An Open Letter To 2018

An Open Letter To 2018

New Year, New Me? Nope.
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2018 - New Year, New Me, right?

Wrong.

More Like New Year, Better Me. As the years have passed, I’ve seen who I’m becoming and who I’ve been. I haven’t changed because of who I’ve been, rather I’m changing as I grow up. Looking at who you are at a distance is easy when you’re seeing who you’ve been and who you want to become. It’s about seeing yourself for who you want to become and being proud of who you are. It might even be as simplistic as looking at yourself in the mirror and having a feeling wash over you of confidence and content in who you are.

Starting a new year off, we all have these expectations and goals. You go about two weeks into the year and all of the resolutions you might have been so determined to accomplish kind of just- drop off. You stop eating super duper healthy, you stop working out as much, the list goes on. Everything kind of just stops. But even if we all know that our habits may not last, we all start the new year with high motivation and even higher hopes. We all have this sense of, “this year is going to be better.”

But this year, will be different. Personally, this year- I’m determined to live a better life. I’m determined to go outside of my comfort zone. I’m determined to make a more conscious effort to be happier with who I am. I’m determined to look life in the eyes and make it my own. Being a freshman there’s so many new experiences that I have and haven’t had.

I went from a crazy schedule of high school classes from 7:30-2:30 and then after school activities and homework and stress piled on top of more stress to living on a college campus, getting myself out the door to make it to class on time, making sure you live healthy-ish, and a semi-empty schedule of maybe a class in the morning and one in the afternoon or a few classes spread out from about 10am to 2pm.

Despite growing up with a solid group of friends that barely changed, but more like expanded throughout the 12 years of school before college and even growing up being only a bit more extroverted than introverted was something that made making friends, even just meeting and talking to other people, more difficult.

All I’m saying is that going to college was one big schedule and life change. I think that is partially why I’m so determined to make this year better than before is because since I’ve been in college: I’m learning who I am, what I want in life, how to go about new things (like making friends, talking to people in general, etc.), and learning about life itself. I’m learning how to make life my own, how to grab it tight and not let go.

Life is about learning and experiencing. You learn from what you’ve experienced and you experience life for what it is and what it has to teach you. Make this year better. Not just for you, but for the world. Expand your horizons, either literally or socially or even in some small aspect of your unique life. Make this year better than those before it.

Take life by the hand and pull it along for once instead of letting yourself get pulled along. Make this year yours. Take control of your current life, your relationships, your mental health, your needs, and importantly, your career- taking control doesn’t mean forcing life, but to put your own life into your hands and see it for what it is.

The good, the bad, and the ugly (it’s an overused saying, but it still reads to whatever situation you might apply it to). Yet in all of this, I digress.

In writing this note to 2018: the supposed stereotypical motto of New Year, New Me? Honestly, it quite possibly could be that type of year. I’m looking forward to the stupidity of our world. The stupidity of those around us, even the stupidity of ourselves. As weird as that sounds, it’s always something to learn from. I’m looking forward to the relationships that will be built, the friendships that will fall and those that will rise.

The moments where you want the world to pause maybe just to catch up and catch your breath or to simply to sit there and have the world around you stop. Letting yourself reminisce in the moments that make you happy and the memories you hold close. I’m looking forward to a year where I will be learning about me. Where this will be the year that I become happy with myself, where I’ll figure out what the heck I want to do in life.

Basically what I’m saying is that I want 2018 to be the year where I make it my own. Where 2018 isn’t about what’s behind me or where I’ve been, but where I’m going and how I’m getting there. When I wrote about learning to love yourself (my first article), I mentioned that I’m nowhere close to being where I want to, in terms of being completely happy with who I am. But as time goes on, it’s been easier to tell that progress is being made.

Progress is progress is what I’ve always said. Learning to love myself has been a process where I’ve recognized how much I hold onto this idea of worrying about how others see me and now that I’m becoming happier with who I am- it’s easier to see life as it is, not this twisted tale of self-consciousness and worry and fear of everything within this world.

Back to what I was saying though: 2018 WILL be our year. The year of ambition, the year of new beginnings, the year of confidence, of futures. The year where sometimes it’s about how that window we all have into the world shifts and opens itself to widen our view.

Cover Image Credit: mytheresa

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PSA: Keep Your Body-Negative Opinions Away From Little Girls This Summer

But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with.

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It's officially swimsuit season, y'all.

The temperature is rising, the sun is bright and shining, and a trip to the beach couldn't look more appealing than it does right now. This is the time of year that many of us have been rather impatiently waiting for. It's also the time of year that a lot of us feel our most self-conscious.

I could take the time to remind you that every body is a bikini body. I could type out how everyone is stunning in their own unique way and that no one should feel the need to conform to a certain standard of beauty to feel beautiful, male or female. I could sit here and tell you that the measurement of your waistline is not a reflection of your worth. I completely believe every single one of these things.

Hell, I've shared these exact thoughts more times than I can count. This time around, however, I'm not going to say all these things. Instead, I'm begging you to push your insecurities to the side and fake some confidence in yourself when you're in front of others.

Why?

Because our negative self-image is toxic and contagious and we're spreading this negative thinking on to others.

We're all guilty of this, we're with family or a friend and we make a nasty comment about some aspect of our appearance, not even giving a single thought to the impact our words have on the person with us. You might think that it shouldn't bother them- after all, we're not saying anything bad about them! We're just expressing our feelings about something we dislike about ourselves. While I agree that having conversations about our insecurities and feelings are important for our mental and emotional health, there is a proper and improper way of doing it. An open conversation can leave room for growth, acceptance, understanding, and healing. Making a rude or disheartening remark about yourself is destructive not only to yourself, but it will make the person you are saying these things around question their own self worth or body image by comparing themselves to you.

My little sister thinks she's "fat." She doesn't like how she looks. To use her own words, she thinks she's "too chubby" and that she "looks bad in everything."

She's 12 years old.

Do you want to know why she has this mindset? As her older sister, I failed in leading her by example. There were plenty of times when I was slightly younger, less sure of myself, and far more self-conscious than I am now, that I would look in the mirror and say that I looked too chubby, that my body didn't look good enough, that I wished I could change the size of my legs or stomach.

My little sister had to see the older sibling she looks up to, the big sis she thinks always looks beautiful, say awful and untrue things about herself because her own sense of body image was warped by media, puberty, and comparing herself to others.

My negativity rubbed off onto her and shaped how she looks at herself. I can just imagine her watching me fret over how I look thinking, "If she thinks she's too big, what does that make me?"

It makes me feel sick.

All of us are dealing with our own insecurities. It takes some of us longer than others to view ourselves in a positive, loving light. We're all working on ourselves every day, whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally. But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with, our struggles and insecurities should not form into their own burdens.

Work on yourself in private. Speak kindly of yourself in front of others. Let your positivity, real or not, spread to others instead of the bad feelings we have a bad habit of letting loose.

The little girls of the world don't need your or my negative self-image this summer. Another kid doesn't need to feel worthless because we couldn't be a little more loving to ourselves and a lot more conscious of what we say out loud.

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3 Tips For Saying Goodbye For The Summer

When a few months feels like forever...

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Summertime is wonderful! You get time out of school, you can do all these fun things you've been wanting to do, and you get to spend time with your friends. Sometimes, however, your friends have to go off for the summer. Whether they're visiting family, going on vacation for a while, or even just working all the time and not able to see you, it can be hard knowing that your friend isn't gonna be around during what's supposed to be the best time of the year. You know it's temporary, but it still stinks!

Well, I've had to do this a couple of times, so I know a thing or two about dealing with your friend being gone for the summer. I hope that these tips will help your friend feel a little bit closer and the wait seem a little bit shorter:

1. Set up a scheduled system of communication.

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Call, text, email, snail mail, etc. You guys chose the easiest method of communication, and you stick to it. Knowing exactly when to expect a phone call means a lot when you miss someone. It may be difficult finding time that works for both people, but even a scheduled call one time a week is better than not even knowing when you're gonna hear from someone. You can even have a unique way to communicate. Do you like games? You can do multiplayer games online and spend time together that way. Are you old fashioned and like writing letter? Send them a letter to let them know how you are. We live in a world with so many methods of communication, so find which one helps you stay in touch.

2. Stay busy.

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I have spent my fair share mopeing around, waiting for someone to call and hoping that they'd be back soon. That is the worst way to spend your time! Instead of wasting you summer waiting by the phone, go out and do something. Spend time with other friends, go to the beach, do anything you want! Don't waste your summer trying to make time go faster; it doesn't work. Do things that'll help get your mind off of your friend being gone. It'll get easier as time goes along, so make use of the time you have.

3. Don't hold it in.

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Having your friend go off can be tough, especially if it's a person you're very close with. It's okay! You aren't being silly if you feel sad. Some people may even feel hurt, like they're being left behind. That's okay too! What isn't okay is bottling it up and not talking to someone about it. What isn't okay is taking that fear and frustration out on other people, especially the friend that's gone. Talk to someone about it. Write some journal entries about how you're feeling. Don't sit around feeling sad and lonely and left behind. Get out of your own head and realize that everything will be okay. They didn't leave you behind, you're not gonna be sad forever, and everything will be okay.

Well, I hope you have a good summer! Yeah, that person has left, but they'll be back soon. Just live your summer day by day, and they'll be back before you know it!

Good luck!

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