As 2019 comes to an end, I find myself feeling incredibly humbled. This year has been a challenging one, to say the least, but I'm proud to say that I'm more "myself" now than I have ever been. As someone who values personal improvement and self-growth, the core focus of my time has been on making sure that my choices reflect my "authentic" self. This hasn't been easy, and at times I've lost myself during the struggle of daily life and the trials that have come with it. As I reflect upon all that's happened I'm titling this chapter of my life "Grit and Grace". Grit because it took courage, resolve, and strength of character to get this far. Grace because I learned more poise, finesse, and progressed by God's grace.
Someday, when I've finally accomplished all that I'm setting out to do, I'll sit down to write a memoir. When that happens this year will be a part of a few chapters known as the "nitty-gritty" years. I call them that because I believe that these years are the vital ones, but also the most confusing and sometimes painful. Right now growing and changing reminds me of the only time I ever got bucked off a horse. One moment I felt secure and content. The next I'm on my back in the dirt, dazed, confused, and crying out after my run-away mare. The pain sets in later. Whiplash at it's finest.
Being in my mid-twenties definitely gives me whiplash. It's not a good feeling. It's a loss of control. A fight to remain the same while forces outside of myself pull me in different directions. Doors closing and windows opening. Being forced to change whether I want to or not. Some days I think things can't get any worse than having the wind knocked out of me. Others I'm back on the horse with the wind in my hair and my whole future ahead of me. I changed in more ways than one this year. Looking back now, I realize that there was an equal balance of both good and bad. Though it didn't feel like it while I was going through it.
I started off the year by rapidly changing jobs three times over. I ended up working at a local health food store. It was my third attempt to find something interesting to do with my time and I was hopeful. It would give me something to learn, give me ties to the community, and I'd meet some new people. It all sounded pretty good. I was longing for a sense of belonging in a city where otherwise I was out-of-place. Needless to say, things did not go as planned. In the beginning things went well. The job was simple, but I learned a lot about how to be healthy. I met a lot of really cool people who live in the area. I made friends, sorta. I felt more secure and content.
Before I knew it, I was in the dirt. I lost my childhood home to a developer who demolished it three days after signing the papers. My parents were crashing in our one bedroom apartment every other week while they went through the process of finding and buying another house. I was emotionally supporting my partner through his last semester of college and trying to keep on top of all the housework while working full-time. All the while dealing with the uncertainty of whether we would be moving or not, and the drama that came with trying to plan a wedding that at times nobody seemed to want. My work life sucked. Things grew more and more miserable. I lost the friends I had made. My aunt passed away and I felt like a bad person for not being more upset. I was working myself to the bone with very little to show for it and dealing with family drama on top of it all. It got to the point where I considered therapy because I hit a low so low, I wasn't sure if I could pull out of it.
That's not to say that there weren't a lot of good things that came out of this year too, because there were! I celebrated five wonderful years with my fiance and made progress on our wedding. Coincidentally, I attended my cousin's wedding in Pittsburgh and celebrated my 25th birthday at the same time. I visited New York City for the first time and saw The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, which was AMAZING!! My fiance graduated from college and got his first real job (I'm so proud!). I continued writing my book and made a lot of progress. And though I lost friends, I also grew closer to the ones who have always been there for me. Not to mention that I survived two different family reunions, took up a healthier lifestyle, gained a new pet fish, and found the childhood book I thought I had lost forever. Oh, and I quit my job and started this blog!
Overall, it was an amazing roller coaster dumpster fire of a year, and I'm not going to lie, I am glad it's coming to a close!
So, what did I learn?
Well, I learned to get back on that damn horse for one. I learned that I wasn't meant to stay where I wasn't appreciated, and that it's 100% okay to walk away and pursue your dreams. Not everyone in your life is going to care about what you do when you want them to care. And they'll care more than you want them to when it's none of their business. That the only person who has the power to give you what you want is yourself, and not everyone will appreciate the way you lead your horse. And lastly, supporting other people that you care about may be hard work, but that you do it because you love them.
I think it's safe to say that I'm looking forward to the future. After everything that happened this year, I look back and see it for what it was- a year of transformation. I drifted aimlessly, broke, rebuilt myself, and came out stronger than ever. I am truly in awe of myself and of the people who helped me along the way. I feel thankful for all that has happened and excited for all that is to come. God willing, I'll continue to grow in 2020 into an even better person and get even closer to accomplishing my goals. Moving forward when things get stressful, and I feel like giving up, I'll remind myself of this year and remember that with a little grit and grace, anything is possible.