Inhale, Exhale, and Welcome 2019

Every New Year’s Eve, social media seems to explode with posts and memes about how awful the current year was. People bring up the worst things that happened, we all vow to do better, and cliched New Year’s resolutions fill up our timelines. Frankly, I’m over it.

Maybe I’m alone in saying this, but 2018 was a good year. Not everyone can relate to graduating high school and beginning an amazing, fruitful college experience, but 2018 brought on so many changes for me. Some were good, all were lessons, and the year was full of monumental growth. I learned the value of my own voice, how to not stress about the future and its seemingly infinite unpredictability, and the true value of friendship. A blissful, carefree summer in my hometown gave way to me finding a new home and becoming the epitome of a “midwestern gal”, splitting my time between Illinois and Ohio. For the first time in perhaps, forever, I’ve gotten to know myself on a deeper, richer level than ever before.

But this process still isn’t complete, nor was it perfect. I’ve done a lot of reflecting as the year has winded down. What I’ve discovered from this introspection is that having a deep sense of self doesn’t equate to having an overflowing amount of self-love.

In 2018, I achieved some of my greatest accomplishments. None of this would have been possible without me pushing myself to a new level. Despite all of my victories, I began to think that my best wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t happy with essays I received A’s on, I thought I should have applied for more scholarships, and my final grade in precalculus was less than satisfactory (for the record, I’ve never been a math person, and I likely never will be). Family members showered me with praise, and I acted like I was eating it up. Truth was, I wasn’t proud. I thought I wasn’t doing enough, and that I myself wasn’t enough. I became discontent with even my best of efforts and my body, seemingly finding flaws in every crevice of my life that I could.

In 2018, I discovered my true self, flaws and all. Now, I want 2019 to be the year I am happy, confident, and accepting of myself. I want to feel comfortable in my body and my abilities. I want to be able to say, “I gave this opportunity my full effort, and that is enough.” 

Yes, 2018 had its ups and downs. But, overall, the year was a success. I challenge you all to ignore the negative posts about 2018 and show the same love for both 2018 and 2019. Your lessons and experiences in 2018 are the basis for growth in 2019, and for that, the year is meaningful and impactful. Don’t minimize it. 

If you’re feeling nervous about a new year or feel overwhelmed by the amount of overzealous New Year’s Resolutions on your social media feeds, you’re not alone. We hype up each year to be better than the last. 2019 may or may not be your best year to date, but that doesn’t mean that it will be without valuable lessons and beautiful memories. Take a deep breath, internalize your hopes and dreams for the year to come, and let it all out. Recognize these desires, but don’t let them weigh you down. Breathe, release, and celebrate the year that’s yet to come.

2019 is here, and I am ready for it. I hope you are, too.