Raising My Glass To 2018

Raising My Glass To 2018

Here's to a much needed, much appreciated change.

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This year has been one for the books. I can sit and think about it all, but, while writing this, I can't quite find the words to say. The past 12 months have been months of change and growth in ways I couldn't have thought possible. Of course, this year was big for everyone my age: we turned 18, graduated high school, and some of us went off of college. But, let me share with you some of the details of why I am toasting to 2018.

This year did not start out in my favor. For the first couple months I found myself surrounded by a toxic period of time in which I was stuck going through the motions of my life, but I didn't feel truly there. A blessing in disguise was thrown my way, however, when times changed and people left. I didn't see it at the time, but, as it often happens, when it seemed that things I cared about were falling apart, I was actually allowed space to change everything for the better.

Shortly after, Easter followed, and I turned 18. I've always thought that it was a fun fact that I was born on April Fool's Day. This year it was nice that a more considerably important day fell on Easter. A neater fun fact, I suppose.

The day after my birthday, I spent in Disney World's Animal Kingdom, and my 18-year-old butt put on a Simba tank top and wore my hair in pigtails. Between my outfit, the pigtails, and my brace-filled, ear-to-ear smile, I probably looked like a 12-year-old; but, I will tell you I was the happiest 12-year-old there. My favorite Disney movie has always been "The Lion King", and I got to see their Festival of the Lion King. I adored every minute of it.

I know peers that went to the beach and had a crazy spring break that you really only hear stories about, but I couldn't be happier spending mine with my family in Orlando because I got to reconnect with myself. For the first time in a long time I didn't care what I looked like or what people could be thinking of me, I was remembering how much I loved being childish.

At the end of April I went to my senior prom. I went dateless, with friends, in a dress that I felt amazing in. We all went to a steak dinner in town, danced at prom, and then spent time at your friendly neighborhood Waffle House. We ended the night with a midnight showing of "Infinity War." No one could tear us down or ruin that night.

May 29th, we graduated. There isn't much else to say other than that. Four years of our life came to a conclusion in two hours and it was unbelievable, indescribable.

Over the summer, I worked two jobs. That was a lot of my summer, aside from a week I spent with my four closest friends at our senior trip in Myrtle Beach. We drove down, stayed in a house, cooked our own food when we weren't going out, went to the beach, and adventured around the city. A week well spent with all of us before we all went away to school. I think this week was my favorite in this entire year.

Then it came time to move into a school that I was never certain I wanted to go to. It was a hard transition for me, I'll admit that. I didn't really know what I wanted to do so I didn't understand why I was coming to WVU, yet, it isn't far from my hometown and they have some of the best programs in the country. But, I came, moved in, and, to my pleasant surprise, I found a place. I found old friends and new friends, I've gone on adventures, and I've found new inspiration on possible paths for my future. I found a new home.

In this past year I have struggled with letting go of people I thought would be in my life much longer. I have struggled with feeling like I was watching parts of my world fall apart. But, I am saying cheers for this year because for the first time in a very long time, this year is not ending with me wondering when something is going to change. This may have been a year of pain but it was also a year of growth. I am rid of toxic influences, I reconnected with parts of myself that I never realized had been lost, and I have grown into a happy, confident young adult.

Cheers to 2018! And, thank you for not being another year of involuntary motions.

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To High School Seniors In Their Last Semester

Senior year moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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Dammit, you made it. The final semester of your senior year. You’re at the top of the food chain of high school, and it feels so good. You’re probably praying this last semester flies by, that you get out of town as soon as possible.

At this point, you’re calling teachers by their first names, the entire staff knows you by name, and you’re walking around school standing tall, owning those hallways. You’re convinced you’re ready to leave and move on to the next chapter in your life.

You’ve already experienced your last football game, standing in the cold in the front row of the student section all season long, decked out in your school colors and cheering loud and proud. That is, until they lost, and you realized you will never have that experience again. Never again.

SEE ALSO: What I Wish I Knew As A Second-Semester High School Senior

You already had your last winter break. Preparing and celebrating the holidays with your family, ice skating and sledding with your best friends. Those quiet nights alone in your room watching Netflix, taking for granted your loved ones just a few rooms away. Never again.

If you’re an athlete, you may have already played in your last game or ran your last race. The crowd cheering, proudly wearing your school’s name across your chest, giving it your all. For some, it may be the end of your athletic career. Before you knew it, you were standing in an empty gym, staring up at the banners and thinking about the mark you left on your school, wondering where on earth the time went. Never again.

I’m telling you right now, you’re going to miss it all. Everything you’ve ever known. Those early mornings when you debate going to first hour because you really need those McDonald’s hash browns. The late nights driving home from practice, stopping for ice cream of course, ready for a late night of homework. Getting food on a whim with your friends. Endless fights with your siblings. Your favorite chips in the pantry. A fridge full of food. Coming home to and getting tackled by your dog. Driving around your hometown, passing the same sights you’ve seen every day for as long as you can remember. Hugs from your mom after a long day. Laughs with your dad. And that best friend of yours? You’re going to miss them more than anything. I’m telling you right now, nothing will ever be the same. Never again.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl That Enjoyed High School

Before you start packing your bags, slow down, take a deep breath, and look around. You’ve got it pretty good here. The end of your senior year can be the time of your life; it’s truly amazing. So go to the winter dance, go to Prom, spend Senior Skip Day with your classmates, go to every sporting event you can, while you still can. College is pretty great, but it’s the little things you’re gonna miss the most. Don’t take it for granted because soon, you’ll be standing in a packed gym in your cap and gown, wondering where the heck the time went. You’ve got a long, beautiful life ahead of you, full of joy but also full of challenges. You’re going to meet so many wonderful people, people who will treat you right and people who won’t.


So, take it all in. Be excited for the future and look forward to it, but be mindful of the present. You’ve got this.
Cover Image Credit: Hartford Courant

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Intimidation Isn't Always What It Seems

Always ask yourself this question when feeling intimidated...

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A few months ago, I read something online that really stuck with me. I don't remember who said it, or where it came from, so my apologies for not accurately crediting the genius who spoke these words, but it said this:

"Am I actually intimidating, or are you just intimidated?"

Growing up, you constantly find yourself in situations where you feel scared or uncomfortable. I don't think there's one person on the planet that can say that they didn't feel intimidated at one point or another growing up. Maybe it was by the "popular kids" or by a teacher or a supervisor. So many people can make you feel a certain way and it can be scary when you're a child growing up. Maybe you felt intimidated because they were bullies or they were a strong personality.

But after reading this quote, I started to think about every time in my life that I felt intimidated. Walking into a new job, taking a chance on writing, seeing a group of girls in the cafeteria - whatever it was, I thought of it. And my perspective completely changed.

It wasn't necessarily that the people who I was encountering or the situation I was entering was scary. In fact, most times, those people turned out to be incredibly welcoming and nice, or that situation was nothing but spectacular, but at that moment, I was completely intimidated. It was something new and the unknown can always be scary. But looking back, it wasn't that those situations and people were intimidating - it was that I was intimidated.

Being intimidated is completely natural. It'd be crazy to say 'hey, don't be intimidated' and expect people to actually feel comfortable. But it's something to think about moving forward when you find yourself in a situation where you feel uncomfortable, anxious, or even scared. It's easy to get caught up in the moment and let that timidness get the best of you but think of that question and realize that it's not necessarily the situation - sometimes it's you letting the situation get the best of you.

At the end of the day, people are just people. Everyone has boogers and everyone had good and bad days and to be honest, the people who others find intimidating are usually the ones who are just better at putting up a front. They're the ones who find having a hard exterior is easier than being vulnerable and letting others in. Don't let those people scare you. They're usually fighting a battle that they're taking out on the people around them - and that shouldn't scare you.

"Am I actually intimidating, or are you just intimidated?"

Think about it, feel it, let it wash over you, and don't let those feelings get the best of you. Most of the best things in life are just past that line outside of your comfort zone.

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