What I Learned In 2017 And What I Hope For In 2018
Like I said a few days ago, this year has been an absolute doozy. Not just personally, either. This year has been a doozy for just about everyone, I think. We (barely) survived our first year under the reign of a narcissistic, idiotic, sexual-harassing, ignorant, immature, hateful, tiny-hand, trigger-happy embarrassment, suffered through too many mass shootings and natural disasters to count and, as women, had our worst fears realized in learning just how much men of power have been getting away with for years. All that on top of our own personal drama had the potential for making 2017 a rough one.Thankfully, it wasn't all bad and provided me with some big revelations.
As my dating hiatus brought to light, 2017's romantic injustices pushed me to the edge (all my friends are dead (JK, they aren't. It's a song)) but this year also provided me several non-romantic revelations in the form of friendship, work, emotion, and a lot else.
Extroverts can be introverts, too.
I am a textbook extrovert or at least that's what I had claimed up until this year. For forever, I've considered myself a social butterfly; a person who required the company of others to feel alive, energized and, well, not alone. However, over the course of this year, I began noticing myself moving away from that more and more. I'm still incredibly social and feel the need to be in communication with people to feel connected, but the necessity of true alone time has become an overwhelming requirement in my life. Social media doesn't help. It's a platform that, if used for growing and promoting purposes, requires you to always be "on," which has ultimately resulted in me feeling more mentally drained by day's end than ever before. Therefore, the necessity of "turning off" in whatever fashion feels best has become imperative to my well-being. Maybe I'm just getting older. Or maybe I'm depressed? Either way, this year has made it apparent to me that I require just as much as alone time as social time to feel like a functioning human being and, as a life-long extrovert, it's been a weird revelation to navigate thus far. Having always been so extroverted, this newfound need for more solitude has caused me to turn a bit more inward resulting in not being that friend who's always available, always wanting to talk, always checking in. I look forward to the quiet moments in which I can set my phone down for a substantial amount of time and just be, and that's very new for me.
There are best friends and sometimes friends.
Being a very black and white person, this revelation has been hard for me to stomach. You see, when you operate within a black and white mentality, you do everything in your life 100% or you just don't do it. This is true when it comes to work, friends, romance, even your own cleanliness (which explains why some weeks, I haven't showered since Monday and others, I haven't skipped a beat with flossing, face masks, and fresh-shaven armpits every day). With this year came the realization that not everyone is going to be a best friend. You can try for it. You can go into it with every hope that this promising and exciting budding friendship will turn out just as fruitful as your other ride or dies. You can work hard to ingratiate yourself to them, include them in your life, and really get to know them, but with every other kind of relationship in your life, it may not be meant to be in the way you wanted it to be. I'm not partial to acquaintances just like I'm not partial to small talk. I hate it. It's pointless. You don't really care how I'm doing today and vice versa (this is why I am that bitch who doesn't say "Good morning!" back almost ever unless you're a barista because you're my best friend in the morning). But this year has served as a twofold reminder: Not everyone is going to be a best friend or even good friend, therefore making true best friends that much more vitally important and invaluable.
If you want something done, do it yourself.
I don't mean for this next revelation to come off as "You can't rely on anyone," but... you sort of can't. Whatever you want in life, be it fame, fortune, a new job, new opportunities — RELY ON NO ONE BUT YOU. This is something I've known for a long time, but 2017 served as a pulse-check. "You still know this, right? Good. Don't forget it." You have to be your own biggest champion, have your own back, and get your own shit done. No matter how well you might treat others or how supportive you are of their endeavors, there is no guarantee and a very slim chance they'll return the favor. Not to say I don't believe in karma or putting good vibes out into the world. I'm just reminding myself and you to not expect the same treatment in return. Prime example: After a promising email exchange (initiated by the other person) and two unanswered follow-ups, it looked like the opportunity to write for a great website was dead in the water. That is until I decided to take matters into my own hands and by-pass my connection by reaching out to the website myself, which resulted in an offer to contribute a piece by the end of January. Humans, by nature, are self-involved and have terrible follow-up. It doesn't make my connection or any of us shitty people — it's just a very ugly and real quality the majority of us possess. It's not natural to put others first; that is, it takes a lot of effort for people to think about others as much as you think about yourself, so you should never expect it. If you want something, go get it yourself. It's more rewarding that way anyway.
A watched pot legitimately doesn't boil and checking it will drive you fucking crazy.
This one is for fellow bloggers, creators, entrepreneurs — basically for anyone who's putting themselves out there in an effort to do something. Although social media can undoubtedly launch, propel, support, and help expose your career, watching your "stats" can launch, propel, support, and help your ultimate demise into crippling self-doubt, insanity and, if you're really lucky, result in you poisoning your own mind playing the comparison game. Although I've been blogging consistently for almost 8 years, I've only gotten intensely serious about it within the last four-ish months. And because of my control-freak tendencies, with this newfound seriousness has come an unhealthy obsession with likes, views, comments, shares, and the involuntary tick of continuously checking each. I quickly caught this unhealthy behavior and brought it up to my therapist. "What is checking all of that so often throughout the day going to do for you?" she challenged. "None of those stats is going to drastically change the course of the next minute or hour of your life" and by God, when she said that it was like being hit across the face with a big weiner. She's so right. Now, does that mean I always remember this sage advice? Of course not. As someone who puts herself out there on the daily with words and pictures in hopes of connecting with more and more readers, OF COURSE I care about the amount of people I'm reaching and engaging with. And seeing as though social media is arguably the most effective way to plug and promote yourself, the numbers do matter and they do effect me. I can't not care and I never won't. But refreshing my stats every four seconds isn't going to do anything in the moment besides drive me insane. All we can do is put stuff out there, promote it the best we can, then sit back and let it do its thing. Easier said than done when you have the insatiable desire to create and connect, but it's possible.
The best time to push back your cuticles is in the shower or freshly out of it.
What? I'm serious. I didn't know this until this year and it's the only positive, helpful piece of information one of my short-lived boyfriends provided me with during our courtship. Being able to push my cuticles back and then immediately cut them with such ease has been a game changer in the Golden household's bathroom and made this year a bit brighter.
Now, for some hopes in the coming year...
That I remain on this dating hiatus until I am 2000% sure I'm ready to put myself back out there and not a fraction of a percentage before.
That I continue to work on my often overwhelming anxiety, exercising the tools I've been taught over the last year.
That I get a headboard sometime soon because I desperately need/want one, I'm just broke as a joke thanks to the holiday season.
That I live out the most purposeful year of my life. I want 2018 to be a year in which I do everything (eat, work, love, hell even shower) with tenacious conviction. I want it to be the year of not doing anything just do it.
That emma's thing continues to grow. This (the ability to reach more people) has been my absolute biggest challenge since I started my blog, but has been magnified the last few months. Blogging, to me, used to be about writing first; everything else came second. It was a space for online journaling; a place to exercise your writing chops. Now, with the influx of fashion/food/lifestyle bloggers who aren't writers by-trade but rather by default, the actual writing itself is an afterthought. Not for me, though. I am, first and foremost, a writer. I write because I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I didn't. But if this year has shown me anything, it's that people don't like to read as much as they like pretty pictures, which makes being read or heard in this market extra challenging. While I love to throw my hat in the ring when it comes to those pretty pictures (because I do love photography as much as the next person), my words come first. So my hope for 2018 is that you stick with me as I continue to explore and experiment with emma's thing. That you engage with me, let me know when and why something speaks to you and, if I could be so bold, ask you to share me if you like me.
As I wrote in revelation 3, I know more than anyone that we are all innately in our own worlds. However, word-of-mouth is still the best form of advertising and the most organic way for me and my words to grow, so next time you find yourself really enjoying the fuck out of my content, do me the biggest favor I'll ever ask of my readers and tell a friend. Just one (or more if you want — I won't contest that). You guys are the best weapon I have in spreading the good, cussy (even though I've really pulled back on that in case you hadn't noticed), sometimes uncomfortable but always real word of emma's thing.
Love you all and wish nothing but health, happiness, and prosperity for you in the new year. Go out there and make it count.