Moving forward is difficult. We, as humans, naturally oppose change. We live for what we are comfortable with, what is familiar, who is familiar, and we often find ourselves stuck in the past, in a sense. We replay that one day over and over in our heads, we stick to old habits, we go to the same old restaurants; in many ways, or only in one, you may recognize that you, in fact, have been begrudgingly dragging your feet forward in time, resisting change, and in a way, resisting growth.
Now, there is something to be said for reflecting on the past. You have probably heard a history teacher at some point in time say, “studying the past informs the future,” and no matter how often it’s repeated and how annoyed at the very thought of that phrase you might be, it is undeniably true. Such an attitude can be applied both on a larger scale and in one’s personal life. However, there is a difference between reflection as a form of growth, and reflection as a road-block. Reflection for the aim of growth has goals, it has pursuits, it has reasons, it recognizes a time of change and learns from it to inform and evolve life in the future. It is a positive practice that I think should accompany the start of a new year. So here is my year in review…
This past year, 2017, was for me a year of changes. I played my last softball game after playing since I was a child; I went to my last school dance; I got accepted to my top colleges; I was denied from others; I traveled to Italy with some of my closest friends; I graduated highschool; I started this blog; I lost friends; I made friends; I moved 2,000 miles away from home; I began life at my new home, Purdue University; I turned 19; I finished my first semester of college; I came home; and I finished year with the ones who have always been there for me.
This past year, I’ve flown in an airplane 11 times. I’ve lived in 2 different cities. My most played song was “Sweet Creature” by Harry Styles. My most visited website was Netflix. I went to 5 concerts. I went to my first college basketball game. I wrote a 31 page paper. I gave a 12 minute speech. I baked a pie from scratch for the first time. I played euchre for the first time. I started learning french. I started going to the gym. I stopped telling myself I couldn’t do new things and I started doing them.
This past year, the world lost countless lives to terrorism, it faced numerous natural disasters, it dealt with political upheavals, it stood up for what it believed in, it grew. It gained new lives, it saw new technology, it made new things, it loved, it suffered, and it lived on.
This past year, I’ve learned more than I ever have and done more than I’ve ever done. But, this isn’t about last year, this is about this year and beyond.
This year, I’m going to keep traveling, I’m going to keep going to the gym every day, I’m going to meet even more people, I’m going to keep writing for my blog, I’m going to keep learning french, I’m going to keep listening to music, I’m going to keep going to school.
I’m also going to try new things, set new goals, see new things, and grow. I’m going to push myself even harder. Make this moment about the future. What are you going to do? What do you want to do? Where do you want to go? What are you going to make this next year all about? How are you going to learn from the past, and then grow from it. I encourage everyone to sit down for a minute reflect on the good, the bad, the new, of the past year and then write out and set real goals. New Years Resolutions are filled with impending failure, avoid that. Set yourself realistic goals, yet ones that will continue to push, stretch, and grow you this next year. The past has a tendency to halt us, whether that be through fond memories that you can’t let go of or hard moments that you can’t bring yourself to move past. Take those moments, reflect on them, use them, learn from them, and move forward.
Here’s to 2018, everyone.