I cannot lie to you. I've written this blog post at least ten times since January 1st. I open the page, begin to type, and then delete every word that spills out. I don't know how to express what I want to say. That can be a scary thing, being at a loss for words. It doesn't happen to me often, and I'm an over-writer.. once I start, I cannot stop. But, the words aren't coming to me right now.
And that's part of the reason why I haven't written much over the last few months. Not the entire reason.. but definitely a big part.
very open letter where I spoke about feeling inadequate, not good enough, like a failure. I ended positively, sure that 2016 was going to be my year. That's a joke, wasn't it? I don't think 2016 was anyone's year!
I mean, I had a good year: I finished off an amazing senior year, traveled to Puerto Rico and the Grenadines, watched my sister get married, and graduated from my dream school. But the world faced a lot of tragedy and immeasurable loss, and sometimes we can't just forget about those things in favor of the happier moments.
So on New Year's Eve, as we celebrated the end of 2016 with lots of champagne and friends, and the countdown began, I felt relieved. Unlike 2015, I wasn't feeling uneasy about the coming year. I was happy to get rid of 2016, despite all the good that I may have experienced, I was ready for a fresh start.
Now 2017 hasn't been all roses and daisies, don't get me wrong. The last few months have been a whirlwind - I lost an uncle way too young, I lost a friend even younger, I saw heartbreak and tragedy in the eyes of the people I love. To say 2017 has been kind to everyone would be a lie.
But as I surrounded myself with family and friends at a fancy restaurant on December 31st, I had hope. My cousin - yes, the same one I sobbed to in the bathroom just one year prior - looked around for me as the countdown began, nervous to see what state I was in. But I was in the middle, screaming the number louder and louder the closer we got to midnight, dancing surrounded by some of my best friends, and happy - gosh, I was happy!
And why shouldn't I be? Yes, while life wasn't perfect last year.. it'll never be. So as we prepared to go into 2017, I let it all go. I found myself embracing the moment instead of worrying about what's to come. Because life is beautiful, incredible, magical - and no matter how much we plan for it, there'll always be something that makes us take a right turn, or a left turn, or sometimes just go around a roundabout for a couple minutes.
At the end of 2015, I got my first ever job rejection. I keep bringing this up, but it was a monumental moment for me. I mean, it wasn't my dream job, and it wasn't the be all and end all. But I was gutted - a sign that I wasn't good enough, even after all of my years of hard work, internships, too-much campus involvement, and even this blog.
I graduated, however, and got an incredible job at one of the top advertising agencies in the country - I got to write ads I'd see in magazines and in the newspapers, and hear on the radio and be surrounded by my work. But, as life would have it, I wasn't content.
I struggled for a while with this. Am I just bored? Isn't this what adulting is? Jobs aren't supposed to be exciting every single day, right? And that's right... but I felt a greater sense of belonging elsewhere, and I had decided on a Tuesday evening at the end of November that I would start to look elsewhere for jobs, knowing fully it may take months for me to find one considering the state of our economy.
That same night, I got a phone call from a friend of my sister's who knew somebody who was hiring and she thought I would be perfect for the job. Without knowing my struggles, she asked if she could recommend me. Two days and an interview later, I was offered the job on the spot. And by Friday, another opportunity presented itself to me: an opportunity to spearhead a digital movement at one of the top newspapers - something I had only ever dreamed of doing.
So as I struggled to make a decision, between an incredible job, and something that was quite literally my dream job, I took a step back. I weighed my pros and cons, and then I threw out that list and went with my heart. (oh, and I went with the newspaper job!)
And then I laughed. I laughed for all the times I cried leading up to this moment, unsure of what I wanted to do, where I would go or how I would get there. I laughed for thinking that one job rejection defined me, all of my years of hard work, and all of the years to come. I laughed for all of the struggles and frustrations I'd experience in the future, wanting to remember this moment. And I laughed for my heart, because I needed it.
So with 2017 starting in 10...9...8... I still laughed. Because surrounding your life with joy is definitely more beneficial than worrying unnecessarily. And because, even when we want to, sometimes there's just nothing we can do.
I'm a firm believer that your enjoyment of life is based entirely on how you look at your life in general. I know, as someone with crippling anxiety, that's a bold statement to make. But if there was anything that I learned from 2016, it's that sometimes things don't always turn out the way we want them, but if we look closely enough - squint, even - we can find the joy in it.
Perspective can be a hell of a thing. Sometimes, you can be in a situation and it can feel like it's the end of the world.
And guess what?