forever.

Okay, sure, it also helped that you waited for a few years, that you lived together, and you decided with your heart AND your head. Good decision-making there, Gabby Lee.

But you also had some pretty bad habits in 2017. Finally, your assumptions that you can do everything is now beginning to backfire spectacularly, now that you’re finally realizing that you have a tendency of biting off more than you can chew. And looking back, you also know that there were some things you could have improved on, especially when it comes to your writing. So with this in mind, this is to remind you to leave behind these three things in 2017:

1. Trying to please “the cool kids” in your head – With all the negativity and hate that saturates the social internet right now, it’s easy to imagine that it’s all in your imagination – the snarky comments, the passive-aggressive one-liners that make up much of Twitter and Facebook and everywhere else you look. You’re now hyper-aware of how you might be perceived by your peers: who you talk to, who you associate yourself with, even the things that you decide to write about. You’re either too _____ or too _____ (fill in the blanks with the binaries of your choice). But the thing is, you really have to understand that you can’t please everyone. And you should stop trying to write to please those “cool kids” (who are all probably in your head). If they don’t like what you write, then it’s okay. They don’t have to read it, anyway. But you have to really take to heart the kind of writing that will satisfy YOURSELF first.

In other words: you’re not in high school anymore. You have to stop letting all of these people take up space inside your head. It’s already too crowded in there as it is.

2. Thinking that you have enough time – In other words, stop trying to multi-task. It’s not working. You sleep too late as it is already; you barely have time for yourself; you end up in thought spirals that takes hours to get out of. You need to learn how to budget your time. And yes, you’re terrible at budgeting. (It’s all the numbers.) But you need to learn how to accept the fact that you need time to take care of yourself first. You can’t give out anything if your energy and spirit is close to zero. You need to start turning things down, and allowing your mind to rest.

3. The “jack of all trades” mindset – You need to commit to specific ideas, and think your projects through. You have a tendency of assuming that you can do All Of The Things (see #2) but really, you need to re-learn how to focus. You used to be so good at focusing on things, but in the last few years, you seem to have let that skill get rusty. Now’s the time to polish it again, and use it on particular things that really need your attention.

But of course, since it’s the new year, you also need some things to look forward to. So here’s another list to remind you of the things you should explore in 2018:

1. Healthy habits – This really needs to be top priority. You’re no longer in your twenties, and you know that your body can’t do things that you used to take for granted. You’re now more aware that you need to take care of the flesh alongside the spirit. So far, you’re doing great with the exercise thing and the diet thing, but you need to remember to sustain it. Build the habits slowly, and don’t hate yourself if you fall off once in awhile.

2. Bravery and experimentation – This is a bit difficult since you’re a creature who likes her comforts. You enjoy being steady and not rocking the boat, sticking to the straight and narrow. And you don’t need to turn your world upside-down in order to achieve this. But you do need to start pushing yourself more, and challenging yourself. You already blew through your first list of life goals in the span of a few years. Now, you need to start challenging yourself again, and learning new things.

3. Finishing things – This one is important, because you’re struggling more and more with finishing things. You seem to get stuck somewhere in the middle, and assume that because you’ve hit a certain stride, you can just leave it at that. But that’s not how it works. You REALLY need to commit to finishing things you promised you’d finish, and stop leaving them hanging. This especially pertains to professional and creative projects. You To-Do list isn’t getting any shorter, so it’s time to start cutting it down to a manageable size.

Hopefully, we can re-visit this entry towards the end of the year and see where we are. The future is now, and you have to figure out where we’re going. But don’t worry – you’re surrounded by a loving and supportive family, an awesome husband, and friends to see you through the tough times. You can do this.

Sincerely yours,
Me at the beginning of 2018

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