No matter who you are, April is a transformative month. Winter has officially ended and Spring flowers have begun to bloom. April marks the halfway point of the semester for most traditional students, so they need to start figuring out if they can make up enough points to pass their classes. The Sun has moved into Aries, rolling into the start of the Astrological New Year. April has always been a month of review for me as it is my birthday month. I find myself recollecting what the last year of my life has brought me (or what it has taken away). I review accomplishments, failures, relationships, time spent and gratitude. This has been a practice for me for as long as I can remember, but this year I decided to start a new tradition: looking forward.
Naturally a birthday calls for a celebration, but this year I’ve barely noticed the event inching closer. Last year was a crazy one in the world so I’ve found it a little difficult to keep my mind focused on anything for more than a few minutes, or hours, let alone make plans for the future. Especially a future that has slowly become a place that at this point is so uncertain to so many people.
It’s true: tomorrow is never promised. Never has been, and likely never will be. I’d venture to say that “future” could be synonymous with “uncertainty.” So, how do we all continue on? How do we push forward with goals, aspirations, joy, and beliefs towards a place in time that may or may not even exist?
For a lot of people, this thought never crosses their mind. Moving forward is as unconscious and automatic of a process as breathing. But for millions of people, the thought of pushing on day-to-day is a constant concern. I believe the will to continue moving forward comes from one thing: faith.
This may seem like somewhat of a buzzword due to its longstanding place in religion. For many people, this is where they first learned about the daunting task that is having faith. But I believe that faith goes far beyond the religious figure you feel led to follow. Faith can be placed in people, places, and even experiences. However, the most overlooked placement of faith is in yourself. You can believe that every other element of life can pull through for you, but if you don’t have faith in yourself first, nothing can or will move.
I have spent the last year coming to terms with a lot that has been going on in the world that I’m not quite comfortable with. One major lesson I’ve learned is how uncomfortable I am with the thought of allowing life to happen to me instead of me taking charge. I have spent most of my life just sitting by the wayside, constantly trying to adapt to situation after situation, while taking pain and joy in waves. Sometimes, this is out of our hands. There is so much in the world that happens without consideration or consent. While there is plenty that is unavoidable, I have control of how situations affect me. I have control of how I react. I have control of how I move forward. I just need to have faith in myself.
So, starting this year, after I’ve logged my usual time of reflection, I’m going to create a new moment of preparation for the future unknown. This session will begin with reviewing what aspects of my life are no longer serving me. The number one thing that keeps pushing itself to the forefront of my mind is how my current job is no longer serving me. One of the biggest accomplishments I managed in 2016 was completing my Bachelor’s degree. But since then, like many other college graduates, I have not been able to take my first step into my career field. Even worse, I have become comfortable with staying at my good-for-now, pre-degree job. There has been a phrase knocking around my mind for months now that I have been actively ignoring, but it’s time I stepped up and listened: stability is not equal to happiness. Taking the time to be honest with myself about what needs to be let go is a way of showing faith.
The next step will be actually getting rid of those things that aren’t serving me. This will be the hardest part but I have to have faith in myself. After I’ve sufficiently revved myself up, I’ll have to evaluate what needs to get done to move forward. I will review what I have deemed important after my purge, and create actionable steps that I can take to make progress on these future-centered goals. One can dream about an end goal all they want but until they put a plan into action, they’ll never reach the “end.” In regards to my career transition, this step will consist of creating a checklist of what I need out of a new job, i.e. how much I need to be paid, which of my skills I will be utilizing, what kind of enrichment I’ll need to gain, etc. There’s some soul-searching to be done here, but I know it will be worth it.
Finally, I’ll meditate; something I’ve come to end every life-review with. I’ll focus on setting my intentions for the future and for my career. I’ll center my mind on where I’ve been, where I am, and where I hope to go. I’ll speak my plans out into the Universe, and declare that I am going to accomplish them. And I’ll speak (and probably journal) some affirmations. The one that has become a lifeline for me in the last year has been: “I will be okay, no matter what tomorrow brings.”
I think this last step is the most faith-driven action I can take. After all, tomorrow is never promised. There are so many things that tomorrow may bring that are out of my control. But I have to have faith that I will do what I can, to my best ability, to move forward.
What’s new with Ashleigh? “My birthday is coming up in April so I will be reviewing my whole last blessed year on Earth. Lots of reflection, gratitude and meditation in my near future!“