Reflection of 2016

Reflection of 2016

The Year of Adaption
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2016, for me, was the year of adaptation. That was my “goal” or “resolution”. It proved to be way more of a transition year than I had initially intended it to be. It first started with just the fact that I was going to be transferring to a big university in January. Like most people, starting university is a big deal, and there is a lot of change. As a homebody, it was weird for me. And for the first two-quarters of university, I loathed it. I didn’t want to go back in the fall. There were a lot of different factors regarding why university, at the time, made me borderline depressed. The scariest part really was that I knew that if I kept going with my situation, I knew I would fall back into the deep, endless pit that is depression, and I wanted to fight like hell to keep out of it.

As someone who doesn’t like change, this year was hard for me. University was definitely one of them, as was the radical changes in a lot of my relationships with people.

The one thing that struck me really hard was family. All sides of my family are changing and everything I cherished as a child are now drifting away from me like sand in the wind. In April, my mother and I took advantage of my spring break and jetted to Austria to see my great grandmother (who I call Omi), because she was having a lot of health issues. Most people thought my 5 day trip to Austria was a fun spring break getaway, but it was mainly emotionally draining. The first part of the trip my mom was the crying, broken hearted mess. By the end of the trip, everything came falling down at once and I became the broken hearted, crying mess. My Omi is 95. I know that’s really old for an old person, and I am more than thankful to be able to know my great grandmother at 19 years old, but at the same time, because I am older, I truly realize how much my Omi means not only my mother, but to me as well. This woman is a living history book, she’s been through so much. Being a communications major, it was interesting for me to compare her standards to mine in certain aspects of life because we come from two very different generations. She is also one of the only family members I have left overseas, and she has done so much for my mom and my family. Not only Omi herself, but her town is changing as well. Her house is deteriorating; the neighborhood is being completely reconstructed. I couldn’t help but remanence on the memories I had in that house, that town. Everything was changing and it was a lot to take in.

My American grandparents are also changing for the worst. My grandma has lost her marbles and most of the things that come out of her mouth just infuriate me. My grandpa is hanging in there, but he is my grandmother's slave and it makes it really hard to see him or reach out to him without any of my grandmother’s tainting or input. The people and places that have helped shaped my childhood are slowly perishing away and I have had no choice but to accept it, make my amends, and move forward.

During the summer, I spent 90% of my time outdoors. I worked on a farm and as a lifeguard on a lake. Both taught me a lot and I met so many new people. The best part about meeting and interacting with new people (especially those that you end up seeing quite often) is that you will learn a lot. As a lifeguard, I became more comfortable with physical contact (something that for the most part I am uncomfortable with), because we had to practice lifeguarding techniques on each other. I became more open to meeting new people rather than just shutting them out and being my hermit-self. I was forced to do these things that made me uncomfortable, but in the end, it was beneficial.

With all emotional strains that came with the year, it has forced me also to embrace the fact that I am an overly emotional creature and that I just need to accept it and deal with it openly and straight on. I learned that it is possible ‘function properly’ without having to numb all my emotions.

Lastly, I need to adapt to our new country. But that’s something we all need to work on within the new year.

Now that I’ve had the year to adapt to a lot of changes in my life, I feel like it’s a good transition point to where 2017 is the year of (serious) change. 2016 was kind of like season 7 of Rupaul’s Drag Race: it was probably one of the worst seasons, though it had some perks in there was well, but overall it was a transition season to the new age of drag. 2017 is going to be a new age, a new dawn, and it’s time to get my shit together and start kicking ass and taking names. Not only in my personal life, but for everything else as well.

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To The Girl Who Had A Plan

A letter to the girl whose life is not going according to her plan.
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“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” - William Ernest Henley

Since we were little girls we have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We responded with astronauts, teachers, presidents, nurses, etc. Then we start growing up, and our plans change.

In middle school, our plans were molded based on our friends and whatever was cool at the time. Eventually, we went to high school and this question became serious, along with some others: “What are your plans for college?” “What are you going to major in?” “When do you think you’ll get married?” “Are you going to stay friends with your friends?” We are bombarded with these questions we are supposed to have answers to, so we start making plans.

Plans, like going to college with our best friends and getting a degree we’ve been dreaming about. Plans, to get married as soon as we can. We make plans for how to lose weight and get healthy. We make plans for our weddings and children.

SEE ALSO: 19 Pieces Of Advice From A Soon-To-Be 20-Year-Old

We fill our Pinterest boards with these dreams and hopes that we have, which are really great things to do, but what happens when you don’t get into that college? What happens when your best friend chooses to go somewhere else? Or, what if you don’t get the scholarship you need or the awards you thought you deserved. Maybe, the guy you thought you would marry breaks your heart. You might gain a few pounds instead of losing them. Your parents get divorced. Someone you love gets cancer. You don’t get the grades you need. You don’t make that collegiate sports team. The sorority you’re a legacy to, drops you. You didn’t get the job or internship you applied for. What happens to you when this plan doesn’t go your way?

I’ve been there.

The answer for that is “I have this hope that is an anchor for my soul.” Soon we all realize we are not the captain of our fate. We don’t have everything under control nor will we ever have control of every situation in our lives. But, there is someone who is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who has a plan and a purpose for the lives of his children. His name is Jesus. When life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, those are the times you have to cling to Him the tightest, trusting that His plan is what is best. That is easier said than done, but keep pursuing Him. I have found in my life that His plans were always better than mine, and slowly He’s revealing that to me.

The end of your plan isn’t the end of your life. There is more out there. You may not be the captain of your fate, but you can be the master of your soul. You can choose to be happy despite your circumstances. You can change directions at any point and go a different way. You can take the bad and make something beautiful out of it, if you allow God to work in your heart.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Patiently Waiting With An Impatient Heart

So, make the best of that school you did get in to. Own it. Make new friends- you may find they are better than the old ones. Apply for more scholarships, or get a job. Move on from the guy that broke your heart; he does not deserve you. God has a guy lined up for you who will love you completely. Spend all the time you can with the loved one with cancer. Pray, pray hard for healing. Study more. Apply for more jobs, or try to spend your summer serving others instead. Join a different club or get involved in other organizations on campus. Find your delight first in God and then pursue other activities that make you happy; He will give you the desires of your heart.

My friend, it is going to be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Beavers Photography

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I'm Not Feelin' 22, But I'll Make The Most Of It

The reality of becoming another year older and the stress that it may bring.

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Birthdays are all about being the center of attention, - birthday wishes from friends and family, and celebrating another milestone in your life. People go out of their way to buy party favors, set up parties, and buy gifts just to make someone feel special on their birthday. However, some people dread their special day because of anxiety and depression. This past weekend was my 22ndbirthday, and although I'm usually excited for my birthday, this was the birthday I had been dreading.

Birthdays are inevitable. Once you reach past the age of 21, everything seems to go downhill, or at least I think so. Once I realized I was going to be 22 last Sunday, I realized the new responsibilities and norms that come with turning this age. I am a Junior at the University of Arizona, should be a senior, and most of my friends are younger than me. With most of my friends graduating this year at the age of 22, I can't help but feel bad that I will be graduating at the age of 23. After being at a large university for three years, I have felt "behind" because of my age and academic standing. Being the oldest of my friends brings a sense of anxiety out in me and pressure that I should be graduated by now.

Another issue I have with birthdays at this age is the expectation of certain milestones that I have not accomplished yet. With social media being such a large part of our society today, seeing so many different people on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posting pictures of what they are doing every second of the day, it's hard not to feel bad if you are not up to par with others lives. Some people are having babies, while others are going to medical school, where do I fit in?

Although birthdays bring some sense of negativity to me, I think that they should be celebrated in a positive light. My best friend, Colleen, knew I was feeling down about my birthday and wanted to help me feel better about turning the big 2-2. She bought balloons, silly string, and letter banners just to decorate our apartment to make me feel excited about the day. She bought me the most unique presents that only a best friend would know I would have wanted. At the end of the day, we went to my favorite restaurant and with the help of Colleen, my day had turned around.

While you may catch the birthday blues at some point in your lifetime, there are ways to change your attitude on the day. You may hear from someone from the past wishing you a happy birthday that can make you smile, or receive a gift from a family or friend that you had your eye on in the store and they knew you had to have it. Don't compare yourself to others when it comes to birthday plans, live the day how you would like and spend it with the people that matter most to you.

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