2017 has been, by all accounts, a good year for me. In nearly all other domains, politically, socially, environmentally, etc., I could argue the other way, but for me as a people-thing, this year has definitely marked an inflection point.
In conversation, I like to use “invisible boundaries” as a metaphor to mark those mushy transitions from, say, from adolescence into adulthood, or from being hip to uncool: it's tough to know exactly where I passed the mark, but it definitely happened, I can feel it in my bones. This year was filled with a number of these tiny shifts.
For instance, I moved from feeling barely competent at my job to confident in my abilities. Thinking back on four years of what felt like chaos to where I am now is bananas. When I started, I joked that it was irresponsible to leave me with anything to do at all, but today, I feel like I am running out of challenges to face. I took a big step forward in confidence and ability. I’m proud of the concerted effort I put into making it this far, although I would be remiss not to mention some of the fortuitous shifts in my workplace and the wonderful team that’s supported me thus far.
In my marriage, my partner and I are hardly distinguishable from those two know-nothing-afraid-of-everything kids we were when we first met. She’s so incredible, it’s awesome. I mean, she has always been something special—her work ethic, dedication and organisation borders on terrifying, really—but this past year saw her continued refinement into an awe-inspiring, powerful woman. I could go on for days, though the real point of bringing Amber up, is that she has always raised the roof on possibility and this year, I have taken up the mantle behind her; she continues to inspire me and I want to be on her level. Someday, if I keep working hard, I may be.
Last year, I spoke at length about the friendships that I built up throughout the year. This year I let those same relationships slide. That is an uncomfortable fact. I have great friends, the best you could ask for, but I didn’t put in the effort, I didn’t make the time. Making relationships a priority, doesn’t seem to map well onto the landscape of the modern world, what with isolation and loneliness on the rise, yet that fact doesn’t make loneliness inevitable. I will make a deeper, consistent effort to cherish and keep those friendships this year.
In the areas of my life that matter most, I feel like I have grown-up to fill them. I wonder if the reason why I felt so daunted in years past wasn’t that the goal was too high, but my ego’s terra firma had sunk so low. Belief that I matter, that I can contribute, turns out to be a pretty powerful thing. Hopefully, as I ripen, I will remember that fact.
For the first time, I am headlong focused on taking now into the future. (For a peek at some of my not-so-important and definitely not urgent targets, look at this list of goofy projects I want to attempt in 2018.) I will continue to fight to maintain what I have accomplished so far, but what lies ahead is wide open. So, I picked to focus on my creative endeavours, to give back in subtle ways, to build up, rather than tear down. It'll be a Year of Contributing.
I'm guilty of making goals that would be nice-to-have, but lacked any care. I still haven't beaten those habits entirely, but I have started putting in the work to take me forward. This year I won't be making a series of resolutions, goals, or promises on New Year's Day. Instead, I started the hard work months ago. I had an vision of where I wanted to go, and thought, “Why leave my most important goals to wishful thinking?” The painful, boring process of becoming begins with taking the first step.
I wish you a bright, beautiful and fulfilling New Year.