Like so many others, I wanted to change a lot of things about my life this year. Or maybe “change” isn’t the proper word; I wanted more of an upgrade. I filled my bullet journal with personal, work-related, and financial goals and then ran out of space on the page. These goals weren’t exactly “resolutions,” but roadmaps. I wanted to be very clear with where I invested my energy this year. And I’ll be honest: it’s been kind of rough keeping up with them all.
It’s not that the goals I made are unrealistic.
In fact, I even aimed under some of my expectations so I could hit my goals easier, feel good about myself, and then tackle more once I was motivated. In the past, setting the bar too high has discouraged me from even trying. So I decided to make goals that were more about personal growth than numbers. I settled on achievements with kind, flexible deadlines.
At first, January started out fine. I was on track. I had great intentions. But then it turned disheartening real fast. Australia was burning. World War III was trending. And just recently, Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven others were killed in a tragic helicopter accident. If January taught me anything, it’s that life as we know it is fragile, and none of us are here forever. So this month, I found myself slowing down.
I decided my goals could wait a moment.
Suddenly, I realized I was living in the future instead of taking care of me in the present. I decided to ease up and give myself time to reflect. My grey elephant-stamped bullet journal became my best friend. I journaled more and wrote down all my triggers, worries, and upsets so I could pull them apart and look a little deeper. The truth is, a lot of things were bothering me this month, not just the aforementioned tragedies. And I realized I needed to take a moment and give those feelings the attention they deserved.
In the midst of all this, I settled into my new job at Nautica. After challenging days at work trying to sell clothes and write copy, I tried to keep things simple at home. I’d come back after a long day, plop down on the floor, and spend a few minutes playing with my dog. It remains one of my favorite parts of my day. Then, after dinner, I’d gather the pillows and blankets and cuddle up with her and my boyfriend. We’d watch Succession (and laugh) and The Outsider (and cover my eyes). At night, I slowly outlined the projects I wanted to begin when I was ready. I escaped to Galar when life became too hard.
After rest, there’s reward.
Now, after a January full of contemplation, I feel like I am ready to start working on my projects again. It’s both exciting and scary when I think about it. Setting out to do something is always that way, isn’t it? Sharing my personal writing has always been a scary thing for me because it requires openness without the guarantee of kindness and acceptance in return. And that’s never easy.
But it’s like I said: If January taught me anything, it’s that life is fragile. None of us are here forever. So slow down and reflect. Work on your goals when you’re ready. Be honest with yourself while you can.
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Megan Portorreal is a professional writer, editor, and creative in the New York City area. In her spare time, she enjoys reading books, writing about her life, and playing video games.