What a year this has been. For some, 2016 did not turn out as well as they had planned and many people could not wait to throw this year into the past. As I reflect back, I have realized that this year has transformed me in so many ways: definitely for the better. That being said, the beginning months did not start off too well for me. I was stuck in a dark depression from an event that happened at the end of 2015, and it took me almost 3 months to recover. My boyfriend and I were not together during this time, almost all of my friends lived in different states because they were off to college, and I felt completely worthless. I was in school and working at the time, and it took every ounce of my energy to leave my house each morning. I spent nights and weekends in bed because I felt physically immobile and useless. Finally, in mid-March, my boyfriend and I decided to get back together. This was when my life completely turned around. We had been dating for a little over 3 years, and being apart was pure torture. I know this may sound like I was 100% dependent on him as a source of happiness, but when you have such a long history with someone and all of a sudden it ends, it truly sucks all the life out of you. He was responsible for the majority of my happiness because he is my best friend, and i just couldn’t imagine not having him in my life. This leads me to the first lesson I learned, that what’s meant to be yours will eventually come back, even when it seems impossible. Here I am almost 10 months later, now living with him, and I’m happier than ever.
The next lesson I learned this year is that you should ALWAYS fight for what you want. Too often people are so afraid of possible outcomes that they let their fear consume them, and never live their life to its full potential. This is something I am always cautious of, because we only have 1 life, so might as well live it how you want.
Traveling is something I crave constantly. I am always seeking new adventures, even if that means discovering a new hiking trail 20 minutes away from my house. If you have any opportunity to travel or embark on an adventure, never hesitate to take advantage. I am so grateful to have traveled this year and I cherish every memory. New experiences are priceless and can spark interests or desires you never knew existed inside of you.
I have such a strong love for photography, and I give credit to my Mom for this one. Growing up, she took photos of everything (literally) and at times I would get so upset at her, yelling “Another picture? Really?!” But looking back, I am grateful she did so, because reflecting on past memories can bring such joy. Being able to rediscover a vacation or a really fun night with friends can inspire you to recreate the moment, or share the photo with the people in it so that you can all reflect together. Some may think this is silly, but I love to cherish memories so that I know I am living life to the fullest. Take photos often and encourage others to do so as well.
Risks. Chances. Some people cringe and these words. How will you know anything if you never try? I was a very, very shy kid growing up, and said “no” to many things because I was “too scared.” But of what? I wasn’t going to die from embracing a new experience. I know this now, but that was definitely not my mindset at the time. This year I was really pushed to try a number of new things. One of the biggest events being starting my new position at my job. Honestly, I had never been so nervous for something in my whole life, but even through this immense feeling, I still knew that eventually all of this would pass: I would get the hang of it, practice every day, and with more time, I would master it. And I have! (well, maybe not mastered, but I definitely know what I’m doing) All of those feelings of fear and doubt are temporary; once you take the first step, you are already halfway there.
There are some things in life that are unavoidable. You have no control over the outcome. But there are many things that you can control, you just don’t think you can. If you don’t like something about your life, change it! Only you have the power to do so, and it is not going to happen on its own. If it is something that you know will take time, make one small step each day in order to achieve it, and the finish line will appear closer and closer.
Emotion is a strong word and has many unique meanings to different people. This year I learned to never hold your emotions back and always express how you feel, even if it is uncomfortable at times. Bottling things up inside is NOT healthy whatsoever, and down the road everything is eventually going to explode all at once. Sharing feelings is never something to feel ashamed of, and once you let everything out, it can be so liberating.
This may sound very strange, but you are what you eat. Literally. So many people do not realize this, and this is why America has become “obese” and has growing health problems. I constantly felt sick from the food I was eating, and I gave myself anxiety attacks almost every night due to the fear I had about feeling sick. The moment I decided to experiment with my food and cut out all animal products from my diet, I felt invincible. Consuming rotting animal caucuses or puss-filled milk from another species (yes, I am talking about meat and dairy) does not sound very healthy, but this is what the media has projected onto our society. Meat contains countless chemicals and hormones, and just because you cook a piece of meat does not mean those chemicals just disappear. It’s rather disgusting, and I am utterly horrified that our society has become so brainwashed. This being said, please do your research on where the food you eat actually comes from, you will be very surprised. Click the links below to find more information about this subject, or watch Conspiracy or Forks Over Knives on Netflix.
The last lesson I have to share may sound cheesy, but I am such a firm believer of this statement: everything happens for a reason. If something is meant to be, it will happen with time; if something is not meant to be, you must accept it and move on. Often we get wrapped up in certain situations and try so hard to alter the outcome, but the truth is, everything. happens. for. a. reason. I struggled for a long time attempting to grasp this subject, but if you really think about it, it makes plenty of sense (most of the time). The Earth is constantly moving and evolving; every action causes a certain outcome. You may not be able to understand why things happen the way they do, but in time everything will all play out. Just keep that statement in the back of your mind.
For someone who decided to stop going to school, I sure did learn a lot this year, without being in a classroom behind a desk. I learned so many valuable life lessons throughout the year and I will continue to remember them in the future. 2016 was filled with ups and downs, because that’s life, but for the first time in a long time, I see so many positives about this year and very little negatives. This is huge for me, because I am known to be pessimistic in many situations, but this year I decided to choose happiness and really live in the moment. I hope these lessons will help you and if you haven’t been practicing these in your life, it’s never too late to start. If you read all of this, thank you so much, it really means a lot to me.♥