Reflecting Back and Looking Ahead

Haedong Yonggung Temple  in Busan, South Korea. 2017

Haedong Yonggung Temple in Busan, South Korea. 2017

2018 is right there. It's right in front of us, waiting to be embraced - to be lived. Naturally, the new year means something different to everyone. For some, it may mean achieving a goal or making a drastic and tangible change. Well for me, this horizon has me looking back on who I was (and who I thought I was) last year and thinking about what kind of person I want to be moving forward. Now, there's never a need to wait until a bridge like a birthday or new year appears to take control of your life and make whatever changes you need to. However, there's nothing like this type of inevitable milestone to kickstart that newness.

2017 held a lot of changes for me. I'm talking about physical changes in location and destination, mental and emotional changes, and even aesthetic changes to self. I felt like I was sort of all over the place, but as I reflect on the past 12 months, I realize that I was right where I needed to be when I needed to be there. My truth is that everything I receive (whether good or bad) in this life is for my betterment. Either I experience magic, or the scenario/person/job/whatever leads me to a much-needed lesson.

In order for me to live in the present each and every day, I had to cut the emotional and mental strings that were tying me to the past.

So 2018 for me looks like deep intention, confidence in myself and my decisions (huge), and gaining an understanding that I and my life are unique and incomparable.

Being intentional + present are a couple things I struggle with daily. I mean, it is much easier to let life happen (especially in my situation where many things are provided for me, and there's little to worry about - I know, let me check my privilege). But that's not what I want. I want to live this life fully feeling all the feelings there are to feel. So if that means I have to brace myself when the tide is too high for my land-legs, but that I also get to enjoy breathtaking ocean views, so be it. Being intentional (starting today and moving into the new year) transcends the palpable aspects of my life; it touches everything I do, think, say, accept, and interact with, holistically. If I'm honest, I had to do a bit of work for some time and forgive myself. In order for me to live in the present each and every day, I had to cut the emotional and mental strings that were tying me to the past. To illustrate, when I know I treated someone like shit, but I never faced the ugliness within myself and instead made them accept the onus of my actions, I had to set this pride aside and extend apologies while forgiving myself. I believe that if you don't allow yourself to grow from your weakness, you can never be better. That's what my self-forgiveness is. Also, I knew that that kind of life-sucking behavior wouldn't let me develop authentic and healthy relationships with myself and others in the future.

Being intentional in 2018 also comes down to what I consume, whether food, media, or people's energies. All of these things are important for me to cultivate, as is being intentional about what I grant importance in my life, and what I choose to let go of and not be so stringent about. This idea of living consciously just manifests itself in different ways.’s a much wiser use of energy to think about what you want, what success and achievement look like to you and how you want to attain them.

When it comes to being confident in the decisions I make, I, like most others, just want to feel a sense of wholeness when I say, "That's what I want," and a sense of satisfaction when what I chose to engage with has positive returns. Now, I understand that I can't control what returns I'll get when I choose what I want to invest in, but I can control my decisions (God gave us free will, people). It's now about me thinking things like: How does this choice benefit my life and/or the lives of others? What positivity will come from this? Will this fill me or make me happy? For so long, I've been measuring my life's decisions against what my peers are doing, but you only see the output of others' lives and not the work they put in. That in and of itself makes my efforts to live like the Joneses completely futile. Though many of my decisions will affect people other than myself, I am the one to point the finger and give it a seal of approval or send it packing.

Those last few points help me segue into this concept of understanding that people are incomparable. There's nothing to gain from holding another person as a benchmark and working towards what they have. Rather, I think it's a much wiser use of energy to think about what you want, what success and achievement look like to you and how you want to attain them. Conversely, there is nothing to gain from looking down on someone for not being where you are in life. Like I alluded to, success is relative, and it's truly none of our damn business what other people are doing in their lives when we aren't impacted either way. However, I still think we can appreciate the differences in people while being inspired by them.

I know I can sound rather life-coachy and self-helpy, but I have grown so much in the past year, month, week even, and I just want to share in the hopes that someone will be inspired or can relate. This life for me right now is about fertilizing my relationships, self, the work that I'm doing in the world - it's about trying to be the best me at every stage (valleys included - valleys emphasized). It's about being unstoppable and trailblazing; it's about living and being sensational. It's about continual growth.

With that, I wish you your personal definition of success in 2018 and gently implore you to look inward + reflect back while looking ahead. Happy New Year!