Its June Already: Reflections on the First Half of 2018

Gratefulness
Half of the year has passed. Some self-reflection is in order.
470 days of consecutive meditation as of today. I miss my 30-minute sessions, but apparently not enough to make it a priority and actually follow through with it. See, complete honesty at all times.
“If you have more than three priorities, you have none.”
The third week in a row writing every day. Amazing feeling and what I already knew- I should have started earlier. Happy I made this a priority.

Blamed for loving myself too much, so I’ll have to gladly report self-care and self-love is still top notch.

Some of my self-care practices include reading, sports, movies, wine. They might differ for you, just make sure you make time for yourself and the activities you enjoy whatever they are. Unless you enjoy watching videos of people popping their pimples what the fuck.
There once was a time I’d read one book A DAY, but lately, I haven’t been able to read as much (umm duh). Turns out I’ve only read 10 books the first 6 months of the year though, which I find disappointing.
  1. Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Enlightenment – Robert Wright
  2. Difficult Women – Roxane Gay
  3. Hunger – Roxane Gay
  4. The Art of Public Speaking – Dale Carnegie
  5. The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking – Chris Anderson
  6. The Sun and Her Flowers – Rupi Kaur
  7. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge
  8. The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: Guidance on the Path to Mindfulness from a Spiritual Leader – Haemin Sunim
  9. Notes of a Native Son – James Baldwin
  10. Neuroplasticity – Mo Costandi
However, after making the (incredibly complex) math, that’s 2 books a month which isn’t bad. Right? Still,  I feel the urge to read more deeply in my soul. Which reminds me of…
That thing I feel deep in my soul? Or that gut feeling? They’re right most times. And even if they, against the odds, are not, I try to remember:
“That’s all failure is. Feedback.”
As for sports, I’ve played a lot of tennis, went running, swimming, worked out, moved my body. Everyone knows exercise has numerous benefits, but it isn’t until I’m inconsistent with it and “fall behind” that I start to really feel the most important reason as to why I do it. Simply said, my mental health flourishes when I move, and my thoughts start getting dark when I don’t. I’m proud I’ve managed to find and keep a routine that works for me, making my psychological state into a priority, through yet another medium.
My relationships have thrived, even though I’ve lost a lot of people throughout the years. Our circles get smaller and stronger as we grow, even our concept of friendship changes. At least mine has. I’m especially deeply grateful for two of my friends, who’ve made my life 100x better this year.
I’m still not stable enough to get a dog (or 3). I still haven’t made a significant donation to a charity I care about. I still haven’t called out an Italian (or fake Italian) for being loud and rude. Still not enough upper body strength to be considered good at pull-ups. Haven’t been to a Drake concert, still. Still a little softer than I should at times, and tougher than I should at others. Still trying.
I’ve learned so much, professionally speaking.

Also, this year I’ve grown more than my whole life. That is a bittersweet realization.

In Albania, we usually tell children “if you don’t get hurt, you won’t grow.”
That’s why I love words, they’re so powerful. You can turn a crying kid into a happy one. “You fell off your bicycle and broke your arm? That must mean you’re growing extra fast.” “You were playing basketball and the ball hit you in the head because your coordination is whack and hurt you? Yeah, this is how you grow!” “Your heart’s so broken you can hardly breathe? Growth!!!”
As the cheesy but true quote goes:
Something will grow out of everything you’re going through, and it will be you.
I wish I had some statistics such as how many words I’ve written, how many people I’ve helped, how much time spent on social media, how many bottles of wine, how many hugs, how many tears, how many white lies.
Quite satisfied with how patient I’ve become, and the balance I’ve achieved between my spiritual and practical self.
I’ve always wondered whether I’d lose my spiritual, unconventional, “deep” part as I grow, but I smile internally knowing 8-year-old me would love present me.
As the other cheesy quote goes:
Do something today that your future self will thank you for. 
That is my goal for the next half of 2018. Make future me proud, repeatedly, consistently, endlessly.

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