When I was graduating college, I already felt like I’d lived several lives. I completed a year of service program where my understanding of myself and myself in relation to others was seriously challenged. I learned more about loving others and finding peace in myself than I thought possible.
I moved back to the east coast and I truly thought I had a grasp on how I hoped to lead my life. But my world has changed several more times since then. The year of 2016 was full of anxiety and uncertainty.
I was reminded that your glass will sometimes be full to the brim. There are people in your life that will offer you the option to spill some of that water into their glass for safe keeping. At least until you can drain some of the stuff floating around in your glass out. Among some of these lessons are three that helped me reframe 2016, and they are my three resolutions I will bring into 2017 with me.
1. Fail at something
In 2016, I failed to feel at ease or confident in my job. I went to work every morning and the complexities and intensity that filled the lives of the families I worked alongside made me doubt my own worth. I held so much fear that I held internally, and it never felt like there was room for me to let that fear go.
In wrapping all of that energy internally, I ultimately realized that I needed to move on from a job that consistently made my glass feel full to the brim. A job where there appeared no room for that water to overflow to. This role was rewarding in terms of what it taught me about using tools to leverage the strengths of individuals to achieve goals. Tools that I have taken with me as I have transitioned to new things.
Maybe the word fail sounds harsh. But in many ways quitting my job felt like it exemplified failure. And for now, I will continue to consider my failures as strange blessings. In 2017, I hope to fail at something. I now TRULY know failures whether they be big or small, bring about valuable realizations.
2. Make something
A few weeks after quitting my job, I went on a visit to Boston to see my sister. There was a mixture of feeling extremely down and depressed. Along with some hopeful undertones that would surface whenever a potential lead about ‘what’s next’ would pop up.
A friend called during that visit. I remember sharing bits and pieces of the philosophy a creative design company I looked up to has. One of the several things I often relied on to make it through the rough days.
The philosophy starts with identifying the challenges that arise. And shimmying down to the root of that challenge to alleviate it by making it more human, more simple, and feel more connected. I thought that if I could get to the root of my unhappiness and if I could identify those challenges, I could rediscover the beauty of the human experience. At that time, it was difficult to accept that I was in the middle of the human experience–that the suffering was part of the joy that is life.
I continued to apply this philosophy. Hoping to find roles that allowed me to feel more human, allowed me to celebrate the simple beauty of life, and invited me to feel more connected to who I was as a person. In the midst of this, I was searching for ways to do something I enjoyed–writing.
I made EternalMasonJar into an outlet where I could express myself more fully. The blog has taken several different shapes in past few months before it could become what it is today, but I stuck to it nonetheless. It gave me somewhere to turn if I needed something routine. It gave something to grow from if I wanted to learn something new. And to the 2,000+ viewers, I hope it has given you all something to check out.
In 2017, I will continue to make things, and build things that I can point to and be proud of. There is nothing more beautiful then being able to smirk, or smile or laugh at something you have been part of, or made all your own. So bring on the smiles!
3. Dream out loud
While on the phone with that friend, I remember putting out into the universe a specific ask. I was looking for an opportunity to be more creative, to innovate on a more regular basis. I felt compelled to use my degree and to do so for an organization making a social impact.
I had the opportunity to work alongside intelligent folks at Slow Food USA as an intern in a very technical database driven role for several months. Along the way it ultimately led me to the path I had voiced months prior while on that phone call with my friend. In order to get there though, I had spent months waking up like clock work to apply to several jobs, research companies, meet new people, attend events where I could broaden my network.
The thing that sticks out to me the most, is that through all of that I could feel myself waiting. Even when a potential-something would waltz into my life, it still did not feel likely, or true or authentic or more human to me. After months of seeking, a role made it’s way organically into my life.
If you don’t say things out loud, they might never manifest. If you don’t make small steps and seek out opportunities or experiences that excite you, you may remain unexcited. You will feel like you ought to never leave your bed. You may start everyday in tears and do nothing else for the rest of it. You might cancel plans because you can’t bring yourself to a place that feels calm.
In 2017, I will continue to dream out loud without fear of being ridiculed. I refuse to let my dreams remain stagnant. I will allow those tears to fall from failure. I will build something and smile over it. I will reach up to the sky and take a deep breath to calm the nerves. And I will face this year knowing that I have felt and known what it means to cared for and loved, and that I can do that for myself and for others too. Good-bye 2016, may 2017 build upon all that you have taught me.