The semester is finally over and I am glad I don’t have to read boring textbooks and sit through lectures until January. That’s all I’m going to say about school because I do not feel like talking about such horrid things. So the title of my post is back to my antics because every time a semester ends, I reflect to see if I actually accomplished anything and with my recent reflection, I realized I need to be back on to my old self. Now, this reflection is little different because it’s also the end of the year so I also reflected on 2017. I can honestly say I have changed a lot this year, made a couple realization, accomplished a lot, but also had the most failures, rejections and had a really hard last 4 months of the year. But I’m not going to front, it was a good year maybe a 7.5 out of 10. I’ve analyzed how I feel about certain things and what I need to change about myself, my environment and my circle and I’m going to try my best to describe it without being all over the place or oversharing.
Before I even start, I have to mention I don’t like New Year’s resolutions, they just don’t work well with me. Instead of creating resolutions last year, I made a list of everything I need to leave in 2016 and that didn’t even work for me. I brought everything/everyone I said I wouldn't into 2017 (my willpower is amazing right). While it’s cool to write out your goals, which I always do, the start of a new year can never motivate me enough to change my habits. My biggest accomplishments of 2017 weren’t New Year resolutions. Starting this blog, going to San Fran for AfroTech and other things here and there were things I thought of in the spur of the moment. Resolutions feel good if you can accomplish them but I never do. So when I look at my list at the end of the year and I see I didn’t complete the majority, I feel like I had a trash year when that isn’t true at all. If there is something I want to do, I’m doing it right away because that’s just how I am. Waiting for the new year will only make me not do it. So I’d rather just reflect and skip the long list making.So
So let’s get into this reflection. Basically, I am exhausted and burnt out from this year. I’m not going to front and be like I’m hustling and being all entrepreneurial because I’m not. But I’ve been hunting for internships, developing millions of side projects, researching too many topics to name etc etc. That doesn’t include the stress of school which has subcategories of tuition, my rent, and grades. My biggest stressor is the fact that I don’t know how to manage anything so it takes a toll on my mental and physical health. Now with my reflection, I realized it’s all my fault for making everything so complicated in my life and I need to fix it. With all the things I decided to take on this year I removed a lot of things I enjoy doing so there is no balance. I don’t socialize with people as much as I should, I don’t date and I didn’t make that many meaningful memories this semester like I did in the past. That’s not me at all and the fact that I cut all that out is stressing me out. I realized I’m not built to be alone all the time and it’s not natural for me to put 100% into my projects acting as if creating relationships with people isn’t something I value. So boom that’s one thing, relationship building
Next, is my “brand” and my blog. There are a list of words that make me cringe (like millennial) and I can not explain why. Brand is one of those words and I’ll try my best to make you understand why I don’t like to use it for myself. Personal branding is huge nowadays. I’ve done a ton of research on it, I follow a lot of branding coaches, the whole 9. For me, it doesn't come naturally to brand myself. I haven't mastered my aesthetic and I hate labels. When I first started my blog I made the description “tech, design, and lifestyle”. All the branding coaches said I need to put labels into my bios. I was changing my bio every day on Instagram because having the label tech, design and lifestyle blogger in my bio was giving me anxiety. Now yeah, I guess I should be ok with having that in my bio because I do have a blog and I talk about tech and design but it doesn't sit well with me for 2 reasons. The first being I rather have my work speak for me than to have to spell out everything I do. I’m not Beyonce BUT does Beyonce have to list everything she does in her bio or do people look to her work to know who she is? That’s what I rather have because it’s easy to say yeah I’m a tech blogger but what really matters is my work making that label valid. Content is king. You can call yourself whatever but does your work back it up? Second is that I want to do everything and I can not pick a niche. When creating a personal brand you have to be clear about what you do. I’ve seen many branding coaches say narrow down your niche so you don’t confuse your viewers. That hurts me because I don’t want to cut out things I enjoy doing. I’ve made it very clear UX/UI design is my passion and as of right now that is the career path I want to follow but I would be lying if I said that’s the end all be all. I’ve recently decided I want to start editing videos, try out filmography, I’ve always been fascinated with directing and now I’m trying it out to see if I can be like Ava DuVernay. I also want to start writing screenplays. So how does one who wants to expand in all these ways include all of that with the tech and design I’m already doing? You may have thought, oh just say you’re a creative but that makes me cringe too. I MAY use content creator but as of right now nothing seems to fit. So this is the second thing stressing me out, not knowing “who I am” or my personal brand.
The last thing that I’ve been doing that has caused my burnout is being too strict. To me, pulling all-nighters and restricting myself from Ben and Jerry’s really doesn’t help me but I do it anyways. I allow myself to lose sleep and put restrictions on the things I like, thinking I’m going to get amazing results but in the end, I’m just tired and angry. So this one was quick but the third issue I have is trying to live my life like Judge judy.
So I want to end on 2 things, how I’m living in 2018 and my goals moving forward with my blog/brand. I am trying to live the simplest life in 2018. My ideal life for 2018 is just hanging out/meeting people, work at my dream internship, expanding on my passion projects and then putting them out. That’s literally it. Obviously besides my health, family and school. But that’s it. I’m not worried about anybody who isn’t in my circle, I’m not making too many attempts to plan out my whole future like I always do and I’m not worrying about what I don’t have. I just want a minimal, simple, fun year. Adding all this fluff complicates things and until I know how to manage myself better, I need to remain a minimalist. Now for my blog it’s the opposite, I want to do more. I don’t want to stick with only tech, design and self care I want to talk about anything I’m currently doing. Now that can be a mess because already I see how it can be all over the place but I’m going to figure it out. As far as my brand I want to expand to YouTube. The fact that I’m even considering this is making my chest hurt but it’s not in the way you may think. I love YouTube it’s one of my main sources of entertainment but I’m not trying to be a YouTuber in that way. I mentioned I want to start editing videos and all that extra stuff and when I create these projects, the best place for people to view them is on YouTube. Now I’m like 89% sure about this but if I’m not then we’ll just scratch this idea. I realized once I talk about thing publicly, I hold myself to it, whatever it is because I'm not about to make myself look like I can't follow through. I highly doubt I will ever put myself in front of a camera and make videos (other than this fake vlog I made when I went to San Fran that I’m not sure if I want to post yet) because that’s not me. It will just be a place for my work. I have no means of monetizing anything (yet) I just want to display my stuff.
So that’s my extremely simplified version of my self reflection of 2017 and how I’m about to live my best life in 2018. I really hope all goes as planned for the most part because I can never catch a break and it would feel great to not have the universe working against me this coming year.