Friday, January 4, 2019

8 Things I'm Proud Of Myself For In 2018

Thinking back about each month of 2018 has brought about an abundance of mixed emotions. 2018 was definitely one of my most simultaneously challenging and rewarding years to date. I can look back through posts I wrote and think about where I was as I typed it up and all of the things that were going through my mind. I tried to share some of those things in real time (mainly in Step Into My Week posts), but a lot of what I struggled with in 2018 was summed up in this post: Major Life Update: What I’m Doing Next Year. That post in itself makes me smile and tear up especially now to see how everything worked out in the end (which tends to always be the case as unlikely as that seems in the process). 

While I still don’t feel like an adult by any means, many of the decisions I had to make throughout 2018 show signs of growing up. I thought it would be beneficial for me personally to look back on the past year as this one begins to reflect on some of the things that I am really proud of from 2018. In my family, we joke that my brother is Buzz and I am Woody for a number of reasons but namely because my brother seems to be good at just about everything. To date the three accomplishments I feel like I have on him are that I learned to tie my shoes first despite him being a year older than me, I can beat him in Wii boxing, and I am definitely more humble than he is. Sometime while we were both in college and home on a break, I started making the sound of a horn (more of me just saying toot, toot since I am so tone deaf) whenever he would begin to bragging on himself or tooting his own horn if you will. I can picture my family members doing the same thing as they read this post title and the eight different things I came up with. Hopefully, it doesn’t come across like bragging, but I want to highly encourage you to look back at what you’re proud of yourself for from the past year and write them down. It’s a good reminder as you’re making goals for the year to come and occasionally tooting your own horn is a reminder that you’re moving in the right direction. 

Quitting My Job
I was reading back through my Five Minute Journal from last year and there were so many times in the “things I’m grateful for” section where I wrote down the relief I felt from deciding to stop teaching/telling a mentor I wasn’t planning to teach/ and finally turning in the papers stating I wasn’t teaching next year. I’ve never considered myself a quitter in anything that I’ve done but quitting teaching was hands down the thing that I am most proud of myself for doing this year. When people ask what I did before my current job I have a tendency to tell them that T retired early from teaching. My roommate thinks it is hilarious that I phrase it this way, but ultimately it makes me feel better about the decision I made. I am proud of myself for realizing that teaching wasn’t working for me, that I had other interests worthy of pursuing, and coming to terms with the fact that I would undoubtedly be letting people down by doing this and knowing that was ok because it was in my best interest. As a planner, I am even more proud of myself for making this choice without necessarily knowing what was next. 2018 was certainly a year of change because of this, but I am so relieved that I chose to make that change and fully embrace it. 

Taking Risks & Moving Without Plans In Place
Tying along with quitting my job, weighing the pros and cons of taking a risk and moving to a place I wanted to live without plans in place is another thing I am so proud of myself for. I can’t remember what post I went into detail about some of the details behind moving (like randomly texting my now roommate because she is from Birmingham to see if she knew of anyone moving and later her randomly getting a call about a job in Birmingham and us deciding to live together. Or even finding a house to rent two days before leaving South Carolina and being able to move my stuff directly into it instead of the storage unit we had lined up in Birmingham) but it was the perfect reminder that everything happens for a reason and finds a way of working itself out. Thinking back to the weekend of my graduation from grad school and moving is. Almost exhausting with all that was happening at the time (like a job interview the following Monday in Birmingham). I am proud of myself for talking to my parents about how much I was able to save during my time teaching knowing that this was a risk I wanted to take and them realizing that I wasn’t entirely asking for permission to take this risk but instead could financially support myself in doing this. While I didn’t have a job lined up when making the decision, looking back now the timing of my move and getting a job could not have been better (and I'm also grateful that it gave me a few weeks with my family at home before jumping into life’s next big adventure). 

Putting Myself First
Somehow everything seems to be tied back to quitting my job, but making decisions in which I put myself first is not a common trend for me. I have always been a bit of a people pleaser and have a tendency to put other’s needs before my own. While I know, it is not the case that this is the first time I’ve put myself first (not that selfless) this is one of the first substantial decisions in which I did that. In another way, since moving, I have learned how to do a better job of taking care of myself. In another way, since moving, I have learned how to do a better job of taking care of myself too. From getting back into working out, going to sleep earlier, and not spending entire weekends working I am counting this as a major win

Coming Out Of My Shell
 I am definitely an introvert. I get energy from being alone. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy socializing and spending time with others though. One thing that I learned about myself/am proud of myself for this past year was coming out of my shell a little more. Because of how run down I felt teaching, I made a point of having a lot more fun this year. From doing things I normally wouldn’t prioritize to hanging out with people that I may not have foreseen myself hanging out with I shed my shell a bit and wasn’t quite so reserved. Although 2018 was tough in a lot of ways, it was a lot of fun too. I am proud of myself for making such an effort to keep up the fun when moving to Birmingham and in turn fostered friendships that helped to make me feel at home here. 

Being Intentional
 Although this is something that can always be worked on, I would consider myself a very intentional person. Friends have described me as thoughtful which is one of the best compliments I feel like I could get. With being out of college and then also moving this year, my friends and I are more spread out. I am proud of myself for putting the time and energy into keeping those relationships up and being intentional with the people I surround myself with. 

Getting Back Into Working Out
 At first, I didn’t think this was worth including since the first half of this year was filled with very few workouts. I would be so mentally and physically drained from days at school that working out was not a priority. Fast forward to September, and now I’m back into the groove and am glad that I chose to commit to it. While there are times when I don’t want to leave work at 5:30 and head to the gym I find myself there usually at least 3 times a week. I am hoping this is something that I continue to be proud of myself for in 2019.

Being More Vulnerable
I am a perfectionist and a planner meaning that I like to know what I’m doing and prefer for other people to think I’ve got that figured out as well. Deciding to stop teaching and opening up to my mentor and friends about this was about as far from my plans as I expected and in turn the most vulnerable I’ve been. It was something that led to meaningful conversations and a support system that wouldn’t have known I needed their encouragement had I not been honest. After realizing the importance of this, I’ve tried to make it a point to be more vulnerable with the people I spend time with. I don’t really like emotions so doing this isn’t always the easiest for me, but based on how crucial it was at the beginning of the year I am proud of myself for keeping it up. 

Creating a Morning Routine I Look Forward To
This last one may seem a little bit random, but I think it is important nonetheless. Having a morning routine in place that I look forward to makes waking up and getting out of bed so much less of a drag. I am proud of myself for committing to stick to my Five Minute Journal and reading my devotional and have even added in reading for pleasure to that time. While I know it’s not ideal to wake up any earlier to for work, I am glad that I came to realize how well this routine impacts my whole day. 

When Nell called me on my birthday last week, I think she put it best (although she may have been slightly overly enthusiastic since I don’t like my birthday and she was trying to make it seem more fun). She told me that she was convinced that 2019 will be my best year yet because I have a job I love, am living in a place I’m happy to call home, and have made some fantastic friends in the process. It certainly is shaping up to be pretty promising, and my fingers are crossed that she is right. Hopefully, I’ll have just as many things to be proud of in 2019, and I look forward to reflecting on those in 361ish days! 

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