It’s 1/6 of the way through the year, and I’m taking another look at my goals for 2014. They’re as mundane as they are self-serving. Get in shape. Get a promotion. Continuing education. Learn to cook. Sure to excite no one but myself.
They look drastically different from my goals from previous years, as they’re all investments in myself. This is the first year in a long time that I’ve been content with goals that look like that.
To be honest, I haven’t invested in myself in a long time. I’ve been so busy with “giving back” that I haven’t spent much time at all balancing out my own life.
With the experiences I’ve had in the past few years, I probably should’ve grown much more as a person than I did. Instead, I spent my efforts moving on to the next one, too often, not taking the time and care to reflect, absorb, and grow into a better version of myself day by day. I too hastily just picked up the next thing that threw itself at me, eager to apply myself to make a difference in someone else’s life. I ended up experiencing a lot in life (and hopefully, making a bit of a difference) but how much have I really grown and matured from those experiences?
I used to be incredibly headstrong, outspoken and assertive (some would say I was contentious, overbearing and arrogant… different sides of the same coin). But throughout the way, I lost a bit of that.
I’ve always prided myself in being able to derive my own confidence from having a strong sense of self and a strong understanding of my own worldviews. With that self-awareness, I carried with me a self-confidence that never left my side - with or without external validation.
But things have changed. I’m noticing the repercussions of not investing in myself more and more. When I fail, it takes longer to pick myself up. When I foray into new things, I seek external validation every step of the way. I second-guess myself. I over-think things. I’m more emotionally unstable. I get confused easily, and I forget where I stand on things.
These are things that are easy to ignore when life is hectic and you’re out there trying to make a world of difference in everyone and their mothers’ lives. But I decided that in 2014, I will start carving out that time for myself.
I’ve stepped down from Acumen, I’ve said no to countless side projects, I’ve dropped out of workshops, I’ve limited my social scope significantly so that I would only spend my time with people that are important to me. The time and mindspace traded-off from this will be spent back in my own comfort zone and my inner circle.
Some say that everything I’m describing is just the quarter-life crisis. Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. But labels aside, a “quarter-life crisis” finds its roots in young people experiencing massive shifts in their lives without having enough self-awareness and confidence to ground them. I don’t want to be reactive to the massive shifts that are on my horizon in the next few years. I hope to refocus this year and start working towards building the best version of myself again so that I can regain that level of self-awareness and self-confidence to take on the world (mine and everyone else’s).