It has been almost three months since I first joined Odyssey and, looking back at the first piece shared here, I know that I can now move on into the new year with satisfaction with what I have gained from my own pursuit of happiness, something I, at one time, was told and felt was selfish of me. In particular, my newfound understanding of my own limits and how important they are to remember in everything I do will continue to stay with me.

Going into 2017, what I will be pursuing now through my actions and writing will be healing.

I know many people my age and younger who have been through tremendously rough and hard situations. It is not solely because of the changing times; it, in part, has to do with cycles of hurt and pain that are carried on by those who came before us and are continued to be carried on by those around us. From my own experience, I can say with great certainty that it is those who have been hurt or continue to be hurt that turn around and do the same to others.

I have tried my hardest throughout my life so far to ensure that I do not hurt other people simply because someone else has hurt me, but, I am neither a saint or a perfect being, so I cannot say in good faith that I have treated everyone in the same way that I have wanted to be treated. This goes beyond strangers and friends, also including acquaintances, family members, coworkers, and classmates.

My first year living on my own has drastically changed me and my concept of who I am in many ways. The decisions, both good and bad, that I have made over the last year are the main reason behind this drastic change, but my pursuit of happiness also greatly played a role in my transformation and growth. As I said in my previous article: Everyone deserves the opportunity to pursue happiness and chase it until they obtain it, as long as it is not causing harm to themselves or anyone else.

I see my change in pursuits as being a sign of my own personal healing. I have gone from completely focusing on and ensuring the happiness of those around me to completely focusing on my own personal happiness at a time in my life where I desperately needed to and now, I feel that I have become more of a balance of the two. I am aware that my own personal happiness comes first, but I am now willing to compromise a bit of my own happiness as fit to ensure that I am not the only one who is happy! To reach this point, it took a great deal of healing which I gained through an understanding of the world around me and reflection on my experiences.

This year, I hope to continue to grow and develop more into the person I have always wanted to be as well as continue to stress the importance of pursuing your own personal happiness and healing, especially in all of my communities like the black community, LGBT community, my local community, and my community of friends and family.