How To Make 2018 Your Year

How To Make 2018 Your Year

And how to be the best you possible.

I think for a lot of people this time of the year stirs up a lot of self-reflection. With the upcoming new year, there is the idea of a “better you” that is expected, the hopes to make the next 20-something “your year.” But the same always happens, we set high standards, not stepping stones, and when February rolls around, and the newness of the new year starts to fade, so does the progress. How do we stop this? How do we make sure that we keep to our path to be the best you possible, and what even is the best you possible?

I once heard someone say that “Idealism is the biggest joy snatcher.” Let’s break that apart, because this encompasses just what is going to stop this progress. By definition, an ideal is that which is satisfying to one's conception of what is perfect; that which is most suitable, most desirable. Simply put, idealism is living a life that is saturated with “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts.”

Especially around this time of the year, you might find yourself saying things like, “She shouldn’t have drank that much,” “He should’ve spent more,” “They should’ve spent more time with us.” “I should’ve went with them,” “The cancer shouldn’t have come back.” “I should have said I love you more.” “I should be skinner.” “My boss should’ve given me that raise.”

With all of these statements full of comparison and discontent, there will never be satisfaction. These statements show ideals. They show the way we wish things were, the way they “should’ve been.” But that isn’t the way they are.

These ideals are stealing your joy. Sitting stagnant wishing things were different leads to such a lifestyle that doesn’t allow you to be in the moment. Live in the life that you were given, with the time that you were allotted. Is not the best you possible one that uses the moments for their most impactful purpose?

By working to combat this feeling of not your best, we must decide. Decide whether or not to work or to waste time. My dad always says that “choice, not chance, determines one’s destiny.” Not wasting time doesn't mean that moments have to be spent doing homework, or constantly working on your next due date, but rather, also spending this life doing what is the most fulfilling. Maybe sometimes that means getting coffee with an old friend in order to catch up, because they need it.

Maybe that means going to bed early so that you can wake up refreshed and ready to combat the next day. Or maybe that means taking a run to take care of your physical self. Take a road trip with your best friend, stay in on Friday night, save your money, go visit family. Any of these things can be using the moment to your advantage.

This year, consider making that your resolution. Be intentional, be grateful, live in the moment. Embrace your moments. Learn to spend time, not waste it. Learn to live on purpose, not on accident.

Now, go make 2018 your year.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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To The Man Who Catcalled Me

You've probably already forgotten about me, but I can't forget about you.

Dear Asshole,

First of all, screw you.

I don't know you, but you tried talking to me anyway.

You thought you had a right to raise your voice and call to me--as if I'm a dog, as if I should listen when you speak. You don't deserve my attention.

Unfortunately, I heard every word that passed through your lips.

You went out of your way to make me feel small. I pretended not to hear what you said, but I carried it with me the entire way home.

You probably forgot about it, but your words echoed in my ears for hours. Your stupid comment caused me more pain than I'd like to admit.

How dare you take a few seconds of your life to waste hours of mine.

You made me feel dirty in my own skin.

I went home and didn't want to look at myself in the mirror because all I could feel was shame.

I wondered if I could've done something differently to avoid you--wore less makeup, maybe; anything to avoid comments like yours.

It's not me that's the problem, though. It's you. What kind of man behaves the way that you did? Your words were hurtful, whether or not you intended them to be.

You took my self-confidence and my peace of mind away from me in a matter of seconds.

Before you, I felt good.

I wasn't doing anything to deserve your attention--I was just waiting at a traffic light.

It doesn't matter what I was doing, really. You had no reason to call out to me, to speak to me with no regard for my humanity, but you did it anyway.

You've probably already forgotten about me, but I can't forget about you.

The amount of time I've spent thinking about what you said is far more than you deserve.

You don't deserve a letter. You deserve a kick in the balls.

Regardless, this is a message for you, or men like you, who think that catcalling complete strangers is okay.

Attention all assholes:

I am female, but that does not mean that I am fragile.

My body is not yours. It is no one else's. It is mine.

Sexualizing my body is not a compliment.

I am more than a body. I am a person. I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, a lover.

I don't deserve to be talked to like a piece of meat.

I am not here for your pleasure.

I am tired of being just a body. Women are tired of being just bodies. We are more than that--we are smart, we are strong, we are worthy of respect.

If you cannot speak to women with respect, you do not deserve to speak at all.

I hope you think about what you said, even for a moment.

I hope you never speak to another woman the way you spoke to me.

I hope you realized something from this experience, like I did.

Because you catcalled me, I remembered my worth.

Sincerely,

A Woman Who's Tired Of This Shit

Cover Image Credit: Nicole Borneman

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I'm Headed Back To The Water

Water Is Home. Just Dive In.

When I was a little girl my grandfather and mama taught me how to swim. I fell in love with the water and frankly, swimming was something I excelled at. They taught me how to swim before I could walk. Once I was a little bit older my parents quickly enrolled me in Red Cross swim lessons at a local pool. By the age of four I was swimming on a summer league team, and by eight, I was swimming competitively year round.

The water is where I feel at home. I’m not clumsy or awkward. I move fluidly with strength and speed. When I’m in the water, the world disappears. I get to be in my own head, working towards a goal while not worrying about my surroundings. So, I’m headed back to the water.

I know I will not be swimming the way I once did. I’m not looking to be a competitive swimmer again. I have no desire to wake up before the crack of dawn to hop in an icy cold pool. I’m going back to the water to find myself again. To find the girl who had a lot more confidence than I currently do. To find the girl who trusted her body to make the right movements and get her to where she needed to be. I’m looking to find the physical strength and endurance I once had that has since been lost.

When in the water, I feel safe because of the confidence I have in my ability, but also because I trust my body. I’ve never been scared that I would drown because I knew my body would get me back to the wall or would automatically bring me to the surface. I don’t place the same trust in my body while on land. I’m much more clumsy; it doesn't matter if I’m walking or running. I’ve fallen down the stairs, up the stairs, and tripped over my own feet.

When I stopped swimming, I lost myself. I think it’s time I find myself again.

Cover Image Credit: Maxwell Gifted on Unsplash

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