At the end of a job or internship, there’s often some sort of post-employment review or exit interview. When I use apps like Instagram or Lyft, I’m always prompted mid-use to rate the software. Whenever I get a package from Amazon, I get emails asking me to review the shower Bluetooth speaker or teeth whitener I’ve bought (yes, yes, I know the Crest whitener was probably a pointless purchase as the amount of coffee I drink will likely never allow me acquire pearly white teeth).
But there’s not really a review process for evaluating one’s self, except perhaps informally when you’ve drained your glass of Chardonnay at a New Year’s Eve party thinking about how your life’s a joke, your broke and your love life’s DOA (*clap clap clap clap*). Or at the very least, it’s not where you want it to be.
I’ve recently turned another year older and when that happens, I tend to treat it as a sort of annual self-review. It’s an opportunity to evaluate where I succeeded, where I failed, and where I tried again (and failed again). Perhaps consider the public nature of this post as an accountability mechanism, more for myself than anything.
A millennial with a millennial pink backdrop.
In my phone, I keep a draft of goals or things I want to accomplish over the year. On the list, (which was last updated probably sometime around June 2016) is comprised of the usuals; working out more/losing the fluff, reading more (aka less Netflix) and getting “out there” more.
Probably the biggest accomplishment I’ve had within the last year was career-related. I had the goal of either acquiring a new job by this summer or begin looking into grad programs if that didn’t work out. As highlighted two blogs ago, I did acquire a new job this summer. It’s way different than my last one, and there are many aspects I miss about my previous work. And while I’m not sure if this professional move will change the trajectory of my career life forever, it’s been a nice reprieve from some of the physical/mental (and occasionally emotional) burnout I’d been dealing with. Now, I feel I have more time to simply exist.
I’m also happy to report that this introvert has established a pretty solid friend base over the last year or so. I remember returning home after college, feeling pretty alone and lost those first few months (which, on the plus side, turned me into a semi-workaholic). I’m lucky to still be best friends with my first best friend, who I met in my kindergarten class almost 18 years ago. My sister, two years my senior, is also one of my best friends whom I can be my weirdest self with. I still keep in touch with my close college friends (one of whom has asked me to be a bridesmaid at her wedding in June). And the cluster of friends I’ve gotten to know through church or reconnected with after our college hiatuses, I feel quite grateful to have.
Quality over quantity!
That being said, I’ve also learned to let go of relationships that made me realize their futility. Ones that weren’t two-way streets and often felt more like a lonely stretch of highway.
Finally, I’m learning to take better care of myself. This doesn’t necessarily mean doing Whole 30 and posting pictures of my newfound abs and hash-tagging it with #ProgressNotPerfection, nor finding my chakra with the local yogis.
Though I haven’t been waking up at the crack of dawn to workout before driving to work for a good while, or paying much attention to my caloric intake, I think in a strange way, not giving as much of a crap about that has actually been healthier for me. I can truthfully say that it’s had literally NO impact on my BMI (actually it’s gone down by three since I last checked…yay stress?). It’s never NOT going to be something that won’t bother me, but it’s been a source of solace to not put so much stock into such trivial matters.
Hiking, a.k.a. quality time for exercising and addressing existential crises.
I’m trying to be better to myself in other health-related ways too. Since college, I’ve come to the realization that I’m a proud granny when it comes to my going out habits, and I don’t care if that makes me uncool. I LOVE my introverting time and am only willing to relinquish it in small doses.
Where I haven’t been as successful this year is harder, but nevertheless important, to admit.
It’s true what they say, about us being our own worst critics.
Sometimes I like who I am just enough to be moderately satisfied, and other times I’ll look in the mirror and say “Why are you like this?” Just depends on the day, I guess.
Despite having a certain kind of self-esteem, I struggle with pride. Not in the sense that I make sure everyone knows how great I am (note the sarcasm), I’ll find myself needing to have more, do more or be more than someone else; just enough to be a little ahead of the game.
The danger in this? Here’s what C.S. Lewis has to say about pride:
“Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest.”
I often play this comparison game when it comes to stalking my peers’ LinkedIn profiles.
I‘ll see how so-and-so, who possessed less intelligence than a certain floral trunk-donning starfish, somehow landed a job at a dot.com company, how another is embarking on a business internship to Hong Kong, and how another has 36 endorsements for each of the six skills they listed, as opposed to my 12 tendorsements total.
I’ve heard marathons often be used to illustrate the journey of life, but when you’re in the race, you’re still trying to outrun everyone else. Maybe I should think of my own life as a CrossFit membership, where I try to beat my personal best each week (and make the ridiculous price tag worth paying).
I usually bounce between having a carefree, Carpe Diem attitude, and wanting to take every precaution to ensure my house is earthquake safe, avoid being out too late when it’s just me and my female friends, and at times, avoid big, populated places where a terrorist act has recently been carried out.
The latter isn’t really a great way to live and sometimes, I fear those worries that’ll creep in take up too much of my brain space.
And other times, I think I put too much care into stupid things, like:
– When the person working at the movie theater hands me my tickets and says “Enjoy the movie,” and I accidentally say “You too” back.
– When I faceplant after landing on first base during a kickball game in front of everyone (this was two days ago)
– When I hear of not one, not two, but three separate incidents of a friend running into someone I dated and feeling embarrassed/reminded that there’s a reason why that verb is in the past tense.
What I actually NEED to use more of my brain space for is its creative side.
The fear of failure/realizing I have nothing of value to say/feeling that it’s all a waste of time has often made me feel like the shell of the [creative] person I used to be.
My goal is to be less fearful when it comes to putting it on the line. I’d like to believe that all the time I spend thinking, writing, erasing, re-typing and creating isn’t wasted, not matter what happens with these drafts I keep saving.