2017 has come to an end, officially marking another year in the books. We approach 2018 renewed and refreshed, bound by a sense of eagerness in hopes of finally fulfilling one of those New Year’s resolutions that have been in the works for the past three years. As ready as I am to ambitiously dive into a year full of fresh perspectives and new opportunities, I have found myself taking much time to reflect on 2017.
It was what seemed to have been an incredibly influential time in my life, and I have walked away from last year with a greater understanding of a knowledge that was once left untouched. 2017 has constituted nothing but change-a word that I once cringed at the sound of. Yet, to this day, I am nothing but grateful for the changes that have come my way.
I could not begin to list the number of lessons I have learned within this past year. Frankly, it would take a year for me to explain each of them in detail. Since I have been given the wonderful opportunity to share my thoughts on this social media platform, I have taken the time to speak about a variety of topics that I hold close to my heart. I truly believe that writing for the Odyssey has allowed me to prioritize many of the ideals that I value, as I am responsible for creating the content that I share with readers each week. In each of the pieces I have written within the past few months, I aimed to incorporate even the smallest of lessons I had learned in hopes of sharing my personal experiences with others.
Throughout last year, I found myself faced with numerous bouts of self-doubt, ultimately forcing me to address in my own mind ideas such as self-reflection, standards of beauty, and the definition of success. There were many moments that I felt extremely uncomfortable pressing the “submit” button on these articles, as I was sharing my inner-most thoughts and opinions with people I go to school with, people I am friends with, people I am related to. I have been blessed to receive positive affirmations and support in my pursuit of writing, but for some reason, I still felt as though there was something missing.
After glancing back at these articles and digging a bit deeper, I came to a realization. The real thing missing? Clarity. There have been instances where these writings seemed foreign and vague even to me. Ideally, I was conveying the messages I wanted to, just not to the fullest extent. Surely, I attempted to write about topics that would touch people, or at least get them thinking. In reality? There was no sense of closure to these pieces. Time and time again I had briefly mentioned what the takeaway should be, possibly overlooking what it truly was. In the spirit of this closure, and as my first piece of 2018, I would like to address my own “takeaway” from this past 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.
One year ago, I would never have known how to facilitate or express these ideals, let alone put them into words. One year later, my focus became sharing them with others.