Dear 2017,

In January, I promised myself that I would take "no L's" this year; I promised myself I would triumph in everything and beat you, especially since 2016 had really left me down. And as the year went on, I had some highs and lows, some movement and some backslides. But now, at the end of December, I'm sitting here wondering if I really met my goal.

It's true that this year has been hard. I've clashed with my family, and health issues have created uncertainties. Friends and celebrities that we love have moved on to another world. School was difficult and stressful, and mental health was often sacrificed for a higher number grade on a paper. The international climate is tense and anxiety over the future is rising. Money is never something that can be taken for granted. I've lost people from my life that I wasn't sure I could live without, and I've watched people that I care about break down to depths I cannot imagine over issues that nobody can fix.

Even on the more micro level, nothing's perfect. I've failed tests, accidentally hit things in my car, lost elections for leadership positions that I cared about and been wildly, violently sick. I caught the oven on fire, bleached a lot of clothes and I owe my parents a lot of money. I've found myself in situations where I cross my fingers that I'll get out safely, and I've fallen asleep in class many times. I've got a lot of college applications to do still, and the deadline is in four days.

Yet I know, deep down, that this was a good year.

These things are not "L's"; they are a part of life. Everything that I've mentioned is natural and important -- and it also comes down to my mindset.

Yes, I've fought with my parents, but it is because they care and have input on how I should live my life (even if I disagree). We have all escaped our health problems and are on the road to recovery, or have moved on to another life free of pain and suffering, leaving behind a legacy of love and remembrance. Maybe the road was hard, but meeting goals in school is worth celebrating. We have a closer international community than ever before. We have still have a house, have food and have heating; the rest of the money will come with time. Losing people creates room for new friends, which I definitely have found. And my friends will work their problems out in time; learning to deal with them is helping them grow.

Maybe I've failed tests, but I'm passing school overall. My car still works, without those positions I have more free time to do what I want to do, and I have recovered from every illness. My house didn't burn down, I have more clothes and my parents will get repaid soon. I've survived every situation that I probably should have avoided - and will avoid next time - and my teachers understand that my napping isn't disrespectful; I'm just tired. And I'm lucky to just be able to go to college.

Thank you, 2017, because you gave me more than personal victories. You've helped me see that it is impossible to have a year without "L's", because the "L's" are what build up our year; you've also helped me see that every "L" can be a "W" if I choose to look at it that way. These lessons are worth more to me than avoiding any failure or any conflict because I have grown throughout this year -- which was, admittedly, easier and much more enjoyable than 2016.

I hope 2018 is fair and kind to me; but if not, I always have my memories of you to fall back upon. Thank you again, 2017 - for everything.

Much love,

A survivor