Every year comes and goes even more quickly than the last and 2018 was no exception. The end of the year was just like every and all of them: filled with a lot of self-reflection and planning for the approaching new year. I found myself looking around and watching my peers note each one of their major accomplishments over the last 12 months (as they should). However, in doing that I quickly realized that my accomplishments were basically nonexistent. 2018 was probably my least productive year ever.

Although I generally avoid comparing myself to others, I do think it’s important to hold yourself accountable for the things you should — or shouldn’t — be doing. Hundreds of self-deprecating thoughts invaded my brain. “Wow, I’ve had zero promotions, no advanced degrees, monetized none of my passions and definitely didn’t make nearly enough money to travel the globe every other month. What the f**k did I even do this year?” I felt that I had regressed a little. I felt as though every aspect of my life had only been getting worse.

What was most shocking to me out of all of this was that, despite everything negative I was feeling about myself, I was so incredibly excited for 2019. Why? I could not figure it out. On paper, I shouldn’t have been. On paper, I should’ve been ashamed. On paper, I had absolutely nothing to look forward to. Maybe it’s because I felt like there’s nowhere to go but up. I mean, at this point I figured the only way I could do worse is by being unemployed. Then it hit me.

I did accomplish something. I accomplished something major.

There were various noteworthy inner milestones I hit over the last year. None of which were based on a traditional capitalistic “productive” sense, but in about a thousand other ways. Each negative thing that happened, every obstacle, heartbreak, disappointment and days where my depression won, I grew to a level, mentally, that I’ve never been before.

I’ve discovered so much about myself. I’ve spent a lot of time alone and started genuinely getting to know who I am to my core, which is something I couldn’t truly say before. I feel so in tune with my spirit and my soul. 2018 was the year I discovered the importance of self-love. There was a point in my past when, although I was extremely productive, I felt directionless. Where I was going meant nothing to me. Those feelings however, are so far gone. I don’t feel directionless anymore. I feel ready to move within my purpose.

We’re all progressing in different ways. I want anyone reading this to know that it’s OK if your year felt stagnant. Look deeper into yourself and you’ll likely find that your experiences throughout the year taught you something. You’ve probably gained something major that aided in your growth. Not everything great can be materialized. Spiritual growth and spending time nourishing your soul are both important and often overlooked. There’s important work we need to consistently be doing on ourselves outside of a corporate job or a degree. Please remember: It is more than OK if the things you accomplished aren’t reflected in your bank account or your career status.

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