Hello citizens of the world, welcome to a new year.
I don’t know about you, but for me, this entirely symbolic passing of time makes me feel fresh and new every year, and this year is no exception. 2018 could not have come at a more opportune time for me – let’s rewind a few years to fully understand why that is.
I like to categorize things – priorities, foods, and, apparently, years. I have categorized 2014 as a year of anxiety, 2015 as a year of sadness, and 2016 as a year of change. Those three years were some of the hardest years of my life. There were a lot of highs in those years: I did my year of exchange in Norway, I graduated university, I moved to Korea. However, 2014 was the first time that I experienced anxiety and depression, which I then took those other two years to learn how to navigate.
In those three years my mental health changed dramatically, my career aspirations flipped and flopped and then finally solidified, and I grew more than I could ever have anticipated.
2017 was a year of rest. Compared to the years past, 2017 was relatively boring and routine. My mental health held on until the last couple of months, though it’s never gotten to the low point it once was at. My job was stable and (usually) predictable. I traveled peacefully, without any problems. I watched a lot of TV.
I have to say, the shows that are made these days keep getting better and better. And I would know, because I watched a lot of them last year. Really. It’s kind of embarrassing.
More and more TV shows are being made for young women like myself: women with ambitions and full, realized personalities, whose entire lives do not exist to rotate around the men in their lives. Women who are strong, compassionate, and intelligent.
I’ve seen this kind of female figure in shows meant for women my age, such as The Bold Type, Dear White People, She’s Gotta Have It, and The Crown; I’ve seen this figure in shows meant for girls younger than me, such as Fuller House and Andi Mack; and I’ve seen this even in shows predominantly meant for men, such as Game of Thrones.
I have been more than thrilled to see young women from various backgrounds struggle and fight and succeed at living their lives on their own terms. These shows have proven to me time and time again what I’ve known in my heart since I was eight years old: that women are capable of so much more than just what society expects of us.
When we are determinately bold, there is little that can stop us.
There is another invaluable lesson these shows have taught me: I am not destined to live through the lives of other women, fictional or otherwise. There are many more stories yet to be lived in my own life, but first, I have to start living again.
I have a lot left to accomplish with my life, and I’m not going to get there by resting and watching TV.
This lesson and subsequent realization brought me to a crossroads of two fears: settling for less than I am capable of, or setting out to accomplish something, only to end up failing.
If I know one thing, it’s that if I live my life doing only what’s comfortable, I will end up seeing both of those fears come true. On the other hand, if I try, really try and apply myself, I will undoubtedly fail, but I will not settle for anything less than my best.
This, my lovelies, is where 2018 comes in.
It does not matter how you spent your New Year’s Eve. It does not matter where you were or who you were with. In the last few years I have spent New Year’s Eve at a street party in Edinburgh, having a sleepover with my cousins, clubbing in Seoul, and, last night, in my apartment alone. From these incredibly varied experiences and the years that followed them, let me emphasize that where you were, what you did, and who you did or didn’t kiss will have no effect on what is to come next.
2018 is pregnant with potential for something more, something extraordinary. 2018 is the year where I stop settling for less than my own personal best. 2018 is the year when I stop letting my fear of failure get in the way.
It starts today, it starts now. Here’s to a bold 2018. How will you spend it?
As Queen Elizabeth II says in The Crown, “history was not made by those who did nothing.”