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.