Reflections on 2017

I've got to say, 2017 was pretty wonderful to me. It was a year of professional fulfillment and growth, a big one for personal development and an opportunity for me to further step out of my comfort zone in many aspects. Now, when I say it was a wonderful year, I do not, by any means, mean that it was easy - because it definitely was not. There were many trials involved in my 2017, but the best thing about the tough times is that they mold us into stronger, more resilient beings, so that the next time we run into another obstacle on our course of life, we're confident that it's something that we can handle, because of that strength we've obtained.

I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my big moments in 2017 and share what I learned from them to take with me on my 2018 journey:

1. Never Stop Chasing Your Dream

In January, I started my dream job and dove in head-first as the social media specialist at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital. For the longest time, I'd been wanting to apply myself and my knowledge in social media strategy, content creation and community management to an industry and cause I am so passionate about. I'm finally getting to do just that, and then some.

Lessons Learned: Don't stop. Continue to grow, develop, adapt and expand - especially for me, in the social media realm, where the industry is ever-changing. If you feel you've hit your goal, set another one; if you haven't gotten there just yet, keep at it.

2. Drive Your Passion, Don't Let It Drive You

Last year was a great one for my passion project - this little, yet ever-growing, blog of mine. Despite some setbacks throughout the year, including the whole Instagram "shadowbanning" phenomenon and lots of self-doubt associated with comparing myself too heavily with others, 2017 was filled with the most blog relationships and opportunities for growth to-date.

Lessons Learned: Don't let your self-consciousness keep you from taking the reigns and driving your own passion. Self-doubt ultimately hinders our growth if it becomes too prominent and stands in the way of actually moving forward with action. Keep testing the waters to see what's working and what isn't, come to know and value your work, and don't be afraid to ask for what you want.

3. Find the Strength to Evolve

This was a hard part of my 2017 - mid-year, I found myself allowing my anxiety to get the best of me, which ultimately affected my relationship with pH. My stubborn self had to make a decision - either admit that I didn't have control over my anxiety or risk alienating someone I truly care about. I made the decision to start seeing a therapist, and it was one of my best 2017 decisions. I've learned (and am still learning) how to manage my anxiety-ridden moments, and not use my anxiety as a crutch. I've found a newfound sense of strength in my bond with pH, and I am so thankful to have someone so loving and patient and encouraging in my life - we have rung in this New Year on a very sweet note. 

Lessons Learned: Don't be so prideful, so stubborn, that you're willing to dissolve the relationships that matter most in your life. Everyone is capable of change - the deciding factor lies in how much you're willing to commit to evolving. And in relationships, know that times get tough (there's no easy way out, it takes patience and effort), and your commitment speaks volumes.

4. Value Your Freedom

2017 brought an exciting accomplishment to my life - financial freedom. After finally paying off lingering credit card debt, I'm a free woman, and it feels absolutely amazing. Now? Onto saving, saving, saving - because my future dream home won't be paying for itself.

Lessons Learned: Yes, you can be frugal! The biggest lesson that I learned was not to be afraid to watch my savings dwindle to pay off my debt. Most people feel like they need to see that money in their savings account, even if they have piling debt - but think of it this way: Say you were $500 in debt and had $500 in your savings account, and you used that $500 savings to pay off that debt. Would you then take out a loan for $500 to replace the funds from your savings? No, silly. Pay off that goddamn debt and start from scratch, without the interest!

Even with these top moments and learnings from 2017, there is still so much more to experience and learn in this New Year. I'm not much of a resolutions-type person, but my goals for 2018 are to continue living confidently in my financial freedom and to further grow in my professional and personal lives as best as I possibly can. What are your resolutions/goals for 2018?