Endings always tend to magnify my introversion.
So you can imagine how solitary I become at the close of each year.
I always take the last few days to myself, to reflect and to remember – mostly to figure out how I’m going to react in the new following year.
With each new beginning, I try to pick a certain aspect of myself I want to improve. Daily, I ask myself, “What did I do today that made me a better version of my yesterday?”
It’s not always the same answer.
Sometimes I’m proud. Sometimes I’m disappointed. Sometimes I’m indifferent.
But I keep going — because it’s necessary, because personal growth is addictive, because there’s always a way to improve the experience of being alive.
And I’m completely obsessed with experience. I want to feel it all, every single chemically induced emotion possible, in each and every different facet unimaginable.
Change is the catalyst.
You can’t experience different things as the same person. It’s insanity, to repeat the same motions and expect infinite results. I learned this a few years ago after heartbreak forced me out of my comfort zone. It made me take a hard look at myself in the mirror and reconcile with my soul. Tragedy has a tendency to both destroy and rebuild — the order of which, is always a personal choice.
So I decided, if change is undoubtedly inevitable, I may as well continually strive to change for the better — always.
Each year, I pick something about myself — something I want to refine, an aspect of my heart worth giving 365 opportunities to, to become the best version of myself possible.
2017 is going to be special, I can feel it — this coming year I’ll hit my quarter of a century milestone of being alive for this human experience.
And I’ve struggled with deciding on what I want to do with my new year. What do I want to make better? What do I need to improve?
I loved 2016 — in more ways than I can textually express, in more ways than I ever thought I would. I dreaded coming home, after 2015 being the best year of my life.
And then something surprising happened to me. I returned home — and home welcomed me with arms I missed dearly.
I’m so glad I got to be home for a year, and I’m so happy I had the opportunity to spend time with my family and friends for holidays, celebrations, and everything in between — I wouldn’t change any of it, looking back. I thought returning home meant returning back to the person I used to be — how utterly wrong I was. I spent time with my parents, the two most important people in my life, and I reconnected with a lot of old friends, while simultaneously making new life long companions. I failed at romance, but learned to forgive myself. I travelled to new horizons and I ate all the foods I missed desperately across seas. I drank and danced until sunrise and spent so many nights delved into meaningful conversation. I laughed until I cried, and I cried until I laughed. I felt pain, and love, and joy and doubt. I didn’t think it was possible, but 2016 turned out even better than 2015, and I felt more than I ever had before. I even moved abroad again, the first in my family to pursue a graduate degree.
I learned that home is just as great as an adventure, and happiness is always better when shared. It will always be about the people you surround yourself with (even if just yourself) versus your actual surroundings. I’ve travelled so many hearts — I’ve seen so many sunsets.
But there was a part of 2016 that really challenged my thoughts about my future.
I was miserable at my job. I excelled at it, yes, but it neither fulfilled me, nor inspired me. Sure, I made very good money — money necessary for me to move to Germany to pursue my graduate degree. But I realized how much more I wanted out of a career — time is so precious.
My 2016 has set up my success for the fast approaching 2017, honestly.
And I don’t want to take what I’ve learned for granted.
So for 2017, I want to do things that I’m passionate about. I want to travel and write and take pictures and share my heart. I want to become the best artist I can be.
And I don’t want to be sorry for any of it. I want to unapologetically be myself.
The other night, I went out clubbing with some friends on Christmas Eve — so naturally, I drunk texted my mom — I know, I’m so romantic, haha.
“I really do appreciate you so much mom! Wish I could give you the world!”
“You are, be yourself, and get done with school, and get your doctorates like you want to.. can’t wait to call you Dr. Nguyen.”
It’s nice, you know, to hear from the person you love the most that being yourself is enough. That being yourself is worthy.
With that, I’ve decided to stop over-apologizing so much. I’m always apologizing to people for how I feel. I hate making people feel uncomfortable, and I hate that I feel I need to say sorry for it.
Not only do I tend to apologize for things that aren’t my fault, but also I’m normally the first to acknowledge and initiate an apology, even for miniscule things — I just don’t like arguments or losing people.
So 2017, I don’t want to make any unnecessary apologies — those words are wasted. Instead I want to say I love you more and thank you more. I want to express myself honestly and without fear.
I’m determined to make this my best year yet.
Somewhere over the Ocean, Earth