Reflection is something I try to do every night. I like to write down something that was good, something that I want to improve on, and my rambling thoughts before I go to sleep. I had plenty of reflection today. Switching between sleeping and watching movies on a 16 hour flight with approximately 3 more hours before I land in Tanzania, I’ve thought about a lot about 2016. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs but I try to focus on the positive. Four of the biggest things I learned in 2016 were self-respect, forgiveness, independence, and empowerment.
To use the word “dating” to describe what I attempted to do this year would be too generous of a word. On the bright side, I met a lot of great guys who I ended up being friends with through mutual friends, work, or through Bumble and Tinder. I figured we could stay friends because my work and life balance was not on my side with all the moving. Bad timing is the story of my life.
On the not so bright side, I ended up in a a handful of hurtful situations that I stayed in thinking I could change the other person. It hurt me more to get my hopes up and to think that I could possibly date this person despite the fact I KNEW they were NOT good for me. Some promised they wouldn’t hurt me but ended up hurting me. Dating this year left me very guarded and vulnerable, but I learned a life lesson about self-respect. I eventually walked away from those hurtful situations and started to respect myself and learn my worth. Don’t force someone to like you; the right person will openly give you their time and companionship.
Forgiveness has never been an easy thing for me. I dislike holding grudges against people but sometimes it’s easier to cut people off than to fix a friendship. This year I learned that I felt better going out and extending an olive branch to people I may have hurt through my actions, through my friend’s actions, or misunderstanding. Never burn bridges because you never know when you will run into someone again. I repaired plenty of friendships this year and never been happier to have these people back into my life. If you try to make amends and the other person does not agree, move on but feel better that you were willing to make peace between the two of you.
This past year I felt like I truly learned about independence. Having to leave a familiar place and pick up again really taught me about how to be on my own. I’ve always had my friends and family within mere hours of where I lived. Living on my own, being comfortable in my own company, and having to improvise made me a stronger person. I realized that I did not have my two roommates from college helping me shovel out my car in the snow or help me bring my groceries up three flights of stairs. Before this year, I never drove more than six hours or find an apartment by myself. I had to learn how to be aware of my surroundings, make good judgment, and be safe everywhere I went. Being independent proved that I could make it on my own.
I could not have made it this year without the help of my friends and my family by my side. Every time I felt down from constant training for work, always being on the road, or just my constant string of bad dates…I always had a friend to talk to. Someone was always there to listen to me and remind me that I could do it. I think we need to learn how to empower each other. There is nothing more valuable than having a support group for you. It really helps knowing that no matter where I end up, there is always a group of people praying for me, cheering me on, and reminding me that everything is going to be okay.
No matter what happened this year, good or bad, remember that you are an amazing person with a lot to contribute to society, you are loved, and you have a purpose.
Best wishes for 2017.