Even though this won’t be posted until the first week of 2016, I’m writing this on the final day of 2015. I always get reflective this time of year, and this year isn’t any different. 2015 was one hell of a year. I travelled through the UK and Europe for 2 weeks; published two novels, a collection with my companion trilogy, and a short story; and had various adventures closer to home. I became closer with my two best friends, and spent quality time with my nephews and nieces. There have been a lot of ups and downs this year, but I’ve learned a lot, grown stronger, and I feel like I’m becoming a different person - in good ways.
3 Things I Learned in 2015
- I’m stronger, braver, and more capable than I give myself credit for. This is something I’ve just recently realized, embraced, and am proud of. It started with Europe; that whole trip was a giant shove out of my comfort zone. I worried my anxiety (especially my social anxiety) would kick in and cripple me, but it was actually the opposite. I was calm and confident, and during the moments where I thought I couldn’t do things, I took a deep breath, silenced the voices in my head, and charged ahead. It helped that I had Krista by my side, reminding me I’m capable and giving me a push when I needed it. There were a couple situations where I wanted to slam on the brakes and just say no, but her gentle persuasion and encouragement gave me the strength I needed. That wasn’t the only time, either. There were situations later in the year when I didn’t think I could do something and she gave me the push I needed. She told me recently that she knows I can do anything I put my mind to, but if I have trouble remembering that and need a push, she’s happy to give it. I’m so grateful to her for that.
- Depression is a rotten little bitch. This isn’t a new breakthrough - I’ve always known it, but this year in particular it was bad. I was in denial for the first part of the year. I thought it was because I was stuck in a rut. I knew my trip wouldn’t be a magic cure, but I thought it would help. It was after I came back that I had to face facts: my issues were more than just feeling unmotivated and unhappy; I have depression. I’ve struggled with it for years, and was even on medication a few years ago, but it didn’t help. I talked to a couple friends about it early in the year and got very little sympathy, encouragement, or support. It made it much more difficult knowing I was basically on my own, but I finally found a couple friends I could talk to who understand and sympathize. It’s still a struggle, but I won’t let this keep me down. I’m learning coping mechanisms, and hoping for a brighter 2016.
- That leads me into my final big lesson of 2015. This was something I started in 2014 and carried through this year. I learned who my true friends are, and I was ruthless with cutting out toxic people. I did a sweep in May, and another one in October. I refuse to allow people in my life who make me doubt myself, punish me for every perceived slight, take everything personally, purposely misconstrue everything I say, never take responsibility for their actions (or inaction), and make themselves the victim. I’m not perfect my any means, but I’m a very self-aware person, and have become even more self-aware this year. I’m aware of my flaws and shortcomings; there’s probably nothing you can tell me about myself that I don’t already know. I think that’s probably why I get irritated when something gets pointed out to someone and their first instinct is to deny and lash out and punish you for daring to show them they’re not as perfect as they think they are. I don’t need or want that negativity in my life. I won’t put up with it any longer. The drama and constant worry and always censoring myself because of fear of backlash was affecting my mental health, and after completely cutting off contact. I’ve felt much better. Healthier, saner. Something else I've learned: it's not selfish to do what's right for you. It's not selfish to make your mental health and well being a priority.
My hopes for 2016I’m going to keep this short and sweet. I’m putting into practice something my friend Krista has mentioned a few times: having no expectations. We’ve talked about the expectations we’ve had from certain people or situations and how we’ve ended up hurt and disappointed, so I’m applying the ‘no expectations’ on a bigger scale: the whole of 2016. Every year I say the new year will be amazing and the best ever and I set all these resolutions and probably have unrealistic expectations. Not this year. I’m going to do my best to make it a great year, but I’m keeping my expectations in check.
Did you learn any big lessons in 2015? Did you stick to your resolutions? Meet your goals? Is there anything big you hope to accomplish in 2016?