2018: A Year in Review

New York, NY, USA
Lotte New York Palace, December 2018
It's crazy how time flies. Sometimes the beginning of 2018 feels like yesterday and sometimes it feels like ages ago. This was my last full year of being an undergraduate college student, and it's really unbelievable that I won't have quite the same influences on my life a year from now. But truly, 2018 has been a deeply personal year for me from start to finish-- I have learned a lot, and wanted to share my thoughts in words as a way to reflect on how I have changed.


Bakeri Brooklyn, January 2018
From the beginning, one of my goals for 2018 was to build the self-love kind of confidence-- to be proud of my accomplishments and to overcome a certain feeling of "not being good enough" in many ways. I've always believed that being self-critical was synonymous to being humble, and that acknowledging my accomplishments was simply bragging. In this way, I ended up putting myself down even when I should have been celebrating milestones in my life, and I found myself comparing myself to others more than I should have. While true, it can be difficult to find that sweet spot between being self-deprecating and egotistic, what I have learned is that you can be humble and confident at the same time. In 2018, I began to accept compliments with "thank you" instead of "oh no, not at all," and began to bring up my latest projects and achievements in conversations. I am also trying to view my achievements as parallel to others' rather than perpendicular. Two people growing alongside each other doesn't make one person's efforts or abilities any less than the other's. I still have a long way to go on my journey of self-love, but these are some small changes and realizations I am proud I was able to make this year.


Westlight, May 2018
I also made many mistakes that I believe paved the way for me to grow the most in 2018. For one, I've made it a goal to be more straightforward. I tend to avoid my problems, and this year I realized that it was affecting (and had been affecting) my interpersonal relationships. Being vulnerable has always been one of my bigger fears, and hiding behind passive-aggressiveness always seemed like an easy and viable solution. Let me tell you, it is not. Confrontation may be scary, but it is important to take the step and initiate the conversation you need to have-- especially if the relationship is worth it. Of course, it is easier said than done, and I am still a culprit of avoidance. It is something I plan to keep working on in the new year.

NOMO SOHO; Ovenly, July 2018
Social media became an even bigger part of my life in 2018. I began to take content creation and influencer marketing more seriously as a side hustle, and I loved every second of it. I'm so grateful to be able to work on Instagram projects alongside of my nursing studies because creativity is one of my first passions and always will be. I've also been fortunate enough to meet so many amazing friends through the platform as well-- not just in New York City, but in other cities and states as well. I know that when I travel, I'll (almost) always have somebody to connect with over a cup of coffee. However, after a particularly busy month of back-to-back events and projects, I realized that I need to take a step back from social media at times. Besides taking time out of my academic studies, it can also take away from my social life by pulling me away from the moment or from spending time with my friends and family. I'm still in the process of finding that perfect balance between school and part-time work and creative work and friends and family, but I'm definitely making progress.


Central Park, November 2018
This reflection definitely turned out to be a big still-in-progress report, but you can bet I'll be continuing what I have started in the new year. Luckily though, there were lots of milestones from 2018 that I can proudly say I have passed or accomplished: 

  • I started a new job within the healthcare system in January and have learned so much from it since then (even if it is tough at times)
  • I baked a lot of cookies
  • I got a hamster
  • I ran two 5Ks and hope to run more races in 2019
  • I got injured ~3 times but finally overcame them all
  • I expanded my picky diet a little bit
  • I got two new tattoos
  • One of my nursing organizations won an award
  • I traveled to Boston in March, Firefly Music Festival & Philly in June, Chicago in August, and Washington D.C. in December
  • I completed my second-to-last semester of college

And so to myself and whoever may be reading this, I hope that the new year only brings more positive development and lots of great times. Excited to see what you have in store for us, 2019.

xx.
Maddie

Photos by Maddie Tsang, Kelly Ning, Joyce Bae, Christie Ghaw, and Toyosi Oyelola.

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