For my Work in Progress Wednesday goal this month, I wanted to use December as an opportunity for reflection. I’ll be honest and say that most of my reflecting happened in the past week and a half or so because this Christmas was just so busy. So while this wasn’t something I necessarily had on my mind all month, I do believe that thinking back has made an impact on my mindset in the last 10 days.
For me, one of my favorite things to do—or something I’m rather naturally inclined to do—is to reflect on the past in order to decide my path for the future. As I got thinking, I decided to share what my most important lessons were month by month. Here’s a look back on my 2018 and all the lessons I learned.
Earlier this year, I realized that the media I was consuming was having a greater effect on my self-perception that I’d like it to. Every platform was full of clutter that I just didn’t want floating around my life anymore. In particular, I noticed that this media impacted my body image.
Most little girls grow up seeing images of perfect girls and women on TV, in magazines, and now online. We’ve all probably heard an Oprah-esque talk show segment about how harmful these images can be to young people (let’s be real, it impacts all children, not just girls). We learn what we’re supposed to strive for from media. We have family and friends to mold that too, but media teaches us what people think beyond our circles. And that’s a lot to take in when you’re young.
When I graduated from college in 2015, I remember that one of my first thoughts was I’ll never have a summer break again. When you’ve been a student for nearly the first 22 years of your life, transitioning to working full-time year-round can be kind of daunting. Why is it that all the things that add up to the challenge of adulting only manage to reveal themselves as they require head-on confrontation? Three years into post-grad living, I’m learning that that’s life. It just keeps on coming. Then you think, Alright. Here we go. Another challenge to surmount. And then you do it.
But what happens when you get tired?
I knew that I wanted to be an English major by the time I was 14. English was not only a subject that I did well in, but it was also one that actually held my attention. I was an editor and contributor for the school literary magazine, and I even came third in a school-wide poetry recitation contest. But I always had trouble saying, “I like reading.”
Let me first say that I love books. I love holding a book in my hands. Mid-size paperbacks with soft pages and flexible spines−man, they are the best. I like walking around knowing that I have a book in my bag, that I could close out the world and just focus on the piece of work in my hands. If I wanted to. I’m so comfortable in bookstores, and libraries make me feel the kind of excitement you get before you go to see a show. But I wouldn’t be 100% honest if I said, “I like reading.”
Consider this a down payment on my future.
Three and a half weeks ago, I was awake at 4:00 am staring at the wall of my hotel room. I was on a work trip and I couldn’t sleep. No matter where I tried to take them, my thoughts kept being chased by this one phrase: invest in yourself.
I was attending a marketing conference, and while I picked up a lot of tips and inspiration for my work, I couldn’t help but gather some for my personal development as well.
The idea that the most important thing you can invest in is yourself was a common thread among a lot of the sessions I attended. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense to me. Even if you’re not beginning some entrepreneurial journey, investing in yourself is going to have ripples that positively impact so many other parts of your life. If I invest in myself, I’m going to be a better wife, daughter, friend, employee, human.