"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
The sun always comes up eventually.
No matter what struggles we go through the sun always rises, and so do we. At the beginning of 2016, I struggled heavily with my body image, the way other people thought of me, and other outwardly stressors. As the year went on, I created a lot of healthy relationships with new people who taught me how much I can be loved, regardless of what people from my hometown thought of me, and no matter what I looked like. It’s the new friendships I created that taught me that things will get better even when I am struggling at my deepest level. Although I don’t see these friends as often anymore, I will cherish the lesson I learned forever- There is always a rainbow after the storm.
It is important to take risks, despite the anxiety you feel.
A lot of my friends and family look at me as a very outgoing person, but I am actually really shy. I don’t enjoy putting myself out there because I fear rejection. All throughout high school, when a boy would ask me to hang out, I would always agree in the moment. But when the time came, I would suddenly become busy. I blew so many people off just because I was nervous and I potentially missed out on forming really great relationships. I realized how much I probably missed out on towards the end of my senior year, and finally took a crazy chance on meeting someone new and it ended up being one of the best decisions ever. I gained experience, joy, and a lot of memories that I had restricted myself from throughout high school. I learned that the worst outcome is a little awkwardness or rejection, but nothing I can’t get over.
It’s okay not to be liked by everyone.
This has been a challenge for me for as long as I can remember. I love being liked by everyone, so I always put so much effort into people who didn’t particularly enjoy my company. I would stay up at night wondering what I could have possibly done to be disliked by those individuals, and how I could fix things. This year taught me that some people don’t like me just because they don’t. We all have a few people that have done nothing wrong to us, and yet we don’t enjoy being around them. It’s just because our personalities clash and don’t fit together. It’s important to let the people who don’t like you go, so you can focus on the people that actually do care about you.
I am whole on my own.
I wish it hadn’t taken 19 years to discover this one. I relied on other people a lot to make me happy. When I was alone, I would become so distressed because I had no idea what to do with myself. I think it’s because I have never been my own biggest fan, and I felt like I needed someone else to fill that role for me. I needed someone to reassure me that I was good enough and that I was important. 2016 has taught me to be my biggest fan. I learned that I am good enough for me and I am good enough for God, so I don’t need to be perfect to anyone else. It’s crazy because I now value my alone time so much more.
If you don’t like the person you are, change.
It’s simple. If you don’t like who you have become, don’t be that person anymore. It’s called growing up for a reason! You grow out of the immature person you were so you can become your full self. I always thought going out to random parties and making friends over a bottle of cheap vodka was my favorite activity. I also loved shopping and spending money on material items and devoting 24/7 to my friends rather than my family. I’m different now. I didn’t like the person that made me become. I stopped drinking every night I got the chance, I realized how much money I wasted on pointless things, and I actually discovered how much I value my time with my family. Not only did these changes improve my mood, but it gave me such a positive outlook on life when I started making choices that I would be proud to pray about.
It's okay to say “no” and stay home on a weekend night.
FOMO is a very real thing, friends. I would be so scared of missing out on fun memories, that I would force myself to go to parties and social events even when I didn’t want to. Even when I was extremely sick, I would pretend I felt okay just so that I wasn’t missing out. I remember one time I was at a family event and all my friends were going out drinking and they wanted me to come. I begged my mom to let me leave with friends and when she said no, I had a panic attack. I literally would not let myself miss out on anything. The saddest part is that I was really enjoying my time with family before I had found out my friends were going out without me. Twenty sixteen taught me that if I don’t want to go places, I am allowed to say no. My friends will still be my friends whether I always participate or not.
Every broken relationship or friendship is a lesson from God.
I struggled with this all throughout my life thus far. It seemed people were always graduating, losing touch, and moving away, just as things were becoming good. I would pray to God wondering why he would make me so happy with a person just to strip them away from me. This year, I learned that I am on my own journey. If there was a book about my life, I’d want it to be titled “My Life.” I wouldn’t want it to be titled “My Life With _________” (Insert the people I used to find way too important). Although people can have a chapter in my book, it’s just to teach me a lesson so I can make the next chapters better. I know God has a beautiful plan for the closing chapter of my novel so I just have to be patient and let the chapters pass without feeling betrayed or resent.
I’m going to be okay.
My depression and anxiety have held me back a lot. There have been times that I questioned whether or not this life was for me. I would pray to God asking why he put me on this Earth, what his plans for me were, and how can I make my life feel full. I struggled with the thought that I would be alone for the rest of my life and still never know what God wanted me to do for him. This year has helped me realize that I am only nineteen. I haven’t even lived half my life yet. God still has beautiful plans in store for me. He can make my life full, and he can bring a smile out of the tears. I am going to be okay.
There are always lessons to be learned out of our trials. This year has been so difficult in many different aspects for me. It has also been very rewarding. I was able to rediscover myself, graduate from the longest period of schooling ever, love deeply, and finally feel whole all in a single year. If I can conquer all of this in 365 days, I can do anything- and so can you.