Honestly, while everyone else is doing the whole "new year, new me," "out with the old, in with the new." "Thank you 2018, next," I need to slow down for a minute, because what in the actual world was 2018?
Seriously, from graduating to going back to mental health counseling to being a missionary in a different state over spring break, I can't even break down how much 2018 challenged me and stretched me to new emotional and spiritual heights.
But that's what this playlist is for. Here are the songs that I would use to be encapsulate my 2018:
"Press Restart" by Walk the Moon.
I think what contributed most to my 2018 ending up so impactful for me was that it twisted my expectations. I had such low, boring standards for what would end up becoming the emotionally impactful events in my life. Besides the obvious, that the song is about heartbreak, I think on a deeper level "Press Restart" acknowledges an internal need to be transformed by and through circumstance, something 2018 did to me in spades.
"Chlorine" by twenty one pilots.
Alright, let me spell this out to "the clique" (twenty one pilots' fanbase), this song is not about suicide. Stop spinning that false, toxic narrative that romanticizes mental illness.
This song is truly about wanting to be cleansed, specifically: cleansed from insecurity and darker thoughts that the narrator is battling. The song ends with the most sonically beautiful moment in the band's discography, with an incredibly soft and vulnerable, piano-led prayer to God. There is a desire for life (as the narrator knows it) to be rebuilt, to be made new. Going into my summer break, this was exactly where I was at. Through insecurities and wounds being opened and salted, I found the true change needed to start with how I postured my heart towards others. My summer, much like "Chlorine" started with me being "wrecked" and realizing where I needed to open up to Jesus in prayer.
"Marching To the End" by Mutemath.
"Change hurts for some / But I'm counting on what's yet to come."
The last couple tracks of this playlist are noticeably more hopeful that the first two. Now, these last four months haven't been picture perfect, but I have more intentionally sought after healthier, spiritual peace with God. So much of what happened this year could have just spelt out the end: to me, my dreams, my desire to pursue. But with my graduation a couple weeks behind me, I now feel that I wasn't marching to the end of 2018, I was marching to the beginning of 2019.
People can over-glorify the end of the year. This moment has to somehow mark the end of bad behaviors, bad habits, old choices. Instead, I choose to focus on the beginning of new things: a beginning to spending quality time with Jesus each day, a beginning to honoring my body with healthy food and quality sleep, a beginning to the new responsibilities God wants me to accept and take on...notice the difference?
It's not about what you are ending, but what you are beginning. End all your negative habits and ways of living, and you're left with nothing: you haven't begun anything new, just sworn off everything old. That isn't progress. There needs to be action.
"Look Up Child" by Lauren Dangle.
I wasn't sure which track best encapsulated me beginning 2019, until just last week.
I was out Christmas shopping, and I stopped by a local Funko store in Everett. While driving the streets, I passed by a familiar sight: a neon sign the words "Jesus Saves" forming a cross.
This was the same sign I passed by every single day three years ago, back when I commuted to Everett Community College. I would see his sign every morning, glowing amidst the morning darkness.
And now, years later, that same image, the experience of "looking up" above my current circumstances, no matter good or bad, to be reminded of who should really be guiding me and is the source of my joy.
2018 was a year that shaped me beyond my expectations. And now with 2019 beginning, I'm ready to answer God's call, to "look up, child."