2018. What Happened?

I feel like I wouldn’t be a blogger (am I considered a blogger?) if I didn’t write up my classic year wrap-up post. I picked my own brain for a solid five minutes trying to think of what I learned this year — such a time committment, I know — and the below is what I came up with.

First, let me explain my year as painlessly quick as possible. In October of 2017 I moved to Boston (LIKE YOU DIDN’T KNOW FROM MY ONE MILL POSTS, RIGHT?!!!). Therefore, I spent the entirety of 2018 in a new city across the country from where I had lived for 25 years of my life, in a new job with new coworkers, processes and responsibilities, and also, in a state of figuring out who the eff I am / working through a lot of mental roadblocks I’d dealt with for some time. Now maybe this is my bragging moment, but things went well. I was promoted at work, found my actual dream apartment from when I used to scheme up my move to Boston as a kid, made friends, and generally felt happier. Was it easy? No. Was it perfect? Defffffinitely no. Was it, probably, the most important year for me in the past five years? Yes, it was, thanks so much for asking.

Anyway, that’s what was going down. Here’s what it taught me:

  • Watch for patterns, then act accordingly.

So, full disclosure, I used to (and sometimes still do) participate in less than beneficial ways of thinking. I’d get myself all worked up with new goals and plans and diets and perfect roadmaps in order to “become the person I think I should / need to be,” which generally meant changing myself entirely. You’ll be shocked to find out that this never worked out well for me, as I continued to fail at my plans and strived to change myself into someone else. This year, after about five years of doing the same things to myself over and over and over again, I realized something really important.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

If you always fall back after participating in certain activities, what makes you think you’re not going to do it again this time? I remember one night sitting down at my computer to re-do my 2018 schedule in order to make sure I was perfectly planned out for the 1 millionth time, when I realized that it was total and complete horse shit. Like, why was I wasting so many hours — days of my life creating perfect schedules that I would never follow anyway? Why was I continuing to do this? Why was nothing changing?

Patterns are important. If you see one you don’t like — take a different approach, and keep taking a different approach until you find one that’s working. And also, PRIORITIZE yourself. Invest in yourself. Work on yourself if you aren’t happy with how something is serving you.

  • Choose the long game.

A lot of the stuff mentioned above was happening because I was trying to figure out the quickest, most efficient way to do all the things. Unfortunately, when it comes to your mindset, going for the quick version isn’t always the best. Sometimes, it takes real, hard, and you guessed it, long work.

I had to let go of the perfect diet and exercise plan and choose balance instead. I had to let go of the perfect savings plan and choose balance instead.

I’m choosing the long game to work through my issues and challenges. The short game wasn’t working so well for me anymore, so I shifted. Will I get instant gratification? Probably not. Will I get meaningful and lifelong change bringing me closer to happiness? I mean, that’s the idea.

After years of putting off allowing myself to learn this lesson of balance, I’m finally taking the long road — because the short road was never going to get me there in the end.

  • Failing is actually a good thing.

Failing sucks. Like, seriously. It’s hard, no one likes to admit or do it, and sometimes you just don’t want to get back up. But what I’ve learned this year through experience is that failure is actually the biggest learning lesson you will ever receive. Each time I resort to old tendencies, realize I need to start making better decisions in regards to my financial and emotional health — these are opportunities to learn. Why did you do something? What can you do better next time? What can you take away from this and apply to future instances?

Pretty cool that failing gives you the opportunity to learn the answers to those very difficult questions — I plan to allow myself to fail a lot more. Why? Because that means I’m trying.

I’ve also realized that you really learn, and I mean really learn, from experience. So, I’m not super mad about my failures or the fact that I didn’t necessarily take to heart different advice that’s been given to me over the years. I get it now — because I’ve experienced it.

  • The grass is (not) greener.

Guysssss. I don’t even need to explain this one. Just be grateful for all that you have and all that you are. There are awesome things out there — but you’ll never enjoy your future opportunities and experiences if you can’t learn to enjoy where you currently are.

  • Location doesn’t change you — you change you.

I’ve written a lot about this before, but before I moved here I pretty much thought that as soon as I got off the plane in Boston I would be healed from all of my hardships and struggles. SHOCKER, I wasn’t. Moving taught me that NOTHING was going to bring me out of that dark place, except me.

  • Know why you do it.

I used to want to move, get a good job, be an entrepreneur, be instafamous, etc. because I wanted to be able to tell people that’s what I was doing. Moving taught me that deep down I’m a girl from Montana that really only needs to impact one person in her lifetime in order to be happy — that while I have big dreams I’ll also be just fine as long as I honor my creativity, use my voice, and care for my loved ones and those around me.

It doesn’t matter why you do it. If it is for recognition and that will actually make you happy — fine. I just finally realized that I could get all the recognition and money and “likes” in the world and it still would never be enough if I don’t have a meaningful life behind it.

  • Working hard does work & does get you where you need to go.

I mean, it took a lot of work for me to get hired in Boston. It took a lot of work for me to be able to live in my apartment. It took a lot of work for me to expand my career. Put the work in for what you want and often… it works (and keep going even if it doesn’t right away obvvvs!).

  • Change happens now.

This is probably my favorite and something someone who is helping me through my battles recently shared with me. Change doesn’t happen tomorrow, next week, or next month. Change happens right, the fuck, now. Want to save? Be more intentional with that next purchase. Want to live balanced? Don’t restrict yourself from that cookie. Want to start a workout plan? Get your ass to the gym.

Life is too short to start tomorrow. Because often, the tomorrow you often tell yourself of, it will never come.

  • Explore.

I’ve learned that it’s okay to explore. It’s okay to take time to do nothing and do things just because they sound like a good idea and take different routes to work and try a new coffee shop and try to sing and try to dance and try and try and try. It might not be in your five year plan, but what if there’s something even greater out there waiting for you? For example, I didn’t even know I liked writing until a few years ago. What if I hadn’t followed that curiousity? What if I had stuck with my then five year plan?

Things change. That’s okay. Explore, sweetie.

  • Presence.

Don’t wake up realizing you spent a lot of your days and years being elsewhere. I’ve been there. It sucks.

Figure out what is pulling you away from the moment (mine: anxiety, perfectionism, body dysmorphia, self-love, etc), and prioritize working on it (for the long game). It’s the most important.

And also, live presently. Act like an idiot. Do things just to do things. Life doesn’t have to be a big strategy. Have fun and be a good person — that’s what we’re here for.

  • The way you treat one thing is the way you treat most things.

When I’m balanced with food I’m balanced with my wallet. When I’m intentional in the kitchen, I’m intentional with my workouts / movement. Generally, how you treat one thing is how you treat all things, so don’t freak out if you want to work on many parts of yourself (hi), take it a step at a time and you’ll see your life improve in more areas than you could have ever hoped.

  • Walk your talk.

You know that really great advice you gave to your friend? You deserve to live that way, too. The best way to be there and show up for others is by being there and showing up for yourself.

  • I learned who I am. And I learned that I liked her.

So, I recently started a coaching program to help me with a lot of my mental struggles. It’s been a process and one I fail at often. However, I’m the best I’ve been in YEARS, and I’ll take that any day.

This will probably be an odd story for some, but the other day I sliced a strawberry to put in my morning oatmeal, and I couldn’t get over how amazing it was. Like, this STRAWBERRY WAS GROWN OUT OF THE GOD DAMN GROUND LIKE HOW AMAZING AND BEAUTIFUL IS THAT AND HOW AMAZING IS THIS PLANET AND WORLD AND WHAT ELSE COULD BE POSSIBLE AND IS POSSIBLE AND CAN I EXPLORE?!

See, for so long I was so restrictive / had such a bad relationship with food that I hated it. I didn’t get it, I was scared of it, it was just… another thing to worry about. Now I’m (working on) LOVING it again. Being appreciative of it. Respecting it. Getting excited about it.

This translated to a lot of my life. I started dreaming big again and believing in possibility and all of the things I could one day do and see and all of the things my friends could do and see, too. And that is probably my favorite part about myself. I love my nearly blind optimism and passion when it comes to dreaming and business and living a happy and full life.

I got that back. When I sliced that strawberry it was as if I was talking to someone I used to know. Someone I used to know insanely well but five years ago, who had just taken an extended trip for awhile but was slowly starting to hang out with me again. I knew I’d probably lose her sometimes, but the fact that I knew she was there… that’s all I needed.

I met myself — the real, full, no cloud above her head or filter on her eyes version of myself.

And I liked her.

Anastasia Warren