2018 In Review

And another year comes to a close.

I’ve been a little distracted for the past few days. We’ve been busy for the holidays. Gustavo is visiting. And I’m off from work so I haven’t had my normal routine. It feels like everything has been going by really quickly, without much fanfare.

So I wanted to be sure to take some time to acknowledge 2018’s passing.

It’s been a hell of a year, with a lot of ups and downs. Also, transformative. I don’t feel anything like my self from one whole year ago. So what happened?

Crossfit competition in Rio de Janeiro, 2018.

Reflecting on 2018

In 2018, I:

  • Took a 3-month sabbatical from work where I got to relax, re-start my yoga practice, and dived deep into my Crossfit training with a personal coach.
  • Competed in a Crossfit competition for the first time, and then competed two more times before the year ended.
  • Took a meditation teacher training and further connected with my meditation practice.
  • Received my Crossfit Level 1 training and started my Precision Nutrition Certification.
  • Paid off all of my student loans, which is definitely the biggest accomplishment for me this year.
  • Traveled to Puerto Rico, Canada, Panama, Spain, and Italy.
  • Finally ate at da Michele and tasted the best pizza ever.
  • Got started on the visa process so Gustavo and I can (hopefully) live together in the US.
  • Published a book of poems.

This year was definitely a year of learning and refining my passions. After spending so much time in Brazil for the past two years, it’s challenged me to really figure out what is a priority for me and how I define myself. What do I care about? What do I want to spend my time on? Most things in Brazil, or Rio, require a little extra planning so it’s imperative to know if you want to make the effort before diving in.

Because of that, I really dove deep into a lot of different subjects over the year. I spent a lot of time alone, reflecting, reading, and evaluating. I wrote a lot. I practiced a lot. I hit my head against many metaphorical walls. If you ask me, I came out better for it.

Panama City, 2018

Staring into the sun makes for an impossible picture.

Getting stronger

On a personal level, this year was a year of learning to accept myself more. A lot of my good, and especially bad, qualities were reflected back at me over the past twelve months, forcing me to acknowledge habits that work for me, and habits that don’t.

As an example, I’m very introverted. I like to spend time with myself. Yet participating in a community-based sport means that I often feel “on the outside.” Extroverts make friends more easily and I envy them for it. I want all of the benefits of being outgoing and friendly, without actually putting in the work. Being included, feeing seen, and feeling validated are often connected for me – yet, I need to ask myself: if I don’t like the process of being a social butterfly (all the more power to you if you do), I need to accept the results. It’s better to stop comparing myself to others and turn my feelings of inadequacy or jealousy inward: what can I do differently? What am I willing to do differently? What am I not?

These lessons that bubble up in life over and over can make it feel like you’re treading water. Didn’t I just do this? In those moments of repetition, you have to be your own cheerleader. You have to remember where you started. Whether at work or in the gym, some challenges just won’t go away until you make them. So you have to dig deep, find your blockers, and work past. The only way out is through, right?

The Colosseum in Rome, 2018

Welcome 2019

This year, I’d like to bring the spirit of confidence into 2019 with me. Through diving deeper, I find myself growing more and more confident. Confidence being the tool, the key to accepting yourself and those around you without asking for anything more. It’s the act of knowing who you are and not needing approval or permission. (Always acting from a place of kindness, though.)

So as we close out 2018, I want to keep focusing on finding my voice, honoring my passions, and caring about myself enough to notice my weaknesses and actively work on them. A year of continuing to practice confidence so that I’m a pro at providing myself with validation internally, not externally. We’ll see where that takes me.

In the meantime, we’re going to celebrate 2018’s departure at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park. Maybe the new tradition will be to celebrate the new year, by the beach – just like in Brazil, except I’m pretty sure we’ll be the only ones hopping any waves in the NJ wintery weather.

Happy new year!

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