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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Shoutout to 2016

This year is quickly coming to a close, which means almost everyone is reflecting over 2016 and all the things that happened this past year.  Apparently, the majority of people hated 2016 saying it has been "the worst year yet."  In a way, I see their point.  This year has been interesting for sure and it seems like everyone has been on an emotional roller coaster in one way or another.  This past year has certainly not been easy, but that is exactly why I disagree with everyone who says this year was the worst.  I would argue the exact opposite: 2016 has been the best year yet.

Some of you probably think I'm crazy now saying, "How on Earth could I think this past year has been the best year of my life?"  Well, I like to think of myself as an optimist, and I think I have learned more about myself and life in general more this year than any other year of my life (which is saying quite a lot because there have been some very eventful years in the past for me).
So here is what I learned and exactly why 2016 has been the best year for me:

The people who are supposed to be in your life are going to make just as much of an effort as you will.  
I'm one of those people who desperately tries to hold onto people.  I spend so much of my time making an effort for every single person that takes one step into my life, and I wear myself out and spread myself way too thin because of it.  This year has helped me realize that about myself.  That does not mean that it is necessarily a bad thing, but it is something I needed to understand about myself so that I can make sure it doesn't turn into a bad thing.  It can lead to me getting used if I'm not careful, which happened a bunch of times throughout 2016.  But it forced me to learn that the people who care about you and the ones that matter will make just as much of an effort to be in your life as you are in theirs.  All relationships are a two way street, and if you're the only one going the distance, maybe you should think about whether or not that person is worth keeping around.  Every single one of the relationships I have made this past year that are real ones have consisted of people wanting to see me, checking up on me, asking how my day is, and going that extra mile to show me they care just like I do for them.  That is how you figure out who matters, and that is such an important lesson to learn.  Without 2016, I probably would have never figured that out.

It is okay to change your dreams.
Like I have said on here before, I am a very organized, everything-has-to-happen-in-a-certain-order, kind of person.  And big changes scare me.  I don't like it when I figure out that things aren't going to go as I planned them.  That's an issue and that is another thing I learned about myself this year.  Sometimes you have dreams that seem so perfect until you get there and realize it's not exactly what you'd hoped.  That is okay.  It is perfectly alright to change your plans... and then change them again... and then change them again.  It is okay to have absolutely no idea what you are doing.  It is okay to try something different and love that. The point of dreaming, and dreaming big, is not that your dreams don't change, but that you are chasing them full speed.

You need to feel.
Having feelings these days seems to be a negative thing.  We all seem to laugh too much, cry too little, get too angry.  So some of us just stop.  We stop allowing ourselves to feel the effects of life, and frankly, it just isn't human.  This year has taught me to stop bottling things up.  Life is tough and bad things are going to happen.  I am going to get hurt and get sad, and I am also going to feel so happy that my heart hurts.  The point is, I need to feel that joy when great things happen.  I need to let myself not be okay.  I learned that I have always been the type of person who slaps a smile on her face in front of everyone - including myself - and just keep saying, "I'm fine."  Well, part of life is not being fine.  In fact, a big part of life is not being fine.  When I have emotions, I need to let them loose or I won't learn anything and I'll just end up hurting myself.  2016 taught me that it is okay not to be okay.

Don't ever lose yourself.
Writing for me has always been an outlet.  It has been such a big part of my life and the entire reason I went into journalism this past semester.  I love deep thoughts and other perspectives, and that is what I thought it would be.  However, I was wrong, and that is okay.  Journalism just isn't the kind of writing I wanted to be doing.  But a lot of people asked me why I didn't just keep going with it since eventually I would probably get to write about what I wanted.  My answer to that was that writing is a piece of me.  It is a part of me that is completely my own and I never want to let someone else control when, how, or why I write.  For a little while this year, I stopped writing.  And I mean completely.  Whether or not it is a blog post or a story, I have always written at least some small things in my notes just because I truly love it.  I stopped doing that, and I could feel me letting myself slip through my fingers.  Never let somebody else dictate what you love or you'll start hating it.  So that is why I decided to switch majors so that I could write on the side on my own terms and not someone else's deadline.

As for the rest of this year, I got accepted to college; We started FCA at Canfield High School; I spent every day after school working out with my friend, Hannah; I gave two speeches in front of the entire school; I went to prom in my favorite dress in the entire world; I went white water rafting; I got really close with my friend, Moira, again; I graduated high school and had a fabulous graduation party; I went on a hiking trip; I started singing again; I turned 18 - yay adulthood; I met my lovely new little sister, Grace, to add to our multi-country family with my older sister, Megan; I chopped seven inches of my hair off which was brave for me; I went on a mission trip and met the sweetest kids; I went on a day trip to Pittsburgh for fun; I spent an entire week at the Canfield fair; I started college; I started teaching middle school youth group; I visited my friend, Christa, in Cleveland twice; I had a daily car ride with my friend Annie to Kent while waking our friend Taryn up by singing "What a Wonderful World" on the phone and we all went to Cleveland for the World Series; I learned loads about photography (and met the best professors in that class); I made a bunch of adult decisions like switching schools and my major and getting my car fixed all on my own; I decided to try to move in with my best friend, Andrea, next fall; I got a new job; I got all A's my first semester of college; I bought my first lottery tickets (yanno, because I'm a fancy adult now); I got closer with my family, especially my mom and sister; and lastly, I met some of the most amazing people in my entire life and grew stronger in the friendships I already had.  And so maybe this year was not full of a bunch of happy-go-lucky moments like I had planned for it to, and maybe there were some eventful and emotional roller coasters, but I learned so much, and for me, that is a pretty successful year.

Thank you so much for reading and feel free to comment down below your best memories of 2016. See you next year!

Bree x

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