I was talking to a friend recently, who gave me some sound advice courtesy of her grandmother. She said “if you want to be remembered, keep a journal.” So, I decided that this year I would challenge myself to keep a daily journal as an unofficial “New Years Resolution.” Honestly, daily self-reflection is a healthy habit I desperately need to get back into.
I used to keep journals as a teen. But every time I would find one years later I’d be so embarrassed by my past self that I would immediately burn the evidence, so unfortunately none of them have survived. But being ashamed of your past is so 2018. We’ve made amends, we’re pals now. She got me to where I am now, just like I’ll get my future self to where she will be 10 years from now. But I digress. With any luck, this journal will hopefully survive. Maybe no one will ever read it, and maybe 50 years from now some kid will find it under the floorboards and make a Tiktok series about it?
Anyway. Lo and behold, today as I wrote my very first entry, I had a bit of a personal epiphany.
Historically, I’ve been terrible at keeping specific New Years Resolutions. Instead, I normally try to stick with a loose “theme” throughout the year. For 2021, that theme was “career.” I’m not quite sure that word quite captures exactly what I was trying to achieve, but it will do. Basically I wanted to establish and nurture my budding career as a creative professional through hard work and consistency. And, if I can toot my own horn for just a sec, it really did blossom.
Due to–you know–everything (I feel no need to elaborate) I feel somewhat guilty admitting that 2021 was, all things considered, a pretty decent year on the homefront. I left my abusive job and found one that I love, with an amazing team that makes me feel valued and respected. My new job also allows me to continue my writing, which was a huge focus of mine this year. I accepted a publication offer on my very first foray into fiction and I’ve been having a blast with fiction writing. I even met the goal I set for myself to gain 2,000 Twitter followers before the end of the year, so I can start promoting Elaine’s Gift! (If you’re here from Twitter, THANK YOU!)
I also pledged to make more of an effort to nurture my relationships with the people I care about, and considering the fact that COVID has made human contact nearly impossible, I think I’ve succeeded in that goal, for the most part. In 2021 I also made some pretty major mental health and spiritual strides. Despite still being broke as hell (not to mention stuck in the grip of a global pandemic) somehow I feel happier than I’ve ever been. My loved ones are safe and healthy… something I pray to whatever is out there will continue in 2022. I feel incredibly privileged to have made so many wonderful memories this year, I know many of us spent a large part of it just trying to survive.
Which brings me back to my journaling epiphany earlier today. This year, I reminded myself a bit of the Energizer Bunny. Did I just date myself, or is that still a thing? Anyway, I was almost always “on.” I spent so much time trying to be productive, maintain some semblance of a social life, and build a solid foundation for our future that I forgot to make time to care for myself. I was always thinking, planning and working.
Which is why, for 2022, I’ve decided on the theme of balance. Instead of making specific resolutions like “read x number of books per week” or “work out x times per week” I’m simply going to promise myself that I will do my very best to take care of my body, mind and soul this year. I’m going to make time for the things that nurture me, like reading, hiking and kayaking and meditation. By no means does this mean the drive and focus I gained toward my career this past year is going to be sidelined. On the contrary, I have big plans for this year. But I also acknowledge that self-care is as important to success as hard work, and in 2022 I plan to better incorporate that into my daily life.
Happy New Year, everyone. I hope 2022 treats you kindly. Sound off in the comments: what are your goals for this year?
© Victoria St. Michael 2021
See Also: The 2021 Holiday Tag