for last year’s words

A quick and dirty 2017 retrospective.

Memories
Leaving medicine was the hardest and easiest thing I’ve ever done. I did something I thought was impossible, for all the reasons that you would imagine, and changed my life. And it was literally one of the best things.
– At the end of my stint in medicine, I took a trip to Berlin. Wandered around the city by myself looking at art, sketching in my book, thinking about my life, and generally learning how to be by myself again. My mom joined a few days later, and we had an amazing time reconnecting. I think our relationship improved substantially because of it.

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– I read kind of a lot of books. (The “Year in Books” feature on Goodreads is pretty fun – got these images from there.)

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Successes
– Developed a pretty good daily framework through a series of refinements.
– Became more self-aware through a lot of (sometimes painful) self-reflection as I was trying to piece together a life.
– Made some kick-ass macarons. And generally experimented with and made a lot more food.

Completed Inktober.
Won NaNoWriMo.
Wrote the first draft of a novel!

Works in Progress
– When I’m feeling discouraged about something, I lose time to unfulfilling, distracting dopamine drips. Mostly in the forms of the Twitter and YouTube. I do this sometimes as procrastination too, particularly when I’m not sure what the next steps are. (And given that all of this is somewhat uncharted territory for me, I’m never quite sure what the next steps are.)
– I get too focused on ritual and get side-tracked from process.
– I let myself get away with fulfilling the letter instead of the spirit of a thing.
– I’m holding onto a lot of self-loathing that needs to be confronted and addressed.

Lessons

  • Holy shit, I can do things. And I can do many things well. This is something I need to remember when I’m being mean to myself again.
  • Happiness is important.
    • And it’s a privilege to be able to prioritize that right now.
  • Process is constant. And process does not equal ritual.
    • Constant re-evaluation and reflection is necessary and critical.
    • The creep of entropy is relentless.
    • Let go or keep things for the right reasons.
  • It’s easy to forget the progress you’ve made if you only look forward.
  • Shifting from extrinsic to intrinsic is hard (but not impossible).
  • Change starts with honesty and kindness.

2017 was hard for a myriad of reasons and in pretty much all respects (social, cultural, political, personal, etc.). But even still, I’ve made a lot of progress.

Today is the last day of the year, and it also marks the end of six months living this new life. I’ve been amazed at and grateful for the support I’ve received. I feel different in this new place – lighter, freer, more open. And all I want to do is take this momentum into the new year and start keep kicking ass.