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Saying Goodbye to Another Year

As 2018 comes to a swift close, I find myself as reflective as anyone.

I went to Europe for the first time this year. That was a huge event for me. I'm not exactly the most accomplished traveler by any means.

I started a new, fantastical relationship that's been far more amazing in my life than I could have ever imagined.

I finished and published my third novel (and the best I've written so far if I do say so myself...for now).

I moved into my own apartment for the first time in way too long.

Being the self-critical person that I am, however, I always find myself focusing on all the things I'd wished I'd done or would've gotten around to far more easily than I wish I did.

The passage of time is a strange thing for me. I tend to get too hung up on the notion of what could have been, what wasn't, what only I would do if I could now that it's over. I find myself struggling to say goodbye as days, months or years pass from one to the next. With 2018 ending in a matter of hours, that's it! I don't have a say any more. The year is just gone. I can no longer make any changes to it. I can't do any better in 2018 than I've already done once the new year rings itself in. I can't will the countdown to take any longer or the seconds to cease their marching...

And it drives me wild.

I struggle to focus on the good things, allowing myself to get caught up in what I wish I could change now.

If only I'd written more...

If only I'd marketed myself better...

If only I'd saved more money...

If only I'd pushed myself harder at the gym...

If only...

It's not like those thoughts aren't with me throughout the year, but the new year's celebration really brings it all bubbling to the surface. I'm going to be another year older in 2019. I'm going to be another year closer to not being able to accomplish anything anymore. Every period of time that ends is just another nail in the coffin between me and what I'd wished I'd done.

And I'm so tired of feeling that way.

So? What do I do about it? What can I do about it?

Among many things, 2018 was a year for me to learn far more about mindset. While I wish I could've gotten around to learning this valuable information a bit sooner in my life, I'm glad I've had the chance at all to start understanding the power I have to shape the way I see things, especially myself.

I'll be honest, I'm very predisposed to see the world as a pessimist and a cynic in a lot of ways. I tend to focus on the negative, or twist the positive into something worse than it is or should be.

But why?

If I'm being honest with myself, it's because I'm afraid. I get so terrified of coming up short, of not achieving the things I wish I could. So what's better than failing to get the things I reach for? Well it's not avoiding them with a sour attitude, but that's certainly the path I find myself inclined to take.

Even with this in mind, what's it all mean? Self-awareness only goes so far without something to do after the fact.

Honesty and confidence. These two things are some of the biggest issues I face everyday when sitting with myself. Honesty with myself about myself and the confidence in myself and my work necessary to have a fair shot at what I want.

I love my books. I love my writing. I'm very happy with the things I've created, but if you were to ask me about them? You'd be forgiven for assuming otherwise. Every time someone's asked me about my books, I freeze up. I get scared to elaborate, to talk about the stories and what makes them special or unique or why I love them so. What if that person doesn't like what I have to say? What if they think I'm conceited and full of myself and walk away? What if I submit my book to a contest and it loses? What if everyone that sees it hates it?

Problem is, I am just the worst at actually finding out. I don't let myself get that far, but I'm tired of being my own worst enemy. I'm tired of putting roadblocks in my way when there's already enough of them laid down by plenty of external factors I have no control over.

It's not going to be easy. It's not going to be a quick fix. I have no idea how I'll do. Giving over to bad habits, it's hard not to feel pessimistic about my challenges.

But dammit, I'm going to try.

There are some amazing, beautiful people in my life that have bent over backwards trying to help me see things differently, to see myself differently. I've learned a lot from them about trying to change the way I see things, or the way I talk about myself. I'm far from perfect. I know that, but that doesn't mean I can't practice celebrating the good instead of defeating myself with things that aren't even that bad or negative things I just make up out of habit.

I don't really care for new year's resolutions. They've always felt like putting too much hope on an instant change. Behaviors, habits, patterns don't just up and go because it's time to get a new calendar. Change is slow, gradual, it takes time. I'll probably still be working on trying to be more positive about myself 365 days from today.

So as I head forward into 2019, I'm simply trying to focus on the lessons I learned in 2018 (and many other years honestly). I'm going to hold those memories close and try to make sure I use every day I've got to focus on the good and push myself toward the better things I want in my life instead of putting up barriers to avoid failing to achieve the things I want for myself.

Thank you for joining me in this extraordinary world. I hope you all have a wonderful new year. May your past only help to build you a brighter future one day and one challenge at a time

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