2021 has arguably been the hardest year of my life thus far. I have experienced some of the worst events of my personal life, and globally more has happened than any other year I can remember.
Globally, we experienced a pandemic, a drastic political divide, political insurrections, natural disasters, and countless other things I do not have the time to list. Personally, I experienced the near death of my sister, a new normal within my family, the suicide of someone I loved, social changes, a break up, and the challenges of becoming an adult.
2021 has been a year of transitions. Transitioning from Cate being at home, to in the hospital for 8 weeks, to no longer living at home. Transitioning through the stages of grief after the suicide of C. Transitioning into an adult who is applying to colleges and leaving her home behind. Transitioning into the person I hope to become.
I would be lying to you if I said that I was happy for the majority of this year because I was not, but I can tell you 2021 has taught me the most about myself than any other year I have experienced.
I knew I wanted to write a blog post about 2021, but to be completely honest, I had no clue how to highlight some form of lesson or positive from this year. I have never been so beaten down by a year, so how can I talk about it honestly without sounding completely negative and whiny?
In the midst of my confusion, I found myself scrolling through my thousands of photos within my google photo account. I went to December 2020 and after looking at photos and videos of myself, I realized something. The girl within these photos is a completely different person than who I am today.
I realized that I experienced an immense amount of growth amidst the hardships of this year, and that this should be acknowledged as a positive.
2021 has taught me how strong I am. If you asked me if I could handle this year’s events in 2020, I would have said no. I would have thought that this year would have beaten me down and that I would not have been able to stand up again, but I can tell you that I am standing. I am standing taller than I ever have. I made it through this year, and so did you, and I am so proud of all of us. This is a positive that should be acknowledged.
2021 has taught me to be myself. For a long time, I only showed the side to myself that I thought people wanted to see and not all of me. I found myself this year coming out of my shell and showing other people all aspects of myself, and that honestly people liked this version of me more. I am becoming unapologetically myself, and the events of 2021 have given me the power to do so. This is a positive that should be acknowledged.
2021 has taught me to appreciate and show my love to the people that matter most. Loss was a recurring theme of this year, and it has truly shown me that I should not be afraid to tell the people I love that I love them. I learned that I do not want to live with the idea of “what if?” so I live with the mindset of “do.” Tell people you love them, hug your friends and family, and cherish your time with one another. This is a positive that should be acknowledged.
Life’s adversities shape who we are and teach us who we are, and I have learned that more than ever this year.
Despite the heartache and heartbreak I experienced, I leave 2021 with no hard feelings. I leave 2021 optimistic. I leave 2021 hopeful. I leave 2021 with a new sense of purpose and drive, but most importantly, I leave 2021 authentically myself.
So here is to 2022. To remaining resilient, to remaining ourselves, and to finding any amount of light in the dark.
Here is to the future.
Warmly and optimistically,