Goodbye, 2017: Self-Reflection for 2018

Because you have to look to the past to understand the present and create the future.
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In 2017, I turned 24 years old. It was a year of ambiguity and discontent, a year of anticipation and encouragement. It was also the year I came home. In all honesty, I'm a bit anxious for what 2018 will bring but I also look forward to facing it head on and making it amazing on my own terms. That said, in order to start off truly anew, I'm taking the time today to reflect and put down in words the lessons I have for 2017 and the hopes I have for 2018. It's going to get a bit personal, but hope you enjoy the read and maybe it'll give you some inspiration as well. 

 

What were my best achievements in 2017? What do they tell me about what I want to spend my time/energy/money on in 2018?

Firstly, conducting interviews and writing stories that I am personally proud of and gave me valuable experience during my time at Tatler. Secondly, for continuing to stick with my blog and creating my own content (albeit slowly) with two brand collaborations. Thirdly, taking my sister to Korea for a two-week trip to Seoul, Busan, and Jeju. Fourthly, getting into Sheridan for a post-grad program as well as landing an internship within the year. 

In 2018, I’d like to continue growing as a visual storyteller. Content creation is a big goal for me—styling and shooting photos, writing more—and also talking to more people, to learn from them and tell their stories. I also want to travel more because it is so important to constantly widen your horizons. I’d also like to use what I’m learning in school now in conjunction with my existing skillset to challenge myself to go further and do better. 

What were the biggest challenges or obstacles I faced in 2017? How did I overcome them? 

To be honest, I feel like I spent a significant portion of 2017 in limbo and anxious for the ‘next thing.’ In some ways, I felt suspended. I’m an impatient person by nature, so I struggled a lot in the periods of inactivity. I spent the majority of being 23 stressing about the fact that I was nearly 24—and without some sort of career/life path sorted out. It became motivation but also a source of frustration for me.  

My experience living abroad has been both rewarding as well as crippling in its challenges, but leaving Hong Kong was a tough decision to make as well. I left because I felt that I had nothing to offer Hong Kong and Hong Kong had little to offer me—at that point in time. Hong Kong has presented me with uncertainty in spades, resulting in a lot of self-doubt. However, it’s also reaffirmed my own resilience and the simple fact that it’s okay to still be figuring it out—whatever ‘it’ is—as long as you’re moving at the same time. 

How have I developed or changed as a person? 

This year I’ve gotten to think more clearly about how I’m creating value with my work, and also what I’m really looking for in a workplace. I’ve realized anew that I can’t get complacent, otherwise I fall behind. I feel as if I’m less sure but also more sure of myself at the same time—2017 has been a series of ups and downs in this aspect. But I’ve also gained more clarity on my direction. I’ve gotten to know myself better—I’m able to look at my past self with understanding instead of acrimony.   

What is one question that you found yourself asking over and over again this year? What version of an answer are you living your way into? 

I asked myself a lot, "what am I doing right now?" and also, "how can I be better?" Better as in a better friend, sister, daughter, student, employee, member of society, citizen of the planet... a better human. This quote from When Breath Becomes Air sums up the answer pretty well. Living has the same meaning as trying

You can’t ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving.
— Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air

2017 notes for 2018

On People

2017, as a year of 'homecoming', gave me a lot of reunions. I found myself reconnecting with a lot of old friends and realizing that I'm not as alone as I once thought. I'm also thankful for all those people who have remained 'constants' for me (they know who they are.) I am grateful to have you all in my life. In 2018, I want to continue to build more meaningful relations by making time for the people that matter.

On New things

In 2017 I decided to go back to school because I felt that I was not skilled enough. In 2018, I am resolving to not let inexperience limit me, but rather, propel me. I hope to continue to expand further outside of my comfort zone—even more so than in 2017, and to not be afraid to take initiative or to make the first move. 

on Joy

My happiest moments in 2017: When I came home to my family. When I went to Korea with my sister. When I felt accomplishment and fulfillment in my work. When I saw Jaejoong and Big Bang in concerts. (hehe) 

How I'm planning to bring joy into 2018: Treasure family time while I still have it. Travel more. Create more and start a new project. Never settle. And again, making time for the people (and things) that matter. Just going for it. 

 

Thanks for reading, as always. Wishing you all much happiness in a blessed, fulfilling 2018. Happy New Year! 

Life, ThoughtsJessie Ho