I feel like I owe it to myself to go through this year and reflect on all it’s meant to me. How it’s affected and changed me. It’s been a lot. I began writing this as my own personal reflection. A journal entry. But I figured I’d share it here instead, as I wanted to talk through this with you guys anyway.
Here’s where I want to begin. I’m so hopeful. So excited. So inspired. I feel ready for 2021. I have a lot to look forward to this year, a lot I want to accomplish, and a lot I want to continue. But it’s been a long year to get to this place. So I’ll explain.
I thought 2019 was a lot. I wrote a reflection post at this time last year. In that post, I talked about how much had happened in my life in the last year. I felt like I had really come a long way in personal development. My life saw a lot of personal change in those past two years. I finished my first semester of college. Moved into my first apartment. Took trips across the country and to foreign countries. Saw both of my brothers get engaged. I really felt like that was a lot of change for me in one single year.
I spent January and February feeling really inspired. I was dedicating so much time to my blog and really seeing growth. I set goals for the year and felt excited to accomplish them. At the same time, I was working through my second semester of college, falling more in love with my future career every day.
Then March. COVID. Surprisingly, this month was great for me. Even though the idea of COVID freaked me out a little, most of the effects were positive for me. I’m a homebody through and through. So finding out that my classes would all be online and I could stay home in my pajamas and have more time to get stuff done and hang at home with my family was basically the best news ever.
April hit me like a ton of bricks. I learned new levels of anxiety that I didn’t know my body was physically capable of. On the bright side, I now know what triggers my anxiety. Free time. Nothing to do. Time to think. This starts it, but then it just opens into all of my fears. Fears of loss. Being alone. Not having my people. I love my family, more than anything. And the idea of not having them feels like too much to bear.
I thrive in routine. A busy schedule. I fill my cup until it overflows with tasks, and that’s when I feel most in my element. So naturally, April comes along, my semester ends, the world is experiencing a pandemic, and I have way too much free time.
I think the rest of the summer was pretty much a blur. I think I was a mess. Trying to hold myself together. My family pretty much did most of that. I can’t even begin to count the amount of times I cried for 2+ hours to my parents and sister and just felt so uncomfortable and afraid. How many times we’d drive around for hours just to fill the day. The amount of times my sister walked laps with me around our pool and taught me breathing techniques as she tried to comfort me with words. That was a pro of 2020. Understanding my sister like never before. Seeing our relationship move to a new level. Needing her and her strength more than I ever have. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to put into words just how important she is to me. How she is my best friend.
I spent those months with my family. I took every possible moment with them. I started running. Baked a lot of new recipes. Prayed constantly. Watched a lot of movies. Began puzzling with my sister. Purged every inch of my bedroom. Saw a therapist routinely. Did a ton of DIY projects. Focused on the things that made me feel content. Started healing.
In some ways, quarantine felt like the worst possible time to experience anxiety like that. There was so little to go do and be distracted by. But at the same time, I felt so grateful for time at home with family. I knew I didn’t feel capable of doing normal things and trying to smile and act like nothing was wrong. Looking back, I know it all happened for a reason. God had it all laid out. I didn’t know I needed to experience that, but He did. And He knew how and when it needed to happen and who would be there with me bringing me through it.
As a result, I didn’t spend any time on my blog. The anxiety and depression I was experiencing made all of those things that felt so fun and inspiring just feel weird and wrong. That’s one of my disappointments from this year. I never want my blog to suffer from a lack of my attention again, but I do know that my future with my blog is going to look different than I’ve previously imagined.
It really wasn’t until August that I started feeling completely like myself again. My schedule got busier. I started a new job. I moved into a new apartment (with my sister as my roomie!). I started my second year of college. I spent more time with friends.
And since then, things have been really good. I feel so content with how I’m ending this year. My friendships have grown so much deeper in the past few months. I’ve put myself out there with others and created new relationships. I’ve really leaned into things I love and feel inspired by.
I’ve spent more time with the Lord. I’ve devoted time to reading His word and focusing on prayer. I’ve been continually amazed by how He uses my weakest moments – the absolute hardest times I’ve experienced – for the greatest positive changes in who I am.
2020 taught me to be vulnerable. It taught me to be open with who I am and what I’m going through. 2020 made me grow. I’m leaving this year feeling proud of who I am. Proud of what I believe in. Proud of who I love. And confident in myself.
I’m really excited for 2021. I’m excited for my classes this semester. And to spend more time on the things that inspire and motivate me. And to lean into creative aspects of this blog and other loves of mine that I haven’t yet explored. I’m excited to see my brother get married and to gain another sister. I’m excited to spend more time with my family and my friends and to continue developing relationships that are new to me.
I don’t want to take anything or anyone for granted. I want to be present in every moment.
I’m going to spend this weekend thinking through my goals and plans for 2021. I’ll be sure to share those with you all. Thanks for allowing me to be me and following along. Love you all.