Man. This year has been something else. From the Trump administration's many slights against the middle/lower class and those of color to the loss of many close friends to the purging of Hollywood's perverts, this year has been quite an attack on the young college student's outlook on life. I can definitely say myself that I have never been so surprised at the state of the world. But what should I have expected? After the Obama administration, I should have known that people were so eager to slight people of color for wanting to see themselves in a position of power that they would put a fool like Trump in office. I should have known that not all of your friends are going to consider you to be a friend, and that overextending myself would get me used until I had nothing left to give. I should have known that Hollywood was not all the glitz and glamour that they portray it to be; people have sacrificed their bodies for years for the sake of maintaining the image of others as pure individuals. This year has come as a complete jolt, a shock to the system, a slap in the face with the stoniest of hands. However, I can say that I've learned a lot too, mostly about myself.
Over the past year, I've learned about my true self in so many ways. I used to hate that after I performed or went on stage, I would go home wanting to celebrate but had little to no desire to go out and drink with friends. I'd sit in my apartment for hours wondering why I just didn't want to do a lot of the things my friends would do; I was never big on the nightlife, and most days I'd be at home rather than deciding to go out. Sometimes I would isolate myself due to just pure exhaustion from being out and interacting everyday; for a while I thought something was wrong with me. I realize now that I'm not a weirdo whom has little friends, I just like spending time by myself more often than not and while my friends like going out almost every weekend and partying, I'd rather stay in and watch a movie or read a book or play videogames. I used to stretch myself thin trying to socially interact with everyone around me day in and day out; eventually this became exhausting to the point that I'd almost literally shut down for days at a time so that I could recuperate. I used to think there was something wrong with me for the fact that I couldn't keep up with my friends' fast living. Now, I recognize that I'm a homebody and I'm proud to say that my realization of that is the reason that I'm flourishing mentallly, emotionally, creatively, and spiritually. Academically I've always stayed on top of my work and taken care of my business, but outside of school my life was usually in shambles. Only when I started taking care of myself (and spending more time with myself as a result) did I realize that I just wasn't built to party every weekend and go out all the time for this or that event. I just like to be to myself sometimes and reflect. Not to say my friends don't engage in deep thought themselves, I just don't usually have the time because I spend a lot of time contributing to the work of others. It's nice to come home to an empty apartment and just stretch out on my couch to meditate, or just spending a full day pigging out and playing videogames with my OG friends from high school.
I've become more connected to my friends from high school over the years since we've graduated, and with 2017 coming to an end, I'm realizing that they were here for me when none of my other friends were able to be. Considering the fact that these guys are going to other schools, some of them in other states, and others in the military or working, it had to have been difficult for them to always be there for me the way that they were. But they did it regardless and I'm always going to be thankful for that; without them I'd probably never even have realized half of the things I have because nobody else was really willing to listen to me go through it emotionally and spiritually. If nobody else, I know that my bros will always accept me as is and even if they laugh or joke about things that I take seriously, they always know when I really need a shoulder to cry on. Speaking of, I want to talk about my fiancee next.
Since meeting my fiancee, we have endured plenty of our own trials and tribulations as a couple, especially from the fact that for most of our relationship we have had to love each other from afar. Factor in our soon-to-be-4-year-old son, and it gets that much more difficult. But I can definitely say my fiancee is the most amazing woman that I have the fortune of being able to spend the rest of my life with. We've had our moments of scrutiny and criticism towards each other, but with the growth that we have both experienced this year, I am so proud to call her mine and mine only. I've experienced more than my own share of heartbreak and disenchantment at the hands of other women, so to finally be with a woman and have a son who understands me, accepts me, and loves me for who I am completely is a blessing that in a year like 2017, could not have come at a better time. I love that woman to the end of the earth and always will.
So, 2017 has been quite a year, but I've had some key realizations that have changed my life for the better. And I plan to capitalize on every opportunity that I gain due to this new clarity of mind that I have. I want to thank my boys from back home, the few true friends I believe I have on campus, and my fiancee for being some of the most important influences on my happiness because they made me realize: the world is a crazy place, but as long as you love yourself and have people around you who feel similarly, you are going to be alright. Yes, it sucks that we're dealing with so much negativity in the world right now, it's very disappointing to see the landscape changing the way that it is. But for our generation, we need to start seeing ourselves first instead of the despondency of the world's existence. Our happiness is almost entirely dependent upon it. Ask your friends how they're doing. Call your parents at the end of a long day. Talk to your professors about something that caught your mind's eye. Express yourself to the fullest and be yourself unapologetically. You should be the most important person to yourself, but that does not mean you cannot give and receive gratefully. So as we go into this next year, think about those around you with more attention to the fact that we are all human, we are all still learning, nobody is anywhere on purpose, and one day, we're all going to be gone. Make the best of your years, because you never know which one might be your last.