I don’t really know how to start this year except to say, damn I’m happy we’ve all made it to 2017.
I wrote a post last year at this time about how 2015 was a pretty rough year. It was a year of terrible work experiences, multiple let downs, and a lot of growing up. I started 2016 with so much uncertainty on everything in my life and I could feel my anxiety about the future starting to rip me apart. My anxiety was telling me “You can’t do it. You will fail” and I was starting to believe it as I went through many internship interviews that didn’t end in offers. As the winter ended I was more stressed than I have probably ever been in my life and it definitely wasn’t healthy.
Luckily, I’ve always been surrounded by an incredibly supportive network of family and friends who made me realize that the reason for my anxiety and feeling of failure was because I was trying to do and be something that wasn’t me. I was applying for jobs that I could never actually picture myself doing and I was forcing myself to try and to conform to this prescribed career path and life that wasn’t what I really wanted. I realized that trying to fit into this mold wasn’t working, and I had to find a way to do what would make me happy.
Now I wouldn’t say the moment I had this realization all my anxiety fell away, but what did happen is that I found myself making choices that led to experiences and opportunities I was actually excited about. I left interviews raving about the people I’d met and imagining myself working for the company. I stopped doing things I didn’t actually want to do and spent that time focusing on me and what I love. The changed I made led to two amazing internships that not only helped me figure out where I’d like my career to take me, but also made me confident in the fact that I can and will succeed. These experiences allowed me to meet people whom I truly admire and hope to be like someday, something that I’d never really had at work before. By pursuing the things I really love I was given opportunities like speaking on a panel of bloggers and made some of the best memories on spontaneous trips (Example 1, 2 & 3).
Letting go of the fear of not doing what others wanted or expected and instead just focusing on my dreams and passions made 2016 one of my best years yet. So, instead of trying to make plans or goals for 2017 (because can we ever really predict the future?), I’m making a promise to myself to keep working hard to create a life that I love and making choices that are based on what I want, not what others expect.
For everyone out there, whether you’re a senior in high school waiting on college decisions, a senior in college on the job hunt, or a 30-something feeling in a rut, I challenge you do the same. Believe in your ability to create a life for yourself and we’ll all make 2017 an amazing year.