I wish I could say that 2018 was the best year of my life and know that 2019 is going to be even better. I wish I could reflect on all of the huge, fantastic, monumental changes that took place this year. I wish I could reflect on each month with absolute honesty and genuinity, but to be perfectly honest, 2018 was a blur. It was a year that came and went, a year that could tentatively be deemed as rather insignificant.
As a whole, the year flew by. I can’t remember the details of the good times or even the feelings I had during the hardest times. I can’t seem to think of the times I laughed until my stomach hurt. I can’t remember all the times I thought my life was falling apart.
But I do know I laughed a lot, and I do know I cried a lot. I do know that at times, my anxiety was crippling. I do know that there were many days when I got out of bed and wondered what I was doing with my life. I also know that I spent time with some of the best people I know, and at times, I was living my very best life. Yet I also remember the night that I broke down in the bathroom and cried big ugly tears until my eyes dried out.
Though I am unable to reflect on all of the little moments, I do know that this year changed me. For better or for worse, this year made an impact on me. At its worse, it showed me just how hard life can be. It showed me how each day — even each hour — can feel like a battle. It showed me what loneliness feels like. It showed me the bleakness that uncertainty can trigger. At times, it led me into believing that life was somewhat hopeless, that things wouldn’t get better.
But it also impacted me for the better. It taught me to push through and survive, even when I thought I couldn’t. It taught me that tears and laughter aren’t necessarily exclusive, and that both can exist within the same hour. It taught me that each day I could start again, and that sometimes things aren’t as bad as we think they are. It even taught me that sometimes the little victories are the most important victories of all, and that celebrating these little victories is just as, if not more, important than celebrating the big victories.
2018 wasn’t my year. It was one of my most grueling and challenging years, one that had more tears than most. But with all of the sadness and exhaustion it brought, it still impacted me in a way that most years have not. It gave me the understanding that things really can change overnight — that, no matter how hard a situation can seem, dark skies always, always, always, lead to sunrises.
And even if I haven’t seen the many sunrises yet, they are still coming. They are still out there. It taught me that one bad day doesn’t equate to a bad life. It taught me that I can survive every single thing life throws at me and always come out stronger. It taught me that sometimes things turn out better than expected and that oftentimes, our thoughts aren’t necessarily our reality. It showed me that sometimes our minds make out life to be something harder and scarier than it actually is. I learned that to be kind to myself, I had to be both compassionate and patient.
I didn’t really like this year. It was daunting and rough and everything in between. But it still had its irreplaceable moments. It still had its lessons and blessings. And I still wouldn’t erase it, even if I could.
The start of a new year can be freeing, but it can also be stressful. Having expectations and resolutions can scare us into thinking that we may not accomplish what we hope to accomplish. Putting words to what we hope for can make us weary and pessimistic. So rather than hoping that 2019 is the best year of my life, I hope I have the strength to see the good that is coming for me. I hope I smile more than I frown, and I hope that I see challenges as outlets for curiosity rather than as roadblocks I have no power over. I hope there is more good than bad this year, and I hope my mind is more at peace than it was in the previous year.
Rather than creating expectations for the new year, I want to just live. I want to just experience life. I want to make life colorful. I want to accept the ups and the downs, and I want to be okay.
I don’t need the best year of my life. I just need a good year. And despite the doubts and worries and despair I have felt in the last 365 days, this year, I have a feeling I am going to be okay.