When the final days of 2017 rolled around and the beginning of 2018 neared, I imagined a picture-perfect year of growing friendships and overall fullness. Unsure of where the notion came from, I expected 2018 to be "my year" of greatness, comfort, and perfection.
In just a couple of months, all that began to fall apart. Unknowingly toxic friendships came to a close, a woman who is both a relative and incredibly close to my heart was diagnosed with cancer, and a girl I spent nearly every day with in high school passed away. I hated an internship, disliked another one and began to lose hope as to whether my life would ever genuinely look up the way it once had in my budding youth.
I began to see the unromantic nature of what true adulthood meant. In my first two years of college, I had a false perception of what being a woman entailed. I can never pretend I didn't experience stress, heartache, and uncertainty, but it was nothing compared to what I've undergone in 2018. I've had to grow and understand life in ways not many people do until they hit their 30s. I don't say that out of vanity or self-pity, it's based on self-realization and conversation with those who I hold dear to my heart.
I've realized Christmases will never be the same. I don't think I can trust in the childlike manner I once did. And that at the end of the day, the only person who can truly handle your burdens is yourself. This past year was both lonely but also filled with a new love.
Through desperation and depression, I found people who were not only there to pick me up but eager to do so, which is something I had never quite experienced before. At the beginning of our friendships, they proved their longevity and heart, and though I've only known them less than a year, I genuinely believe these "grown-up" relationships will stand the test of time.
It felt as though 2018 was a tornado and I was taken in at the beginning of the year and spit out at the end. I'm still reeling from a headache and heartache, but I'm now gaining a new sense of grounding and yearning for progress in the new year.
Unlike last year, I choose not to expect too much of 2019. Part of my problem is that not only did I hope for too much, but I also put too much pressure on myself to try to be perfect. All my life up until this past year, everything felt like an uphill experience with new, exciting adventures on the forthcoming. When 2018 hit, the truth was that I plateaued but because I had never experienced such a stage in my life, I felt like I was on a downward spiral with no end in sight.
I had put too much on my plate and didn't know when to stop. Because I felt like other parts of my life were uncontrollably lacking, I stacked other plates with too many portions I couldn't balance. I somehow never dropped the porcelain, but my arms were certainly weak by the time I was able to set them down. All in all, I've realized that creating time and rest for myself must be part of the balance of my schedule and priority list.
Knowing that 2019 will not be perfect, I choose to be consciously gracious through thick and thin. I choose to find the light again and believe the next day will get brighter, even if I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. I will choose to actively be a better friend and support system to the people who lifted me out of the darkness, to work harder and smarter to achieve my dreams, and to build a new sense of energy I dropped when I felt myself fall to my knees.
I have a lot to look forward to in the new year, including graduating from college and potentially moving to New York City to hopefully land a job that will bring me happiness. It's going to be arduous, stressful, and terrifying, but I've moved to a different state once to pursue a dream and I know I can do it again.
If 2018 was not your year, actively work on trying to make 2019 a better one for you and your sanity. Your life will only change if you put in the effort and the drive. It's not going to be an easy road ahead, but I believe it will be one even more beautiful and with more breathtaking sights.
Cheers to the new year.