For the past few days I, like many other hopeful optimists, have been thinking about my goals and resolutions for the coming year. Though 2016 was far from perfect, and my ability to keep my resolutions went as keeping resolutions usually goes, it was a pretty damn good year.
Of all the things that have been accomplished in the last year, the one I’m proudest of is the development of a truer and more genuine sense of self. 100% of the time, I am 100% me, regardless of the company I’m keeping. I am not lonely when I’m alone, and I’m comfortable with being uncomfortable. I know when to say sorry, and when to cut my losses and let relationships fizzle out. I am more selfish with my time, more frugal with my money, and more willing to try new things. I’ve stopped being afraid of change and started to embrace it. I’ve realized that nothing will ever be handed to me, and that if I want it, I have to work for it. Sometimes, this means fourteen-hour work days and sleepless nights. Other times it simply means speaking up and asking for what I think I deserve. I know that I am far from perfect. I know that I make mistakes… and that’s my one resolution for 2017: To keep making mistakes.
In the midst of my pre-new year's resolution contemplation, I came across this rather lengthy (but worth reading) quote, and it really struck a chord.
If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s being bad at things… but I’ll be damned if I don’t try. I wasn’t always this way. I was the shy girl who rarely answered questions in class because I was afraid of being wrong. I would go with the flow and blend in with the crowd because it was the easy thing to do. Fear and laziness hinder growth. Period. We stick with what’s comfortable and with what we know, but that’s the easy way out.
When we live in fear of failing, a fear that stops many people from ever trying at all, we are selling ourselves short in more ways than one. We miss out on experiences and prevent ourselves from ever realizing our true potential. If your day to day routine has become so easy that you could do it with your eyes closed, that's a good indication that you need to try something else - something that you’ve never tried before and that you’re probably absolutely terrible at… because you have to suck at something before you get good at it.
Personal growth doesn’t come from jotting down a few half-hearted resolutions like eating healthier or saving more money. Sometimes it means diving in to something without testing the water first. It means uprooting yourself from everything you’ve ever known and starting again somewhere new. It means not being afraid to mess up, and getting up to try again when you do get knocked down... because the sky is the freakin' limit when you're willing to try to reach for it again, and again, and again.
I have no idea where this coming year will take me, but I know that I’ll make (likely more than my fair share of) mistakes. Maybe it will be making very poor friendship choices... Maybe it will be impulse buying plane tickets on my way to the airport... Or perhaps it will be eating my weight in street food (because I literally will never be able to say no to just one more nutella crepe in Myeongdong).
Whatever huge, hilarious, growth stimulating mistakes this year holds for me, I’m ready (as I'll ever be)... because as long as I’m messing up, it means I’m still trying. Plus, the good thing about mistakes is that even if we don't learn from them, or grow because of them, they still tend to make pretty good stories.
Here's hoping that my impending mistakes are as humbling and hysterical as they are humiliating. Cheers to you, 2017, and to 364 more days to mess up.
*Disclaimer: In the spirit of making and embracing mistakes, I'm posting this article without properly proofreading it. My apologies in advance for any spelling and/or grammar errors.*