Today is my last day as a thirty-year-old. As I’ve touched upon, overall, I think it has been an enriching, meaningful, and successful year. I’ve learned so much about myself, arguably more than most of my previous years combined. Although this has, in some cases, been a painful self-concept-shattering process, I’m proud of the inner work I’ve done and happy with who I am and who I’m becoming. Over the past year, I’ve confronted many of the problems I’ve suppressed, ignored, or denied. While little has been “resolved” (and this may be largely impossible for the bulk of the issues I’m alluding to), the introspective work I’ve put in so far digesting and evaluating myself and my ability and responsibility to address the issues has already brought a deeper level of understanding, clarity, self-efficacy, regulation and management, and self-compassion.
My work and career direction took a surprising and initially shameful turn from the planned prosthetics course to a much more suitable writing and editing one. Despite making this unpopular and somewhat embarrassing decision post-graduation, I’m thrilled with where I am now and what I’m doing and routinely give myself kudos for making the right choice for myself, ignoring “expectations” or the perceived social pressures of doing what I was “supposed to” do or that would look impressively prestigious. It takes maturity and self-awareness and self-respect to honor your own needs and desires and fight falling prey to concerning your decisions or mindset with those portrayed by society. I’m still in a place where I often think, “but what will people think of me?” but rather than letting my speculated answer to this question dictate my plan, I try to choose to ignore such thoughts. As the famous Baruch quote says, “those that mind don’t matter, and those that matter don’t mind.” Although I think everyone matters, I suppose the crux of the message is that their opinion, if unsupportive, does not. In addition to my job satisfaction, this blog is also a passion project and a practice I’ve really enjoyed so far. Despite my initial trepidation in going “public” with my autism diagnosis, PTSD from the attack, and my other mental and physical health problems, I’m humbled by the positive reception and support I’ve received and have found the act of thinking through and writing each post has been gratifying and informative. I plan to continue adding to it until it no longer satisfies a need or desire and I remain open-minded in whatever direction it takes.
The year was not without its own challenges, particularly health-wise and my six-month injury. My patience and optimism were certainly tried and there were some less-than-stellar stumbles and dark moments where I lost my resolve and broke down crying. To that end, I had plenty of other missteps and moments (or days!) of weakness. I continue to find tremendous compassion and support from Ben and my family, especially my mom, whose countless hours of phone calls keep me going and guided when I’m at my wit’s end.
I hope to keep working through my challenges and trying to better understand myself and improve upon any modifiable areas. I will try to be more courageous in my dedication to sift through the aftermath of my attack and hopefully find more emotional peace and trauma relief. Communication skills, patience, willingness to “let things go,” and anxiety-regulation skills are also areas that I want to continue improving. Mostly, I’d like to regularly find things that bring me joy, love, increase my self-esteem, and bring meaning and fulfillment to my life. I’m grateful for the year I’ve just completed and excited to be the captain of my own ship and cultivate another year of purpose, connection, growth, and happiness.