Why do we feel the need to reinvent ourselves in the New Year?

new-year-2017-png-12I used to be among the people who followed the “New Year, new me” mantra each year. I viewed the New Year as a fresh start to change the things that I don’t like about myself which, in a way, meant starting off the new beginning on a sour note. After all, finding things to change about myself meant focusing on the negatives rather than the positives which ultimately goes against my goal of self-love.

For this reason, I’ve decided for the past few years to focus my efforts on elements of myself that I like and want to continue to invest my time and energy into rather than finding things that I need to change about myself. I don’t set resolutions because to me the word has a negative connotation; instead, I set goals. Of course, this is not to say that setting resolutions and setting goals are two separate entities for everyone, but for me, the change in phrasing makes me think much more positively about myself and self-improvement rather than resolving to negate or eliminate parts of myself that I do not like.

Additionally, I don’t entirely agree with the idea of “reinvention” every year. What’s so wrong with the You that you were a few days ago in 2016? Why do you feel the need to completely reinvent yourself? For me, I find it much more positive to focus on how I want to improve the Me that I was last year by building on my strengths or working towards my goals for the future rather than trying to completely change who I am as a person. I think we as a society have come to view reinvention as this exotic, glamorous evolution when in reality, it might mean losing parts of yourself that make you wonderful. In my experience, any time I’ve tried to “reinvent” myself, it has been for the wrong reasons. I didn’t do it for myself or my own wellbeing; instead, I did it to make other people happy and, in the process, ended up making myself miserable. In every instance of self-reinvention that I have ever attempted I can now look back and see it as self-suppression during which time I lost parts of myself that I can now appreciate and even love.

So, I guess what I’m saying here is: why do you want to reinvent yourself? Why not try to improve yourself instead? Surely you’ve got a solid foundation of wonderful attributes, so why not try to build on those and add to yourself and who you are rather than focusing on the negative and taking away parts of who you are? I’m not naïve enough to believe that no human on the face of this planet has some bad habits or characteristics that could use changing, but I also believe that many of you out there who want to destroy (ahem…”reinvent”) parts of yourself are blind to the fact that those parts of yourself aren’t all that bad. Sometimes the things that you see in yourself as weakness, others see as a strength. It’s all about perspective.

Now ask yourself, do you really need reinvention?

Just some food for thought.

Ayla

7 Things to expect in the first month of living in a new city

Hello lovely readers!

As some of you may already know based on my previous post, I’ve recently moved to a new (and much much MUCH larger) city! As such, I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to share my experiences of transitioning to a new city. This will be the second time in 2 years that I’ve moved to a new city so it’s safe to say I know a thing or two about the transition, the highs and lows, and how to get acclimatized to a new environment. So, without further ado, here is my list of 7 things to expect in the first month of living in a new city!

Chicago skyline aerial view at dusk

  1. Sadness

I know, this definitely isn’t what you want to hear if you’re preparing for a big move, but you’ve got to be realistic. As with any big life change, moving to a new city means leaving behind parts of your life that you’ve become accustomed to. As a result, you might feel sad in the first few days or even weeks or months following your move. But don’t worry, once you get settled into the new city, meet new people, and put down some roots you will soon move past this sadness and embrace your new life!

  1. Excitement

At some point in the first few weeks of moving to a new city, you’re probably going to feel a huge rush of excitement and the urge to explore. On my very first day here I went for a 3 hour walk to explore (I’ve still got the sore muscles to prove it…). With that being said, this excitement did not come during my first move to a new city until I had been there for 2-3 weeks. My first transition was a lot harder for me so it took a little longer for the excitement to kick in, but it did come along eventually!

  1. Feeling lost

Getting lost in your new city is bound to happen at some point. If you take public transit you’ve got to learn all of the new bus routes that you will need to take and on top of that you’ve got to find your way to essential locations such a grocery stores, the pharmacy, the bank, school (if you’re a student), and work, to name only a few. While getting lost can be a little (or a lot) scary, try to have fun with it and embrace the adventure. And if you’ve got a smartphone with a data plan, you’ll at least have the peace of mind of having a GPS in your pocket at all times to help you out if you really need it.

  1. Stress

Stress is an inevitable (but manageable) part of the moving process. The actual moving day in and of itself is stressful, but then you’ve also got the financial stress of paying for the move, the stress of adapting to a new city, the stress of feeling cut off from your old life, and (in my case) the stress of having to find a new job. With this in mind, it’s important to remember to take care of yourself and do things that you enjoy that will help you manage your stress level. It’s also important to remember that even though you’ve moved to a new city, you’re not entirely cut off from the people you love who will support you; pick up the phone and call someone when you need to! You don’t have to go through all of this stress alone! (And if you find that you’re really struggling, perhaps consider finding yourself a good therapist who can help you through this life transition.)

  1. Loneliness

Loneliness is something that I personally have been struggling with over the past few days. I don’t really know anyone in my new city aside from a few classmates. I’ve moved even further away from my already far family and while I’m closer to my best friend, she’s still an hour and a half away. As a result, I’ve been feeling pretty isolated even though I actually tend to prefer spending time alone. So, to deal with this loneliness I’ve been distracting myself by embracing the excitement of the move and forcing myself to go out for at least a few hours every day and explore a new street/neighborhood every day. Not only is this helping me get a better grasp on the layout of the city, but it’s also keeping my mind busy and giving my body some much needed exercise to help with my stress.

       6. New experiences

A new city means new opportunities and tons of new experiences. There are new places to explore, new restaurants to try, new adventures to go on with friends! You might feel like turning into a hermit and staying in the safety of your warm bed with the company of Netflix, but try to challenge yourself! Get out there and enjoy all that your city has to offer you!

7. Personal growth

Moving to a new city means forcing yourself outside of your comfort zone and that means you have opportunities for personal growth. You get to experience a level of courage and resilience that you may not have known you possessed until you managed to move to a new place and survive the transition! Congratulations! You’re stronger than you knew and now you can take on even bigger life changes that you might have previously been afraid of! Now give yourself a pat on the back and take a moment to recognize and appreciate your strength! And, of course, enjoy your new home.

xo

Ayla