Things I’m Leaving In 2023, and Bringing Into 2024
2024 ins and outs. It’s the latest trend on the internet and everyone was posting about it when January 1st rolled around.
But not me!!!
Ins and outs are cool and all, but I prefer to set new goals at the beginning of each year. New Year’s Eve is actually my favorite holiday for a multitude of reasons, but mainly because it allows me the chance to envision what I want the next 365 days (or 366 days, in this year’s case) to look like. Instead of writing resolutions or telling myself what I’m not doing this year, I write out what I want to work on in the upcoming year to get closer to the version of myself that I truly want to be.
Along with that comes reflecting on the lessons I learned the year before. This is a hard and introspective task, but so worthwhile when working towards personal growth.
My friend and dear sorority sister Tayler asked me what lessons I learned in 2023 and what I’m working more towards in 2024. I had already written out my goals for the year, but her question made me realize that I wanted to dig a little deeper and understand what I really wanted out of the new year.
I have to start by acknowledging all that I accomplished last year. Every year, I find myself saying, “that was the hardest year of my life.” The reality is that life in general is just fucking hard. I accomplished a lot, both big and small, and it honestly feels really good to acknowledge it.
On a professional level, I reached a lot of milestones in my career that have greatly shaped me as a person too. I taught on my first ever dance convention, made it onto the LA Clippers Spirit Dance Team for a second season, booked my first leading role in a commercial, and started teaching pilates at an incredible studio in LA.
Although my professional accomplishments in 2023 were great, I think my accomplishments in my personal life far surpassed them. I made it through my first ever year on this earth without my dad, which is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Losing someone is complicated because you don’t know what life will look like without them, but you have no choice but to move on with your life. Waking up each day knowing that calling my dad isn’t an option anymore is something that has not and will not ever get easier. All I can do is take baby steps to find peace with this new reality.
Aside from that, I also grieved a five-year long relationship. However, this breakup taught me that not every relationship ends badly; sometimes they just end. Coming out of this relationship was shocking to me because so much of my life included this person, but it helped me settle more into who I am as an individual and allowed me to make choices to focus on my career, all while supporting my ex in his career as well. It was bittersweet, but I made it through, and I’m continuing to work towards growing into a stronger individual. (To be clear, I don’t view the breakup as an accomplishment; rather, I view pushing through the breakup as what I accomplished).
Another huge accomplishment I made last year was finding a network of friends that truly encouraged me to become the best version of myself. My friends are real with me, both through the good and the bad. They challenge me, they uplift me, they tell me when I do great things and when I could have made different choices, and they give me a space in which I can be myself and have fun while doing so. I’ve struggled with genuine friendships in the past, and 2023 allowed me to be more intentional with who I let into my circle, and I think that is a huge accomplishment!
So with those accomplishments, what did I learn in 2023? It was absolutely a year of lessons…and I don’t take those lessons for granted. I figured what I learned last year can best be summed up in this list:
You are the main character in your story, but not the main character in everyone’s stories. Each individual person is the main character in their own lives, and they have to make decisions that best enhance their story.
Every choice that you make is a choice against something else. When you choose to get a vanilla latte, you’re also choosing not to get everything else on the menu. This is valid with deeper choices, too.
You can be the victim and the villain all at the same time.
With that being said, it’s important to recognize when you are being the villain and take ownership of the mistakes that you made.
It’s okay to take risks. You won’t know if you don’t try.
Grief never goes away. Life goes on, sure, but grief lives with you permanently.
Grief can also be a happy thing. You can reminisce on things that happened with the person you’re grieving and allow it to make you smile.
Rest days are crucial and important. You can only hustle so hard before you completely burn out.
Book the flight. Money comes back. Time does not.
Do more of what makes you happy. You’ll thank yourself later.
Let’s move FORWARD now into 2024!!! 2023 is so last year!
What am I working on in 2024? The short answer is…a lot. But instead of claiming 2024 to be “my year,” I’m allowing 2024 to be the year that I remain focused on myself. I’m going to start being a little more selfish, but for the right reasons.
The biggest thing I’m working on is allowing myself to be more patient. I have clinically-diagnosed anxiety and panic disorder, so when things don’t move in the way I expect or want them to in the timing I expect or want, I start to lose touch with reality. However, I’ve learned that when I allow myself to sit and breathe for a moment, anxiety starts to subside. I still struggle with this, but finding patience allows me to live in the moment and not panic nearly as much.
I’m also working on doing things in a more fiscally conservative way. I am allllllll about ballin’ on a budget, but still living the life I desire for myself. I’m working on eating out less and making more food at home. I love to cook, so this is something I’m honestly enjoying. But also, if it’s not necessary, I try not to buy it. This is a lot easier said than done, but I know my wallet will appreciate it. (And if anyone wants to hang out and let me cook for them, come on over!)
Another thing I’m genuinely working on is taking more intentional time off. This is really hard for me! Now, every job that I work is in person, so when I travel (for non-work-related purposes), I’m off the clock. Before, I’d still have my work notifications on and would work while visiting family and friends. I was absolutely a workaholic and it was tarnishing my mental health. Now, I’m allowing myself time to visit with people and take days to do nothing. It adds more balance to my life. And hold me to it – I AM TAKING A REAL VACATION THIS YEAR!
I’d also like to say that each year, I give myself a word to focus on. Just one word that allows me to find a new element of growth. 2023’s word was GRATITUDE, which I found a challenging word. I went through a lot in 2023 that made it hard to remain grateful, but I kept reminding myself that gratitude can be found even in the most challenging times.
2024’s word is ALIGNMENT. Even when things don’t go my way, they are all working towards a greater picture, and that’s okay. The hardest part of accepting alignment is the “and that’s okay” part, as sometimes I don’t like to accept that what’s not meant for me will not happen for me. We want the job; we want the guy; we want the raise…but sometimes those things are not part of our story…and that’s okay. It’s all about alignment.
I’m honestly really looking forward to the rest of this year. I have a feeling that 2024 will be a year of growth, and a year that allows me to further explore who I am and who I want to be. I plan to hold myself to these goals and these lessons to make the most out of these 366 days.
What’s your biggest goal for 2024?