I know it’s kind of late for New Years wokeness, but better late than never, right? 2017 was an insane year for me. So much happened and the year moved so quickly that there was barely any time to process the milestones as they occurred. I moved to Manhattan, navigated a pretty confusing dating scene, traveled a lot, got promoted (!!), and finally got a haircut that was right for me (this was arguably the highlight of my year). It was busy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
This post was inspired by a Google Photos notification (a “rediscover this day”) with a handful of pics from just over a year ago. I rarely check those notifications because I maintain a pretty strict never-look-back policy (the one element of self-control I can exhibit) but for some reason, I checked it out and could not believe how much progress I’ve made this year mentally.
The photos that I reluctantly rediscovered were from a pretty standard Erica Bogdan adventure; I was on the Upper West Side and exploring without an agenda (I was probably hunting for a new piece from a boujee thrift store) – but I can clearly remember my heart feeling inexplicably heavy and sad. Although I was doing one of my favorite things, I was completely overcome by loneliness and wished so hard that I had someone to share the day with. This was a feeling I experienced many times over the course of 2016/2017 – and it was always debilitating.
It made me sad to remember those emotions, honestly, I pitied my year-ago-self, but it was really healthy for me to relive that day for a few minutes. The pictures made me thankful for the fact that I am in such a different place now, and while, yes – I still go through moments of 23-year-old loneliness and insecurity – those feelings are much more fleeting and manageable than they were a year ago. After a bit of reflection (and a bunch of yoga classes), I landed on a few elements that have noticeably evolved over the course of the past year that has helped me cultivate a more positive headspace.
- Developing Some Kickass Friendships – In 2017 my friendships blossomed – old ones, new ones, and everything in between. In May, I reconnected with a group of alumni from my high school (that I wasn’t necessarily close with back then), that I’ve found extreme comfort in knowing in New York. I became closer to some amazing people from Marist that I related to on a much deeper level now that we are no longer the shitty college versions of ourselves. And the most surprisingly (to me) is that I’ve become extremely close to my coworkers and really found a family at Cadreon. My relationships have never felt more genuine and this has rocked my world.
- Finding a Creative Outlet – Writing more (even though it’s pretty infrequent/sporadic) has been so cathartic. Articulating my feelings has been productive beyond belief and it’s helped me wrap my head around things I didn’t even realize I was struggling with. It’s also reminded me how much I love getting things down on paper. I started this blog to help other people feel less alone, but I think it’s helped me develop a sense of myself and confidence that I was missing.
- Getting #FIT – As mentioned in an earlier post, I stepped up my fitness game in the second half of 2017. This has made a world of difference in my mental and physical health; I’m still doing ClassPass, but joined a yoga studio in Tribeca full time which has been so empowering. The sense of community is amazing and I feel like it’s one thing in my life that I do 100% for me. The studio is my sanity and my happy place, and I’ve never felt stronger. Also, YOGA BUTT, not mad about it!
A year ago I had no idea how much work would go into overcoming a pretty overwhelming sense of loneliness and insecurity. Anyone who knows me will attest that I am a super upbeat person, but the truth is, it’s not always as bright and shiny on the inside as it appears. But I didn’t let that stop me from appreciating my beautiful life – I tried to remain as positive as I could and take advantage of my surroundings. I put myself out there (in all sorts of ways) and gained confidence by allowing myself to gravitate towards things that served me. Eventually, I found strength and satisfaction in doing things alone.
I know loneliness will always have the potential to creep back in, but learning to focus on things that make me happy was a lesson I really needed. The past year wasn’t easy (and my journey not exactly deliberate) but I’m so much happier than I was a year ago – and for that, I am eternally grateful.
Solo selfie from a New Years day walk.
PS – 2018 resolutions (2 of which are off to a great start!): Cook more, watch movies, be more financially responsible. More on those later… but I’m sure you can guess which one of those has not been a huge success.