10 Questions Before 2021 Ends
Kinda cheesy, but fully okay. Here’s to keeping it short.
- What am I grateful happened this year?
In no particular order: acceptance into my PhD program & starting it, becoming actual best friends with my best friend, deciding to restart water polo and challenge myself with being part of a team again. And I finally decided to start working on myself in a new way. I came to terms with a lot about myself & made actual changes, and will continue to do so. But it’s interesting — none of these things “happened” to me, I worked for them. In terms of what happened to me — I’m grateful I experienced some versions of heartbreak as well as the good moments where I felt validated and important and appreciated by the new connections I made.
- What hard things did I overcome this year?
Self-doubt — still ever-present, but much less annoying. Loneliness — I mean I’m fine with being alone, but being lonely is a different game. I wouldn’t say I overcame it — I just didn’t let it entirely overwhelm me. Sports during COVID — I mean, it was only a semester, but it was one of the toughest periods of work I’ve been through. I just felt…alone, living by myself in Atlanta just so I could have a job.
- What did 2021 teach me?
I have a lot to offer the world, but I’m often the last person to see it. I don’t have to be friends with everyone. I won’t be friends with everyone. Friendships take time and effort. Friends can be in different areas of your life — comedy, fitness, self-growth, athletic training, whatever it may be. Don’t give up so easily, and do things right most of the time.
- Who positively impacted my life this year?
My family — I’ve always felt like an outsider (self-inflicted and not true at all), and this was the first year that I felt like I was really there. My best friend, who was there for me through all my ups & downs — the first person who I think actually understands me. My new athletic training friends that I could vent to about life and health and such. My favorite athletes, who were completely unashamed to be themselves (aka weirdos, but in a nice way) and accepted me for who I was — they made me excited to go to work, even when I was deliriously tired & stressed out. The new faculty members & PhD students I get to interact with — intelligent beyond belief, welcoming, and understanding.
- How am I different than the person I was in January?
Well, I’m stressed in a completely different way. But I also feel like I have actual time to take care of myself physically and mentally. I weigh like, 10 more pounds than I did in January, which is…new to me, and I’m still wrestling with it. I’m way better at Olympic lifts, I think, which is nice. I am going about forming new relationships with people in a completely different way and putting myself first in the process.
- What relationships do I need to strengthen in 2022?
The first one that comes to mind is the one with myself, ew, gross, I know. But it’s so true. I finally was able to admit that I’m still hiding myself deep down, because with each rejection (of any kind, whether true or not) I stuff that bit of myself further down out of fear and shame. I still want other people to like me, sure, but not at the expense of my own joy. And this sounds like the most typical New Years’ Resolution ever, but you know what! I don’t care and it’s fine! Anyway, I also need to work on my relationships with colleagues & friends because the amount of time I spent in my head was not helpful.
- What do I need to start doing?
Under-thinking and going with the flow a little bit more, and being more open to new ideas and other ways to do things. But I also need to be more decisive. I need to be stricter with myself. I need to be more confident and also, calm and collected. I need to act more maturely and professionally, and recognize what I represent now. And…I need to get a therapist. Woohoo!
- What do I need to stop doing?
Overthinking. Only seeing the world my way. Letting my rage consume me.
- What do I need to keep doing?
Cultivating this tool of self-awareness. It has been my saving grace so many times this year. There were times I could simply recognize that there was something wrong, even if I couldn’t recognize the specific reason(s) for that. And then it led me towards trying to figure the issue out more quickly.
- What’s one small thing I can do to get 1% better everyday?
I don’t like this question because it implies that every day is better than the last. And that’s just not really true. I suppose you could argue something about having a 1% better attitude, but there’s still not a guarantee that will be better, and that’s okay too. I’m trying to see a grey area, alright! If I expect only a positive attitude, or only improvements, I’m going to be sorely disappointed. Instead I’ll just aim for my situational best, enjoy the really good moments, and allow the bad ones to happen without being too upset.