Thanks, 2018

There’s a song called “This Will Be My Year” by Train. It’s about having hope that the upcoming year will be the year that changes everything for the better. Pat Monahan, the lead singer, explains through song that even after many failed attempts, he still has hope every new year. By the end of the song, Monahan realizes that every year has its own struggles, but with his wife by his side, he can tackle the challenges the years ahead will inevitably throw his way.

Coming into 2018, I was struggling a lot. I was in the midst of my accutane cycle, and even though my skin was slowly starting to get better, I was extremely insecure about it. I was also getting over a really tough breakup. My foot was still injured, so couldn’t run to cope with these struggles, and that was the cherry on top of the very crappy pie. I didn’t have much hope for 2018 because 2017 kicked my butt that badly. All I wanted was a year of healing, but I didn’t think it was possible.

Luckily, 2018 was my year. It was far from perfect, and I definitely didn’t meet my future spouse like the Train singer did, but it was the most transformative year of my life thus far.

 

The winter of 2018 was pretty tough because the same things that plagued the end of 2017 were plaguing the beginning of 2018.

The one really positive thing about winter is that I started this blog. I was absolutely terrified to see how people would react to it, but everyone has been so dang supportive, and I am so overjoyed that I took the risk and pursued this little passion of mine.

Spring made everything begin to change. I started to drive! While this may seem pretty dull, finally learning to drive was the most exciting thing imaginable to me. My parents made me wait a year longer than everyone else my age to start driving, and I always hated the fact that my friends were all licensed while I didn’t even know how to back out of a parking spot. When I finally drove on a real road, I felt like I was unstoppable. After getting my license, I found a new sense of independent self- sufficiency.

Prom was on my mind a lot during the spring, and the preparations made me super stressed, Though prom night itself was mostly fun, the stress that preceded it is something I remember the Spring season for.

I couldn’t do spring track, so I honed in on school work during the Spring, and I got the best grades I’ve ever gotten. I worked my ass off studying for my AP European History exam. I’ve never studied that hard for anything in my life, and when I got the score in the mail a few months later, I was so proud of myself.

I also finally became happy being single. I’m the most die-hard romantic ever, so I’ve wanted a relationship for as long as I could remember. One spring day though, I was in the park with my friend, and she put on a love song because she liked the melody. Normally, these songs would take a damper on my mood, but an odd feeling of contentment swept over me as I listened to it. In that moment I realized I was genuinely content on my own and didn’t need a fairytale love story for the time being. I hadn’t felt that feeling for the longest time, so it was really refreshing.

Summer brought me immense joy. I finally got a job, and I was absolutely in love with the concept of working. I loved making my own money instead of constantly relying on my parents to pay for everything. I loved knowing I worked hard for that money, and I loved seeing the customers’ faces light up upon seeing the ice cream I served them. It wasn’t always sunshine and unicorns, but it was a solid first job, and I’m so glad I took that step towards growing up.

I also finished accutane in the summer, and I finally felt confident enough to go food shopping without worrying what strangers would think of my skin.

I got to vacation with my best friend, and we made the absolute best memories that summer. One night, we just drove straight for what felt like a year, and even though we barely made it home alive, it was probably the best, easiest night of my life.

Without a doubt, it was the best summer of my life. Sure, not every night was perfect, but I have never felt so wholly happy before. Every day felt like a new adventure, and even as I navigated through the beginning stages of college applications, I felt at peace with everything my life brought me.

Moving onto fall…I made it through the whole cross country season! I miraculously went from not running for six months to dropping enough time to beat my all-time record and place at many invitationals. I didn’t even think I would make it through half the  season, so seeing my time at our League and District races was absolutely insane. I had a LOT of injuries to deal with, but everything somehow worked out for me, thanks to the help of physical therapy, my unreal coaches, and a boatload of KT tape.

Fall also helped me learn how to date without putting insane pressure on the situation. I used to be SO invested in my crushes and relationships, but a certain boy helped me realize that 1. I was capable of once again feeling butterflies 2. Those butterflies could be healthy and easy 3. You can’t force those butterflies to always stick around, and it’s sometimes okay to walk away once the butterflies cease to flutter.

Finally, I applied to college in the fall! I was terrified of the whole process, but step by step, I did the damn thing. I won’t hear back until April from most of my schools, but I already luckily got into my safety school, so all signs point to me going to college *knocks on wood*.

Winter has been simply “eh.”  With the cross country season being over, I didn’t know what to do with my free time. I began to stretch out my homework to fill the whole night, even though I could have done it in a few hours.

I started babysitting to make better use of my free time, and I’m so glad I did. The kids are so sweet 99% of the time, and even in the other 1%, I love that job. Ever since my other job laid most of us off for the winter (it’s an ice cream place, so it doesn’t make sense for that many people to be working when no one really goes out for ice cream in the winter), I missed the feeling of earning what I have, so it’s really nice to have that feeling back.

Still though, wintertime blues hit me hard, and feelings of loneliness and insecurity manage to creep in. The fact that “cuffing season” is a thing angers me a lot. I hate that it encourages everyone to couple up, and it makes me question the whole “happy-on-my-own” feeling that I was so happy to have since the spring.

I spent the end of Winter 2018 in Miami. I got to be in warm weather,  and this alone should have made me so happy. I was grateful for the opportunity to even take this trip, but missing Christmas Eve with my best friend and Christmas morning with my baby cousins was extremely hard. FOMO hit me like a truck, and I just wanted more than anything to be home. I got to experience the coolest things in Miami, such as holding a baby alligator, and I saw some of the prettiest places, such as Little Havana. Still, my heart yearned for home, and I felt like the most ungrateful, spoiled baby that has ever existed. It’s hilarious because I made a whole post a year ago about making the most of your vacations and forcing yourself to not long for home, yet here I was, feeling like a complete hypocrite because I couldn’t flip the switch in my head.

When I say that 2018 was my year, I don’t mean that it was perfect. I also don’t mean that I became some kind of enlightened figure. 2018 fixed some things, and it made some things worse. I made some new friends, and I lost a few too. The reason I say it was my year is because, for the first time in a long time, the good easily outweighed the bad. The growth outweighed the wear and tear, and the laughs outweighed the tears.

This year taught me a lot about happiness. A lot of the things that made this year so great were barely in my control. It’s not like my skin cleared up because I worked hard to make it do so. It’s not like I had any control of my parents’ ability to so generously buy me a car. On the other hand, I’m the one who worked her butt off at both my jobs. I’m the one who put in every ounce of effort into my cross country practices. On the other, other hand, I believe in fate. I believe no matter what I would attempt to control, fate would do its thing no matter what. So maybe the things I believed I controlled in relation to my happiness were actually under the control of a much greater force.

I also realized that my happiness comes in monthly waves. Sure, some people can find eternal peace and contentment, and that’s amazing, but I’m not there yet. My happiness fluctuates, and that’s okay because I know that no matter how hard the winter may be, spring is in reach.

I’m really damn thankful for this year, and I’m ready for all the adventures that finishing high school and beginning college will bring in 2019.  I hope everyone who is reading this has made their peace with the past year, and that you all have amazing 2019. I think highly of anyone who takes the time to read my emotional ramblings, so to me, if anyone deserves an amazing 2019, it’s the people reading this. Happy New Year, everyone.

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