Looking Back at 2017: Metamorphosis

At the beginning of 2017, I was prompted to choose a word that I will let define my year.  I chose the word

Metamorphosis

This was my reason for the choice:

The word means “transformation”. To me, though, metamorphosis is something deeper.

The transformation is often what is visible and obvious, but the process to get there may have not been. So, this is my 2017 word. I am letting it inspire me to use the painful process to change for the better for the longer haul.

As I had anticipated, the process was not exactly obvious and maybe even the changes are not that visible either. However, I know that I am not the same person I was when the year started.

2017 was the kind of year that was both phenomenal and ordinary.   It was the kind of year wherein the ordinary is within the phenomenal and vice versa.

I moved to a new city on the other side of the country, where they say if I make it here I’ll make it anywhere. Technically, I moved to New York from California at the end of 2016, but 2017 was when I officially (tried to) made it my new home, for now.

I took on a new role, with a new team, in a new organization.  This could easily be the type of change that happens to me all the time. However, the role, the organization and the team evolved throughout the year.  That process alone is testament to metamorphosis — how the process is invisible and sometimes even the change.

I met new people and called them friends and decided to keep them for a lifetime. I let go of people from the past, those who I thought were people I would keep for a lifetime.  I reconnected with people from long ago, and thought that meeting again is somewhat healing. Through this, I learned that metamorphosis is not just about the creating and recreating, but also about the shedding and the letting go.

I got recognition and accomplished milestones I didn’t think I would.  I lost opportunities, projects and experienced setbacks when I thought I was on the right track.  And with those experiences, I learned that metamorphosis is also about not just the confidence and pride but about humility.

My health was interesting – I was both fine and not.  And when I am not, the reasons were funny. I mean vocal nodules under duress is not something common, is it?  And that was causing my fevers because I was not breathing properly.  I guess metamorphosis is also about going back to the basics and relearning them.

I planned things and canceled plans.  I went on outings on a whim. I threw out the rules on the bucket list and did a trip (to Greece) even when my required conditions weren’t there (aka it was either supposed to be a honeymoon trip or when I turn 33, and the situation was neither of those things).  I even threw out the bucket list and ended up visiting places I didn’t think about visiting before (Shenandoah, Quebec and Bermuda).  Here’s where I learned that metamorphosis becomes possible when you surrender to the moment.

2017 for me was like living the questions, not necessarily to find answers, but simply to be asking the questions.  It was, for me, trying to understand my life through the perspective of other people and in their counsel and callouts.

Here are the best advice (and questions) I heard, and heeded this year, that helped facilitate my own metamorphosis:

  • Surrender to happiness.  (If you can’t surrender to love, then at least, surrender to happiness.)
  • What are you most afraid of?
  • Who should you forgive?
  • No one can keep you from being who you are. So, be you, be the best you.
  • Your clarity is not dependent on someone else’s answers. Sometimes your clarity comes from resisting the confusion.  Sometimes resisting the confusion means you have to walk away.

I often wish I had a lot to show for the year that was. However, as I embrace authenticity as a result of the metamorphosis, I wonder why I feel inadequate when all the moments, all the experiences — simple as they are — make me who I am becoming. Why do I need to show for anything? And, that’s how I decided to abandon lists of wishes and praises.

There is my 2017.  Lots to learn from, lots to be thankful for. It definitely was not an average year.  2017 is different from all the other years. It felt a lot like either the beginning of something. Yet, at times it also felt like the middle of a story that is yet to get interesting.

Farewell to you, Seventeen. Thank you for all you’ve done. Consider me changed because of you.