Time is a funny concept. It is both long and short, dragging and fleeting, appreciated and taken for granted, and all at the same time. We don’t realize it, but the New Year affords us the time to look back and realize just how much time has passed and how fast. Each nostalgic memory comes with the hard truth that we’re getting older and that the same people who were such crucial parts of our lives even a few months ago aren’t even in our minds let alone communication circles. However, it also comes with the small smiles at the times that made us happiest and grin as wide and as blissful as a young child. And, with this nostalgia—both good and bad—there comes hope for the future, for another year that’s even better than the last.
2016 was a good year for me. Compared to the two years previous, 2016 really stepped up and gave me a lot of things to appreciate and reminisce. Yet, as time is both double-sided, there are a lot of things to mourn.
I made some great friends at a university where I ultimately found my true passion: writing. But the university was not where I was meant to be, although the friends I’d made there had become a little family for me. A piece of my heart broke when I had to leave, but I needed to leave just like I needed to change my major and go after a new dream. I started a job that quickly turned into more than a part-time affair that would only last during the summer. My coworkers, like my friends at my former university, became another little family for me; one that wanted me back after I went off to school for the fall semester. There, at my new university, I found a new group of friends, who I would do anything for, and the sense of home I hadn’t gotten the first time around.
“The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes.” ― G.K. Chesterton
It’s not surprising that all the changes I made in 2016 also changed me. I began to demand more from myself: no excuses. I went out and started running because I knew that not only would it get me in shape and healthier but it would also help me mentally, relearning the discipline and recapturing the drive I’d lost when I finished with soccer. I became stronger through running longer and faster, conquering mountains as well as demons, and strengthening my resolve to never quit knowing that not only did the people around me deserve the absolute best that I could give, but that I deserved the best from myself as well.
I opened up more, began trusting people again. I let so many new friends into my life and even showed more of myself and my personality to my family. The carefully constructed walls I’d built around parts of my personality (which I was reluctant to share), were lessened with all the love and positivity I’d found and created.
Surrounded by all this love, I wish I could say it wasn’t surprising that even more could come my way. I fell in love in 2016—something I never thought I could do or could ever happen to me. And that’s changed me more than anything else that’s happened this year.
“But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.” — Robert Frost
Even though so much good has come out of 2016, there have been low moments: when I had my pre-quarter-life crisis thinking I’d let everyone down by choosing the wrong college and the wrong major, when I struggled with body image issues (still do), when I came to terms with my anxiety and decided it was time to get help (which is still a work in progress), and when I had to say goodbye, watching some people walk out of my life. But that’s the thing with life: it demands sacrifice (in various forms). If you want the good, you have to get through the bad, and if you want to be happy, you have to be sad. You can’t have one without the other.
Going into the New Year, even though life is going well right now, I know it will not always be so. Time demands change, and you can either welcome it or let it blow you over. Therefore, in 2017, I will strive to continue to work on myself and my life, to try hold onto the happiness I’ve found and created while still constantly looking for ways to improve, and to continue to appreciate the people I have in my life. Because nothing is guaranteed and because one day you could wake up and things could be changed, you have to really look around at what you’ve got and be thankful for it. Let 2017 be the year that you look at things differently, that you endeavor to be better, and that you appreciate just how special you are and how wonderful life is.