And That's A Wrap on 2018

And That's A Wrap On 2018

Another year of life lessons is in the books.

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One year ago, I shared a reflection of my personal experiences in 2017. I spoke of my life as a writer, as a daughter, and as a friend. I addressed my relationship with myself, as well as with others, ultimately concluding with this takeaway from the previous year:

"I believe in self-care. I believe in waking up each morning, looking in the mirror, and feeling satisfied with the person that I am. I believe that hard work creates character, and have seen that simply "getting by" is no longer an option in this world. I believe in independence and its hand in fostering growth. I believe in family and in friendship, seeing now that offering your ear or a piece of advice can make an incredible impact on somebody's life.

I believe in love, both in the happiness and in the heart break it may bring. I believe in gratitude and in displaying your thanks and your loyalty to those who have supported you. Primarily, I have come to believe in change. I no longer cringe at the sound of the word, or label it with a negative connotation. Instead, I have learned to embrace it. Change provides opportunity, and can lead to a happiness that remains unknown to us until we choose to walk through its door. My priorities have changed, my thought process has changed, and I have changed."

As a person who claims that every year will be "my year," I am devastated to say that 2018 was, in fact, not "my year." In fact, it was the furthest thing from it. At this time last year, my life was drastically different than it is now. My life was comprised of different people, different events and activities, different friendships and relationships - all things I once thought I could not live without. Yet, as 2018 is coming to a close, I am proud to say that I have learned more from my experiences within this past year than I have in the entirety of my life. I have found an honest takeaway.

I still believe in self-care, though I now believe it should be prioritized above most things. I still believe in waking up each morning and looking in the mirror, though I know now that the choices you make will not always leave you feeling satisfied with the reflection staring back at you.

I will always believe that hard work creates character, yet in times of turmoil, you can only do your best - and your best may simply be "getting by." There is no truer statement than the fact that independence will foster your growth because, at the end of the day, the only person you can fully rely on is yourself. Family and friendship are the parts of life that fill the void of loneliness, but we forget that offering our ears tends to come as a formality. If you are going to offer your advice, mean every word of it.

I still believe in love, both in the happiness and in the heartbreak it may bring, though I realize I have yet to experience it. I will continuously believe in gratitude and displaying your thanks and your loyalty to those who have supported you, though, when push comes to shove, you cannot always expect to receive the same in return. As far as change goes, I will be the first to say that it is a very real thing. At times, it provides opportunity and can lead to an unknown source of happiness. Realistically speaking, change can very easily open the doors to the depths of your life that you wish you had not been forced to encounter.

One year ago, it was far too easy for me to declare that my priorities had changed. This year, I can say the same, though it is coming from a completely different standpoint. After my personal experiences in 2018, I can declare that my priorities have changed, though they have changed as a result of hardships. I do not believe that your struggles define you, but I do believe that they have an effect on shaping you. I am proud to say that mine have shaped me into the strongest version of myself to date, and for that, I am grateful.

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When You Make A Girl An Aunt, You Change Her World In All The Best Ways

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest girl in the world.

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My brother and his wife recently blessed our family with the sweetest bundle of joy on planet earth. OK, I may be a little bias but I believe it to be completely true. I have never been baby crazy, but this sweet-cheeked angel is the only exception. I am at an age where I do not want children yet, but being able to love on my nephew like he is my own is so satisfying.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a very protective person.

From making sure the car seat is strapped in properly before every trip, to watching baby boy breathe while he sleeps, you'll never meet someone, besides mommy and daddy of course, who is more concerned with the safety of that little person than me.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her a miniature best friend.

There is something about an aunt that is so fun. An aunt is a person you go to when you think you're in trouble or when you want something mom and dad said you couldn't have. An aunt is someone who takes you to get ice cream and play in the park to cool down after having a temper tantrum. I can't wait to be the one he runs to.

When you make a girl an aunt, she gets to skip on the difficulty of disciplining.

Being an aunt means you get to be fun. Not to say I wouldn't correct my nephew if he were behaving poorly, but for the most part, I get to giggle and play and leave the hard stuff for my brother.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her the best listening ears.

As of right now I only listen to the sweet coos and hungry cries but I am fully prepared to listen to all the problems in his life in the future.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the best advice giver.

By the time my nephew needs advice, hopefully, I will have all of my life lessons perfected into relatable stories.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a number-one fan

Anything you do in life sweet boy, I will be cheering you on. I already know you are going to do great things.

When you make a girl an aunt, she learns what true love is.

The love I have for my nephew is so pure. Its the love that is just there. I don't have to choose to show love every day, I don't have to forgive, I don't have to worry if it is reciprocated, it is just there.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest person in the world.

I cannot wait to watch my precious nephew grow into the amazing person that I know he is going to be.

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I Wonder If You'd Be Proud of Me

Or if you even think of me at all.

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I wonder if you'd be proud of me.

My first thought when I wake up in the morning is whether or not you still think of me. I think about if I am wearing the right outfit if I were to see you that day. I think about if I am saying the right thing for you to want to want me again.

Throughout my day, I think about whether or not you're happy. I wonder if the feeling in my heart of missing who I thought you were is making its way to you. Sometimes I think about what I did to make you hate me as much as you do.

Sometimes when things get really hard, I think about picking up the phone to call you. Time keeps passing from the last time I saw you and during that time I've painted a picture of you that would probably only disappoint me in the end. Your phone number still sits in my phone and I go to your contact, wanting to call, but knowing that at the other end is not the person I used to know.

I wonder if you watch me. I wonder if the posts I make, pictures I post, and articles I write are viewed by you and whether or not you care to even search my name. I wonder if you ask people about me or if you care to know the person I am today.

Without you, I have changed. It has been two years and though time will only continue moving on without you, I wonder what would have happened if I didn't make the choices I made to make you react in the way you have.

When the sun shines bright on the flowers blooming around campus, I think of your jokes and sarcastic wit. When the rain pours from the sky and keeps me imprisoned within the walls of a building, I think of ways I felt imprisoned by you. When clouds form shapes in the sky that I can make stories out of, I think of the way life could've been.

Sometimes I write to you. They are the letters I can never send because I have to remind myself that though we knew each other once, you do not know me anymore. The picture in my mind of who you are now is someone who'd love me with open arms, but I know that there's no truth in that. It's only my wishful thinking out to break my heart once more.

I wonder if you hear me when I try talking to you. I wonder if the words I tell God are making their way to you as you go on living the life we always talked about when times get tough. I wonder if you're talking to God about me.

As I watch the sunset, I think about the last moment I was with you. As that chapter ended, I was only wishfully thinking that walking away would save me from further pain. In the end, I don't know about how life would've been different had it not happened.

When my picture of you gets too bright and I share it with others, I am reminded of reality. The screaming, crying, pushing, shoving, and hitting touches my skin once more in the form of flashbacks that push me further down into the depths of a depression. I am reminded of the hundreds of suicidal thoughts and letters that I've written once before.

No matter what, my heart still yearns for a hug. A hug where I can bury myself into your body and feel safe. A hug where I forget every worry in my mind and focus solely on the love.

I wonder if you'd still love me if I changed myself to be the person you've always wanted me to be. I wonder if you'd forgive me for walking away, even if it was for me to change to be a better person. I wonder if you'll ever even read this.

Days like today, I want to go back in time. I sit on the benches around campus and look up at the sky, down at the cars passing by, and listen to life move on all around me as I remain stuck. I hear people talking, see them laughing, and wonder if there's any way I could one day feel as alive as they do.

The truth is that I was never enough for you. No matter how much I changed, kept notes of what you liked so I could be like that, or just kept my head down and moved silently, nothing was ever enough.

No matter what, though, I still yearn to be loved in the way that I picture you should've loved me. Closure does not exist. You were the ones who were supposed to hold me down. But now I am nothing to you...I was always nothing to you.

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