The end of the year always causes us to reflect on our lives, how we could’ve changed them, and what we’re proud of. It can feel exciting and tiring- wishing we could take back some things, being incredibly proud of others. Yet the end of a decade seems to say so much more to us- we know we aren’t the same people we were at the start. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or even unsatisfied with how the last ten years have gone, take into account these reminders as you enter a new year- and a brand new decade.
1. You know so much more now than you did before.
As the year comes to a close, it can be easy to feel like you are stuck or that not much has changed for you. Even if your year didn’t seem super eventful, you still learned and grew. Sometimes our growth is boring, but it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Take the things you learned this past year (and every other year, for that matter) and take in this upcoming year with a better idea of who you are.
2. You don’t have to pretend to be okay.
As everyone gears up for all their new resolutions and goals, there is an exciting energy that buzzes around every place you look. While that energy can be contagious, it can also be isolating if you’re having a hard time in your life. You don’t have to fake a smile and pretend everything is fine just because a new year is approaching. If you begin the new year just trying to make it through, that’s okay too.
3. You are doing the best you can, even if it seems small.
In the same way, all the goals and plans everyone makes for themselves can feel as though you aren’t doing nearly as much as you should. Maybe your goals feel smaller. Perhaps they don’t even feel like goals. But you know what is essential and helpful for yourself. The little things shouldn’t be overlooked, especially when you’re doing the best you can.
4. Love exists in your life, even if it isn’t the way you want.
The holidays can be a bit unsettling if you’re not in a romantic relationship. The New Year brings its own sense of pressure, with the feeling like you should have someone to kiss at midnight. Maybe you aren’t in a relationship with someone. Perhaps you aren’t in love right now, but your life isn’t absent of love. You have in your friendships, your family, and hopefully in yourself too. You have love in so many ways that matter- don’t forget about them.
5. It’s okay to care for yourself as much as you do everyone else.
It can feel selfish to focus on your own needs. Maybe you’ve spent a large chunk of the last few years bending over backward for everyone else. Perhaps you have fixated on you, but only in ways that didn’t benefit you or help you grow. You know more about yourself now, and it’s okay to use that knowledge to meet your own needs.
6. You are strong- and it looks different for everyone.
Strength often is identified in such specific terms- usually partnered with the idea of physical or aggressive. Yet this decade has taken a toll on so many people, and any sign of strength is vital. If you faced any fears, if you were vulnerable, if you just got out of bed the next day even when you felt like you couldn’t- you’re a strong person. That strength is going to follow you into next year, don’t be afraid of it.
7. Expressing your emotions is not weak.
Even in the world we live in, emotions still carry an association with being weak and worthless. You have felt so much in the last ten years, and embracing that side of you isn’t a small thing. You’ve already done such a powerful, incredible job by choosing to feel- and it will only benefit you even more as you take on the next phase of life.
8. You are in more control of your life than you think.
Here is the truth- there is so much in our lives that we can’t control. It can feel overwhelming and like there isn’t a point to even trying to change things. Yet, you have more say in your life than you think you do. It may seem like it’s not a big deal, but it’s the smaller things that add up to more significant issues. Maybe you can’t control where you are exactly, or who you are surrounded by, but you have a say in how you address the world. You have a say in how you respond to the way it treats you. Don’t forget that you have influence over parts of your life, too.
9. You are worthy of being loved.
It sounds cliche, but it still bears repeating. Maybe you make mistakes. Perhaps you feel unlovable. Maybe you lost someone who cared for, and you can’t forgive yourself. But every single person alive makes mistakes, experiences bad phases of time, and loses things they swore would last. You aren’t alone in this- and you are still worthy of being loved and cared for, even when you feel you’re at your lowest point.
10. The adventure is only beginning.
After the last ten years, you may feel a bit exhausted- and that’s okay. But as much as you’ve already uncovered and figured out about who you are and about the world around you, there is still so much more to see. This is only the beginning, and the next part of your life will be full of happiness, pain, excitement, rejection, and lessons ready to show you what you’re capable of. It’s going to be beautiful, and you’re ready for it.