Remember that hilariously terrible 30 second "New Years resolutions" video clip Kylie Jenner released at the beginning of the year? Where her one prediction about 2016 was that we were all going to “realize things”? She broke the ground with that one. I got chills. She really shook us all to our core.
Astonishingly enough, I feel like essentially all I did during 2016 was realize things. As a hardcore ENFP, I have a pretty strong creative and social intuition. A good friend told me at the beginning of this year that my ability to see the big picture is incredible. In other words, I have keen eyes and know exactly what’s going on unless what’s going on is a differential calculus equation. I felt good about this, but walking the rough terrain of 2016 has certainly helped me realize how and why I fall with such a dangerous velocity. Because, believe it or not, as a feelings-based human, I take pretty hard hits and 2016 seemed to be repeatedly punching me and many of my feel-y friends square in the face. I’d like to reveal some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned this year with the hopes that I might be able to pass on some inspiration to those truly wanting to journey through 2017 on a lighted path.
1) Repetition is not failure.
In grade school, they teach you all about how it’s good to make mistakes because how else will you learn to not repeat the same mistake? But what happens if you do… What if you keep running into the same wall? Do you throw in the towel and say “well, perhaps this isn’t for me?” or do you keep trying? I say you keep trying with a tweaked strategy. If it’s your gut telling you to keep trying, definitely do it. I believe almost anything can be learned. Humans are incredible. Personality and gender are imagined hindrances. So I say risk making the same exact mistake because I can guarantee “the thing is for you” as long as the heart of your heart wants it to be.
2) I am lazy.
Wow. This one took me till about a week ago to finally literally tell myself. I am supposed to be a hard-working, constantly moving, on-the-go creative entrepreneur in the making, there is no way in hell I will allow myself to admit that I am lazy. But maybe you are too. Think about it. When you have thousands of really great ideas floating like stars in your brain universe, do you dare try to plan and prioritize which stars you want to really see shine or do you watch the next episode of Stranger Things? When you realize you have the potential to make all of these stars shine, are you so daunted by the “work” that needs to be done that you just watch the next episode of Stranger Things instead? Ah, and then there’s the brilliant, “I will start tomorrow” demon that keeps you tied to your seat until you need a new Netflix series (and there is always another Netflix series). Listen to Shia Lebeouf, listen to Nike and “just do it”. Just do it. If you don’t know how, ask for help. Reach out to accessible people who inspire you most and ask them how they do it. Then do it yourself and, most importantly, truly believe that you can.
3) I have nothing to prove to anyone but myself.
I am spiritual. I believe in God. So the “myself” in this instance looks more like “the God acting through myself”. I encourage you to figure out what “myself” means to you. Being one of two female guitarists at my level in college, I feel an intense pressure to outperform “these boys” as I tell my mother, when my goal must actually be to love the process of learning the instrument. When my boyfriend and I broke up over the summer, I wanted to prove to him that “I was doing just fine” without him, when really I was paralyzed by heartbreak. When taking a step back, I’ve realized that I’m always trying to prove myself to someone else and usually those people are men. But after having a conversation with a friend of mine who is a successful creative freelancer, I pocketed this lesson he taught me “As long as you are always making excellent work, there is a place for you.” Creatives are granted the unique task of balancing what other people think of their work and what they themselves think of their work. Both are important factors but ultimately it will always come down to “will this sustain me even if I am my only audience?” Prove to your craft that you are deeply in love with the art-making process and not just infatuated with the recognition and .01% chance of fame that might follow. Prove to yourself how much you can learn about what you do.
4) I am not the people I identify with most.
There is no one on this earth I identify with more than my father. I love the gifts he has given me. I am empathetic, intuitive, emotional, humble, and wise because of my father. We share the same idiosyncrasies, habits, and ways of existing. The apple did not fall far from the tree. I have to remind myself every day that just because I am so much like him, doesn’t mean our futures look exactly the same. I want a very different future than my father but it does no good to convince myself we have the same destiny just because we share so many characteristics. I also identify with artists that inspire me most; Kimbra, Norah Jones, Radiohead, FKA Twigs, but what is so fascinating about these artists is that they are uniquely their own. Sure they had to be inspired first, but they had no room to be convinced they were destined to some imagined fate based on an unproven theory. You are your own person. You are not your parents, your sister, your brother, or your best friend. You have unique powers they don’t have. Period.
5) I have been sleeping.
As an idealist, an ideator, and a romantic, I will run a daydream into the ground. It is incredibly difficult for me to be present unless I am creating something or figuring something out. I am always telling myself that “this is temporary, just wait…” when I could be telling myself “this is where you are now… what will you do today?”. I have got to stop sleeping when I could be rejoicing. A beautiful life is a choice. Unexpected rejection, sickness, and deaths are inevitable but on the other side of the coin is unexpected love, opportunity, and success. You can set yourself up for good fortune but it’s a choice you have to make... daily... I remember I moment this year I faced my loving roommate in tears. She said “Leah, reality doesn’t have to be sad.” Could it be more clear? Sometimes the simplest truths are the hardest to swallow. It’s time to wake up and rejoice in what I already have
So as 2016 comes to a close, I have a lot to work with here. I've had several "sub-realizations" but they all come to a screeching halt at this single solution: Make it happen. My 2017 plan is to make shit happen without my own pressure of unrealistic goals, perfection, and 0% self-forgiveness. I'm going to be better about patting myself on the back whenever I try, even if the result is failure. All I need now is the the 2017 Kylie Jenner video explaining how "2017 will be the year of everyone just doing things."
I hope Kylie and I have inspired you in some way.