A year in review

I have been in a strange sense of limbo these past few months as I’ve been wrapping my mind around the idea that a new year is finally upon us. It took lunar new year, when I was in a much more stable and optimistic state than I was on the first day of the solar new year, to understand what I really want out of 2014.

Without a doubt, 2013 was one of the absolute craziest, event-filled, heart-wrenching, challenging, yet rewarding years I’ve ever had in my 19 years of living.

From January through February I felt unreal, detached, and mostly desperate for attention.  I alienated my friends and never wanted to be home, yet I was hungry for words of affirmation. I was scared and angry at everything. Numbness was the closest feeling I could get to happiness and I closed myself off to love. I spent this time wallowing in self-pity.

Spring brought a growing sense of self-reliance for emotional stability as I devoted myself to writing and schoolwork.  I wrote, “I am learning to be less inhibited” even though the thought of relating to others still terrified me a little.

By April I was much better at moving along with the unpredictability of my life and soaking in life’s strange moments. This was good preparation for the events that ensued, beginning with my decision to leave home and place myself at the mercy of my friends’ loyalty and compassion. I missed my brother immensely. My grades suffered. Still, I ogled at my newfound independence and the idea that no one was watching over me. I worked for my own livelihood now. I had my own money and time to spend. If I wanted something within my reach I could have it. If I wanted to be someplace with someone I could go out and do it. This was a marvel in itself. I couldn’t afford to overthink about the future, because the present was so much more enticing for once.

In June it seemed I was so effusively giddy about the close of the semester, summer, and life.  I was content with my living situation, my financial situation, and all of my relationships. I was constantly out doing things with people, relishing this foreign freedom. Consequently I did not have very much alone time that I was so accustomed to having to recharge and reflect. I wrote, “My mind is buzzing with activity. It’s all dizzying to think about.” All of this continued to swell into July, in which I was much too carried away with life to sit down for a single second. Summer was when I decided that I could be happy anywhere.

Fall was a clumsy return to school and further responsibilities. I was frustrated with my lack of productivity and my inability to make simple decisions for myself. I was easily overwhelmed and my priorities were jumbled. Worst yet, I had a sinking feeling I didn’t belong at the home I was in or with the people in it. I started again with the self-doubting and the thoughts of heavy guilt for my presence. By December I wasn’t writing, I wasn’t reading, and my heart wasn’t in school or work or people. I moved again.

Coming back full circle this past January I was forced to reevaluate the state I was in and how far I’ve come emotionally and mentally. I realized that a lot of the dark feelings I was experiencing brought to light many things I’d been suppressing since I’d moved out of my aunt’s. Winter was when I decided that I could also be sad anywhere.

These feelings weren’t hiding in a physical place like I’d believed for so much of my life. It took some courage to confront myself and decide that this mindset was an excuse for refusal to grow.

So, 2013 was rife with people from all sides telling me who I was, who I was supposed to be. People kept telling me what the right thing to do was, affirming or rejecting the way I was choosing to live my life. There was too much emotional chaos. There was too much unpredictability and rash judgment. It was a year of extremes, and I want to have order again.

At the same time, 2013 was a year for me filled with a lot of boldness, a lot of risk-taking, and a lot of really important decision-making in how I wanted to live my life.

In 2013 I never felt at home any place. I felt secure, but not safe. Cared for, but not loved. Appreciated, but not needed. Compatible ,but not belonging. Anyplace I was, I wanted to be somewhere else.

This year I want to stop looking for homes in other places or people. I want self-acceptance. I want firm self-reliance. I want my love and compassion for others to be free-flowing and uninhibited.

I want to finally let go of speculation of the past and head into conflict with an eye for opportunity and improvement. After a year of busy thoughts and detaching as was instinctive to me, I want to be fully present with people. I want to actively engage. I want to believe I am worthy of belonging and connection, and therefore be able to accept love that comes my way. I want to let myself in so I can let everyone else in.

The realization that I am not bound to my history or an outdated idea of my former self is liberating, just as the realization that I am really in complete control of the life I want to build for myself is so empowering. 2013 for me was a year of experimentation in lifestyle choices and relationship choices. I want 2014 to be an implementation of rigorous self-improvement,  trusting that home is something I carry with me so I am free to move forward.

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