The distance between the beginning of 2016 and the end of it feels like ten years because of how much I grew over the year. I know that the general consensus is that 2016 was a train wreck, and while I do agree, to some extent, I’m choosing to focus on the hope and good things that come out of challenging experiences.
So essentially, here are some of the things that made 2016 feel like ten years instead of one.
Ending my book blog
I’ve been blogging for three years, but it really wasn’t hard for me to let go. Even if I finally got some opportunities that I wanted at the beginning, like actually being noticed by publishers and getting books sent to me, but I realized that I wasn’t really enjoying being in the community anymore, especially since so much of what was happening was in contradiction with my own personal values and goals.
It was tough realizing that this wasn’t the place for me to grow, considering everybody else’s mindset about money and success. And when quitting my Twitter felt like entering my nice, air-conditioned bedroom after pushing and sweating through a crowd, I just knew that this was the end for my book blogging. I’ll forever be grateful that it gave me a purpose during high school and for all the things I learned through it, though.
Being a beginner, again and again
This was such a year of new beginnings for me. I tried entering a new community on Tumblr. I started this blog because I couldn’t imagine life without one, and along the way, I started learning how the backend of hosting a website looks like. I took the plunge and started selling something physical. For the first time in my life, I paid for something worth about 20,000 pesos with my own money.
And offline, I finished my first year of college, but I started the next semester on a completely different track. I met new people who were awesome. I took a trip on my own without my parents. I started cooking meals for myself. I attended a networking event, and I got my first internship in college.
Some of those things might not seem such a big deal, and even I feel that way about some of those things right now. But looking over those things, I still feel an echo of the anxiety I felt trying those things out. For some of the others, such as working with physical products, I was terrified at the idea that it could fail. But I kept telling myself that I just had to start, that failure was always better than success in my imagination because that’s just plain nothing. And now here I am, ready to be terrified by something new.
Putting in the work
As mentioned, I took an internship, but I also took the chance and invested in learning more. I took an online class about goals, and I joined the Community. I’ve been listening to seanwes for three years now, and finally getting in there after hearing about it for so long had me feeling so happy. To top it off, I paid for it with my own money. ❤️ That feeling of finally getting something you’ve worked so hard for is just wonderful.
And in the second half of 2016, I decided to work on my journal more. I took a look back, and I realized that not only could I see how far I’ve progressed, but I could also remember the excitement and the joy I felt during certain times because I could also remember writing it. The combination of writing and photos help trigger the memories, and I know that the effort I’m putting into my journal would be something I’ll appreciate in the future. It definitely dragged me out of a lot of depressive funks (and I just realized that I haven’t had any for a while now like what)
I also tried maintaining posting thrice a week, and I was able to achieve that, for a while. Here’s to being able to do it again this year.
As much as I like good surprises, I don’t really love them. It’s just hard for me to feel anything for something I didn’t have to work for. So I was happier to get approved for a shop on CreativeMarket than being asked to teach on Skillshare. I had followed Skillshare so much during high school, so it felt surreal to just see that email sitting in my inbox, but I felt pretty meh about the opportunity to teach on the site.
But I was over the moon when I realized that I had made a profit in 2016. I didn’t expect myself to, especially after all the things I bought, so this was amazing. My income generally comes from things that I put a lot of work into, so it was absolutely heart-warming to finish double-checking everything and realizing that I didn’t just break even, I made a profit. *does a victory dance*
Lots of reflections
I spent a lot of time being honest with myself in 2016, beginning with the realization that I wasn’t enjoying being part of the bookish community anymore, especially because it was a community that was always going to be materialistic and everything I wasn’t. It also helped that my Design Thinking class last semester had weekly reflections as a part of the class, and I made some major breakthroughs in those when I stopped caring what the teacher might think and just brought out all what I truly thought.
And I made plenty of realizations this year, one of them being that taking the time to sit and process the events in my life led to realizations. But generally, I feel like this is what made this year feel so long. Continually examining my life had me being more aware of it, and along the way, I became more aware of my progress. It’s insane to think that my situation could change so much in a matter of months, but it did. But I don’t think I would have even recognized change if I didn’t try to process things every now and then.
My takeaways from 2016
Say “I can” when I want to say “I can’t”
I’m terrified a lot. I’m completely aware of all my shortcomings, and I’m quite fond of this comfort zone of mine. But then I look at the cool surprises that came my way, and after reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad, I believe that if those things can come my way without me expecting it, I can do even more if I intend to attain them.
So here’s to keeping my aims high.
taking the time to process and document is important
When I get jealous or when something bad happens, such as in politics, I sometimes end up falling in a very dark mindset, where I’m constantly thinking that there’s absolutely no point in doing anything.
But the last few times that it happened to me, I read my journal to look back on everything, and the realization that I have come such a long way has been ingrained in me ever since. The last time that I did fall in that state, I was quick to recognize it and then quickly act to put an end to it. And all my time spent reflecting only tied in into all that gratefulness, but it also led me to my next point.
Be continuously honest with myself.
I have always been about being honest, but I just realized this year just how very little I have been honest with myself. For example, I chose a track in college that I didn’t like because my parents liked it, and my second year was so much better after switching over to something that I enjoyed. I was honest with myself about what I was and wasn’t capable of. I even made a list of all the things that I was afraid of being judged for.
And now, I’m more at peace with myself and where I am in life because of it, so I’m keeping honesty as the North Star in my life from now on.