2018 Wrap Up: Themes for the New Year

What a year it’s been, right? Damn.

Before I could even start writing this, I had to go back and read my previous New Year’s post to see if and how I’ve changed. Give it a look if the mood strikes you, but let’s get through this new word purge first.

How’s my year been? Thanks for asking.

It’s been a year intentionally focused on creating change that would steer me closer to the kind of life and relationships that I really want. There’s been some hardcore butterfly-starting-to-struggle-out-of-the-cocoon energy.

I quit my full-time job. A bold move, but one I haven’t regretted for one millisecond.

The podcast has become an experiment with more potential than I expected. If anything, it deserves my energy now more than ever.

I literally JUST let go of my apartment near the beach, donated and threw away most of the nonsense stuff I’ve been dragging around for years, and decided that I’ll be starting the new year in a new city (Los Angeles).

I’ve spent more time listening to my intuition on a day-to-day basis rather than trying to plot out years at a time. This year, like every other one, has continued to teach me that surprises are lurking around every corner.

It’s been an intense, amazing, difficult, and life-changing year.

But, honestly, if we’re doing this “life” thing right…shouldn’t they all be?

So, instead of listing the standard resolutions we all have to basically live decent lifestyles and have abs, let’s talk themes that will color the choices we make all year.

Themes for 2019

Stop being your own hater.

If there’s anyone’s encouragement we need more than anything, it’s our own. Not in a way where it’s cocky and self-assured for no reason. In a way that’s self-compassionate and creates forward momentum.

Imagine how much progress you could make if you just simply got out of your own way.

Just said, “Hey, Mental Self. Would you mind taking a few steps to your left? Just trying to squeeze by real quick and make some choices that’ll better our life.”

Then, your Mental Self is like, “Oh, for sure. My bad.”

And then, boom. You’re on your way to Successville. Possibly an over-simplified example, but you get it.

Sometimes you’ve gotta be the one to believe you’re capable/worthy and then take a few steps to the left.

Think of the memes we share with each other all day long. They’re dripping with self-deprecating humor. Why? Well, first of all, because it’s hilarious.

But, it’s also interesting to realize that most of us tell those jokes or share those posts and then, in the privacy of our own heads, are like, “Nah, but for real though. I kinda suck.”

In a strange way, it’s become this modern day bonding ritual where we connect by acknowledging our mutual insecurities.

It only gets weird when it’s less based in acknowledging your humanity and more rooted in a genuine feeling that you’re un-deserving of good things, wanting more, and being more.

So, let’s all work on being confidently humble, comfortably ambitious, and relatably insecure.

Simple. How we’re all not nailing that hot mess of a description is the real question here.

At any given moment, we’re only one event away from feeling completely different.

An essential thing to remember in bad times.

A way to be more appreciative in good times.

No matter how terrible you’ve felt, it was always temporary. No matter how perfect a moment has been, it always slipped away.

Extremely Relatable Millennial Example: Think of how you feel when you’re waiting for a text from the only person you want a text from.

Maybe you get anxious or you start second guessing yourself/them. Maybe you start concocting a bunch of stories about what they’re doing and how they’re feeling. It’s just what most people seem to do when they’ve deemed that too much time has passed between responses.

Then, FINALLY. By the grace of the Gods, you get the text.

A wave of pure relief washes over you…

For that moment, you’re validated.

…Until the next delay and the whole damn cycle repeats.

It’s crazy that we can let such impermanent states wield so much power. But, the next time you’re tempted to dive into the depths of doubt:

Always remember that, at any point, everything can change.

That’s simultaneously one of the most comforting and doom-filled phrases on the planet. Good luck with that.

Expectations aren’t useful. Hope is necessary. Preparation is key.

Expectations create the opportunity to be disappointed because you’ve decided that you know what should happen. In truth, there are many times where we know very little about what’s good for us. They rely too heavily on external events and humans outside of your control, so you’re basically just handing out the key to your happiness to anyone and anything. Oh…you’re gonna have ’em. Just know they’re impractical.

Hope is a little different because it just means that you allow yourself permission to believe things can go well. Therefore, preventing you from being a total bummer to yourself and those around you.

Preparation for all possible circumstances is a must. Mindset: “This could go really well. This could suck. This could have ups and downs. I’ll adapt as I go. Where’s the wine?”

Helpful Personal Philosophy: “Your life is a story.”

It’s a story that is constantly unfolding, changing, and evolving. Old characters will make their exit and new ones will appear. The only character you control is the one you play.

Who do you want to be? How do you want people to describe you when you’re not in the room? What storylines do you want to live?

You never know who you’re going to meet or the ultimate role they’re intended to play. But, no matter what…the story continues. You can’t stop time and the days will go by whether you like it or not until they (spoiler alert) inevitably run out.

So, in the more difficult moments, it’s nice to step outside yourself to take an objective look around and at least try to re-frame your perspective into one of curiosity:

“Huh…I wonder how this is gonna play out? What new series of events will this little plot twist trigger?” Then, get ready for the next act. Adapt your part as needed.

When you have no control over the current situation: Your internal line becomes, “Self, have we done all we can?”

If Self is like, “Yeah, for sure. Checked all those boxes.”

Then, take a deep breath and switch your focus. Do something creative, workout everyday because it’s gonna get rid of that excess “I-can’t-control-this-and-I-hate-it” energy, ask other people if there’s something you can help them with. Binge out on some Rick & Morty.

Let the story play out.

Find the people on your wavelength.

People who truly don’t get you are like…insecurity magnifiers. And that’s the last thing you need, you little sensitive gumdrop, you.

Actively nurture relationships with people that make you feel like you’re just alright…being.

These people may not even have everything in common with you. They don’t have to. But, there are people out there who’ll simply just feel better for you and, sometimes, when we haven’t been around enough of those people for awhile, we forget they exist.

So, go find them…and send them some self-deprecating memes to intensify the depth of your bond.

Always Look For Meaning.

I wrote in the previous New Year’s blog about how I wanted to lean towards happiness…which is still pretty damn true. I’m no idiot.

But, more importantly, I think what I’m always looking for is meaning.

I’ll gladly endure unhappy moments for something that actually means something to me. I’ll be vulnerable in exchange for meaning. I’ll delay pleasure, satisfaction, and comfort for meaning.

If I’m never engaged with something that I actually care about, I never have potential to hurt. But, if I never care, I feel…empty.

Thin.

And, not the good thin where all your clothes look really good on you.

The bad thin. Where everything becomes a bit monotone. Where you realize you’ve just gone 11 days with only small talk conversation and fake smiles to people you accidentally made eye contact with.

Choosing the well-lit path of least resistance and no risk could very well also be the path to a life that means very little to you.

The instant gratification is cheap. Readily available with a swipe right.

It’s the meaning that makes all the rest worth it.

You never know. Let it go.

That’s what life is all about. Trying, caring, meaning, accepting, fearing, storytelling, and doing it anyway.

Be careful not to take things too seriously. It’s too easy to overthink ourselves out of lovely moments and situations that would otherwise have had beautiful potential.

Just get up everyday and say:

“Fuck. The story means something to me. Guess I gotta do this.”

Then, shrug.

And start a new chapter. Call it “2019”. Make it a story worth telling.

Happy New Year, everyone. Cheers 🙂

Read my previous New Year’s Reflections and Resolutions post here.

Check out the “We’re All Human” podcast.

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