I usually feel nostalgic towards the end of the year, but right now I’m looking forward to starting the new year. Not necessarily because 2016 was a bad year, it was actually one of my favorite, but because it was a hard one.
At the end of the year I usually determine how good or bad it was by what I’ve accomplished career-wise, but 2016 was (for the first time) a challenge in both my personal and career life. Although I feel I haven’t gone as far as I hoped in my work I’m also trying really hard not to compare myself to other people’s lives or equate it with how much money I made. A lot of my post-college life revolved around what I wanted to do with my life, not that that’s a horrible thing, but I realize it’s made me a bit (or a lot?) removed from the personal relationships I have.
The beginning of this year I went to visit my mom’s family in Kolkata, India for the first time and it put a lot of things into perspective. It was also when I said goodbye to some of the best people I’ve worked with and grown with at my full time job. This trip made me feel determined, grateful, and excited to come home to start freelancing again. But it also made me feel lost as I tried to figure out how to balance every day life (bills, relationships, money, family) and work (clients, getting jobs, maintaining side projects) again (my second time going freelance, but it felt like I was starting from square one).
Then, the end of this year shook me, hard. Aside from all the already horrible, hateful things that were happening in the world I started to piece together that it was going to affect my own life. Sounds selfish, but that’s how life works sometimes (not that it’s an excuse). No one cares or pays attention until it affects them or a loved one (for instance when someone close to you gets diagnosed with cancer or uncovers a health problem).
However, if you’re fortunate enough, in most bad situations good things surface and we find the silver linings. One thing that I always try to remind myself is, you can’t control other people’s actions, you can only control how you react to them. It’s sort of been my motto lately. Whenever I start to feel angry or sad or frustrated I remind myself that what I do next matters the most. I can choose to feel helpless or I can get out of bed and do something. Whether that’s exercise, read a book, or draw, I’m doing my best to hold myself accountable.