January 7, 2022

Goodbye 2021, #ImFeeling2022


2021 was wild.

Often times, we share our successes on social media for people to see — the victory posts, the IG stories showing off how proud we are of certain achievements, the job updating on LinkedIn, and so many more. But underneath all these, I’m pretty sure each of us has gone through some difficult stuff. And these difficult stuff are honestly... difficult to share.

2021 was a big year for me — it was the year I reached my highest highs and lowest lows. I feel like this year has been my most eventful, most lesson-filled, and most experience-building year so far in my life. From building my first startup, pitching on a national (virtual) stage, getting promoted at NextPay, to starting Taikee — the year was wild.

Honestly, idk how I survived.

I thought I was heading into the best year of my life so far.

I was building a B2B startup with an amazing team, I was doing work I was proud of at NextPay, and I got some awesome freelance projects that boosted my career (and honestly, my finances too). Being the overthinker I am (was?), I kept thinking, “Things are going too well... Something’s bound to fail.”

Welp, guess I ✨manifested✨ that into existence.

It was like slow motion.

Come June (my birth month, of all months), my 2021 started going downhill. Until now, I consider this as one of, if not the lowest points in my life. I left the startup I was working on due to personal reasons, lost some close friends I trusted, felt unsafe with whoever I talked to, and doubted myself and my path a lot. I didn’t know where I was going, and I felt like the whole world against me. For the first time in my life, my problems led to me drinking — I wanted to drown out my feelings. There were times when I didn’t get out of bed, stayed in the dark the entire day, and break down every 30 minutes. Grey’s Anatomy was my only good point.

After a month and a half of reeling, I started to pick myself up with the help of my friends. I got back to work at NextPay, pushed my career forward with new certifications and programs, and took the leadership position in one of my college communities. I was slowly feeling like myself again, but something was still missing.

Some conversations, advice, heart-to-hearts, and crying-to-Taylor-Swift sessions helped me find that missing thing — it was, as cliché as it sounds, self-love. To get better, I needed to accept both the good and the bad.

I got back on my feet with more confidence — not in my work, not in my achievements, but in myself. I entered my reputation era.

🐍 To non-Swifties: reputation was Swift’s comeback album after facing hate from almost the whole world. Some consider it the biggest comeback in music history.

For two and a half months, I was quiet on social media (except Twitter, because work had to continue 🤣). I worked on myself, regained the fuel I needed, and got to work. I filtered out all the noise, set some new personal and work goals, and moved on.

After all these, one of my mentors told me:

You’re not going back to step one. You’re simply starting level two.

Fast forward to the end of 2021, I felt some sense of inner peace — I was finally on a right path, I had the balance I kept looking for, and I felt like a better version of myself.

In short, I failed a lot this 2021:

I won’t go into detail about everything that happened, but here are some things I’m grateful for this 2021, which I believe came from the afterglow of everything that happened:

Call it what you want, but I only see daylight now.

This 2022, my personal OKRs include objectives for both work and life. From launching Taikee to averaging more than 7 hours of sleep, I want to become someone who’s more than just what I do. I don’t want to be Ceej the founder, Ceej the PM, Ceej the UX guy — I just want to be Ceej, period.

Some work stuff I want to accomplish:

Things I want to do for me:

I’m entering 2022 the same way I felt at the start of 2021, but I know better now. Hoping that the lessons I learned last year will guide me in having an overall awesome year for both me and the people around me.

I don’t know about you, but #ImFeeling2022 💫

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