Because I’m always late to the party, I’m going to write about how to make 2018 a better year. Yes, I know it’s late February, but here it goes anyway:
I have no idea about how we make 2018 our year. I have no idea how to plan anything. I can’t even plan a birthday party! (All my birthday celebrations consist of cake and pizza because I just can’t seem to make even simple plans ahead.) And it’s not like I believe in energies, premonitions or anything like that, but I do believe in intuition, and this year just feels different. It just feels like it’s going to be better.
This year started on a different note. I decided I was finally going to commit to writing. FULL TIME. I’m not going to lie and say that it was an easy decision to make; to be honest, it wasn’t even a decision I made consciously. One day, around September 2017 I was looking at Aerogrammes Studio (awesome page for writers, check it out) for opportunities in writing and I stumbled across a deadline for a fellowship for Writing Residencies. I almost didn’t apply! There was a fee to apply; I had a job at the time, I thought about how competitive it was. I saw it as a waste of money, but a little voice was telling me to do it anyway.
I seriously don’t know how it happened, but I got it. I had to quit my job, and I did. Obviously, this decision, for many people, seemed reckless. I didn’t give a sh*t. And you know what? It felt liberating. For once, in a long time, I felt like I was true to myself, and I was committing to the things I said I wanted to do. I learned that it’s one thing to say “I want to be a writer” and not write than to say you want to be a writer and write every day. To walk the talk.
Yes, we’re young. Yes, we have time. But, no, we don’t have ALL the time in the world, and sometimes the Universe is like, “Hey, I have this opportunity for you. Take it now that you can, don’t waste it.” We’re like, “No, thanks, Universe. Not right now.” That’s how we just end up in jobs we don’t like and living lives that feel…wrong. Lives that don’t feel like ours.
Now, it’s not that I’ll never have a job again. Once I’m back from the residency I have to find a job and find out what I’m going to do with my life. But I feel a little bit more honest and a little bit braver. Waking up to rejection letters from magazines, editing fourth and fifth drafts of the same story that doesn’t seem to work, going through days that feel like you’re never going to write another page. It’s all tough. However, this is never as painful as not doing the work. Want to be a dancer, but you’re 35? Dance anyway. Want to be a makeup artist, but you’re a lawyer? Start doing your friend’s makeup, start an Instagram beauty account in your free time. I don’t know how, but just do it.
The “How I Met Your Mother” Quote:
There’s a quote in “How I met your Mother” (Unrelated, but I’m the female version of Ted Mosby) that I think should define our year in 2018. In the 200th episode, the Mother meets her former music teacher (AKA the naked man), and they go back to her apartment. After a really uncomftortable scene where he takes all his clothes off while she’s in the bathroom, they have a conversation about how lost they are both feeling in their lives. The music teacher tells her that although he is teaching music, which is what he always wanted to do, he is living in his parent’s basement and this makes him feel like his life has hit rock bottom.
He then asks the Mother what she wants to do with her life, and she replies she wants to end poverty. The music teacher, in an unexpected second of wisdom, replies, “Great. Then every decision you make from here on out should be in service of that.”
This quote sounds so simple, but I know at times this feels like the most challenging thing to do in the world. I’m not telling you to quit your job, but I’m telling you to start something that feels like you’re moving in the right direction. It will feel liberating, I promise.
Now, your turn. What are your goals for this 2018? Any exciting plans for this year? Let me know in the comments
Author: Maria Alejandra Barrios
Author Bio: Maria Alejandra Barrios is a writer born in Barranquilla, Colombia. She has lived in Bogotá and Manchester, where she completed a Masters degree in Creative Writing from The University of Manchester. Her story ‘Luna’ was shortlisted in 2017’s Bare Fiction competition in London, and she’ll be a writer in residence in March of 2018 in the Vermont Studio Center thanks to a fellowship awarded by the center. Maria writes about immigration, the feeling of in-betweenness and coming-of-age. She writes fiction in English and Spanish.
Link to social media or website: www. eclecticstories.com