I’m not the first person to say this, but let’s get it out of the way: 2017 was terrible. Publicly and personally terrible.
There were some beautiful things. I wrote a piece in January about my hometown and politics, which led to coffee with someone in newspaper publishing, which led me to an 8-month internship at Our State‘s office. I went to Bonnaroo with my best friend. I went to Miami on a whim. My school won a National Championship. There were hikes and parties and tons of burritos.
But there were also tough things.
For stretches of 2017, I told myself that I had no friends, and that the ones I did have didn’t like me. I told myself that I was unloveable, that no boy would ever, ever want someone so damaged. I told myself I was ugly and weird and just not worth it, that I wouldn’t amount to anything. I thought I found someone who could make these feelings go away, but he couldn’t and he didn’t. This year was a year I realized my depression wasn’t just a one-time thing. Just because I was better freshman year doesn’t mean I’m better forever.
Last year, I wrote about being kind and authentic in 2017. Looking back now, it just feels like ideals I wanted to hold myself to but not ideals that got to the root of any unhealthy behaviors that feed my negative thoughts.
After a year where I felt no motivation to do anything, coming up with a resolution felt idealistic. You’ll just stop following your plans eventually, that voice in my head said. But while I may find myself leaving 2017 a little more cynical, I still want to feel hope. So maybe this isn’t a resolution, so much as it is a hope for the new year.
In 2018, I want to find peace. I don’t need to be experiencing National Championship levels of happy every day, but I would like to find more motivation to feel present in my days, instead of letting weeks of sameness slip by until the motions make me want to scream. I don’t want to keep feeding that ball of hate I let rot me from the inside-out. I want to learn to let things go, and get better at not letting my emotions control me.
I don’t want to force myself to do things because “I like to stay busy,” or “It’s too late to change my college experience now.” I want to acknowledge that maybe the best thing for me at 18 isn’t the best thing for me at 20. I want to be able to make a difference in the world around me. If I want to go to a concert, I should go. If I want to protest, I should do it. If I want to write something amazing, I should do it. I want to actually get excited about living again, and stop withholding myself from doing things I really want to.
I hope to focus on the beautiful things in my life and help them to flourish. I want to improve my writing, and become a better writer. I want to be a better friend to all of my friends, and let them know how much they mean to me. I want to be someone who loves without measure, but that requires actually, truly liking myself as a person first. I want to be able to be the friend, the daughter, the coworker that everyone in my life deserves, but I can’t do that unless I love who I am.
I want to keep learning to bring positivity to the world I have created for myself, but that requires me being content with my life. In 2018, I want to fall back in love with being alive.