This year taught me a lot about people, love, and relationships. I admittedly spend a great deal of time alone but I am naturally very observant when I'm in someone else's company. This year, though, challenged me to take a look at myself and the relationships I was in. Here's what I've learned thus far.

Relationships are hard work - in all forms, platonic, romantic, familial. Even when they don't feel like it, they are. Even when it feels easy. I have a very bad habit of romanticizing every relationship and situation I'm in; a coping mechanism to keep myself from acknowledging the brutal reality of it all. This year forced me to remove my rose-colored glasses and stare at the realities of love hard in the face. It was harsh, painful, and made me want to retreat back to my cozy, rosy headspace. Instead, I forced myself to learn the lessons I knew I needed to.

Friendship became much harder than I thought it was supposed to be in 2018. At the risk of sounding pretentious, I give a lot of myself for my friends mostly because it is the only way I know. In a much deeper sense, I've realized, it comes from a place of not wanting anyone to feel the way I have. There were people in my life this year that I recognized wasn't really here for me. Instead they were here for my endless and sometimes overbearing support, my energy, and unfortunately, the gossip my life could give them. People took my problems and ran with them, took my venting sessions and amplified them. Took my advice and left me with none. Normally, I wouldn't care because I've often thought that loneliness is worse but this time around I cut people out. No confrontation, no big dramatic exit, just silently and simply keeping to myself. It certainly didn't make ending those relationships any less painful but it saved me from being at the receiving end of any guilt I knew I didn't deserve.

I also ended things I know I didn't need to but the thing about love is that it will return in due time. I'll find the love that comes my way and embrace it every time and even when it ends, I'll know what it was worth. Being in relationships taught me that it's much more difficult and complicated and delicate than the movies and songs make it out to be. There's not always that big sweeping moment of forgiveness and there's not always that heartbreak that wrecks your whole life. Being in relationships is about looking at the other person, yes, but it's also about looking at yourself too.

Self-care is necessary. It can come in the form of face masks and bubble baths or it can come in the form of saving yourself in and from the relationships around you.

I live my life as if love is just around the corner. Maybe this time it is.