Happy New Year, my friends!
Boy, do I have resolutions. I have about 10. I won’t share them all in this post. However, I am going to tell you all about the pitfalls and successes of 2015, and how I am going to take those, make them 50x better, and then apply it all in 2016.
A lot of our goals in life revolve around achieving “happiness” and being “happier” but I must admit, thinking about my life in retrospect, I don’t believe that is a very realistic goal.
It was, of course, my goal for years. I would spatter my walls with quotes about happiness and I focused so intensely on achieving “happy”.
It wasn’t until I sought balance did I achieve a more radiant life.
That’s Success #1 of 2015:
I came to accept every emotion of the spectrum as a part of life.
Happiness is not at all a constant state of being; it is found in moments. It is found in petting puppies and driving at sunset. It hides in the relaxed eyes of your best friend as they talk about how perfect their day was, despite your own personally crappy one. As well as in the big deep breath you take after crying your eyes out.
I couldn’t pursue happiness in itself. I simply practiced identifying good and happy moments in my day-to-day life, allowing myself to fully appreciate how bright and beautiful living actually is. When someone says, “Stop focusing on the negative,” I think a more effective piece of advice would be, “Seek out the positive.” Looking on the bright side is such a useful tool, and it makes the world and the weight on your shoulders so much lighter.
Now, Pitfall #1 of 2015: I settled for a lot of mediocre.
I realized it early in the year, but didn’t come to fix it until September, and still lapse now and again.
Allow me to explain~
Last year, I strained my brain, heart, and eyes finishing an awful movie on Netflix. I lied in bed and spent 3 hours reading a book that really could not have been worse. I finished a bowl of stale cereal swimming in 0% milk. My heart routinely clung onto stale, expired feelings that caused weeks and months of stress over boys who continue to prove that they are not worth the heartache. I have left the gym countless times, filled with regret, feeling like I could have put in more work.
How could I do that to myself? Why settle for things so cripplingly mediocre to the point where I’ve wasted at least 5 hours of productivity, 300 of my daily calories, months of emotional stability, and handfuls of leg days and chest/tri days?
I refuse to allow myself to wallow in something so sinisterly average ever again! No more mediocre relationships, no more mediocre feelings, no more mediocre outfits or books. No more settling. It’s time to live.
Success and Pitfall #2: When I set my heart on something, I owned it, and never looked back.
While I was attending classes during the Stanford Summer College Program, I did not hesitate to post it all over social media. Not bragging, (at least, not trying to brag, and if it came off as braggy, I sincerely apologize) but still making it very apparent that I was there. I posted pictures of the beautiful campus, of my wonderful friends, tweeted about Finals Week stress and, of course, Snapchatted every bike ride, laughing fit, and legendary ice cream cone of every day.
However, this is pitfall-worthy because this added so much pressure when application season rolled around the next month. I came into my senior year three weeks late with a bit too much “Aren’t you already in?” and “You’ll get into Stanford, stop stressing,” for me to handle. It was all very flattering. However, the weight on my chest was increasing by the second.
I came to regret it, the closer it got to REA Decisions, but eventually, it circled back to the idea of liberating myself from the thoughts of others. If I didn’t get in, so what? Am I any less of a person? No. Of course not! Just another aspiring student subject to a highly intensive and intricate admissions process. Nothing less. And if people changed their opinion of me simply because I didn’t get into a school, then who needs them?
However, I will be more careful in being more sensitive to what I publicize. Someone once told me “not to show the grind, but only show results.” Take this advice with a grain of salt, just live your life and be as discerning as you want, and do what makes you happy.
Now, this die-hard dedication and love I have for things can also be considered a success because it motivated me to give nothing less than my best.
I’ve noticed in the past year that I dedicate my entire life and being to things I am passionate about.
At the beginning of the year, I wanted to be more eloquent, so I would read Sherlock Holmes aloud for an hour every night and write vocab words on my hands to use throughout the entire week. In the spring, I worked out at 11 pm after a late night rehearsal and a couple hours of homework, so that I could be fit for Junior Prom. Over summer, I ran 4 miles a day and weight lifted 5 times a week because I wanted to be strong. I revised my Stanford essays 13 times over the span of 3 months before submitting them. I write for at least 2-3 hours a day because this blog is my baby, and I absolutely love it. Sometimes I would leave the piano with neck aches from practicing for so long. And now that I want to be an astronaut, I’ve just been inhaling as much knowledge and preparing myself as much as possible to begin preparation for the next 30 years of my life.
What all of this means is that I work hard. And I am not afraid to admit that. None of the things I do come easy, and sometimes I go borderline crazy trying to fit everything I love within a mere 24 hours. However, I love it. I couldn’t be myself without this lifestyle. When I dedicate myself to something, I live and breathe that thing for the time being. That’s how you up the quality of your output– by upping the quality of your input. “Shoot for the moon; even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars,” is undeniably correct. Throw yourself into everything you do, because any effort less than your best might not even get you out of the thermosphere.
So, all in all, I learned a lot in 2015.
All to be summed up in the quote:
“You must participate relentlessly in the manifestation of your own blessings.”
— Elizabeth Gilbert
Now, how am I going to live more in 2016, you ask?
Well, my friend, I am going to reflect upon these things and continue to fuel my fire.
I will accept ups and downs as they are, allowing happiness to keep the world around me fresh and new. I will not settle for mediocrity or stand for shoddy experiences. I will continue to dive head first into all of my endeavors and never let up. I will keep recalculating and readjusting, learning and loving, laughing and crying, studying and dancing. I will continue to live unapologetically and be as “me” as possible.
That’s how I’ll be 100x more alive than in 2015.
I am going to fly.
And hope that you’ll fly with me, too. 🙂