2018 was a bit crap.
There’s no poetic or poignant way to put that, really. Only sharp, abrupt honesty that a year I went into with wide-eyed optimism did not turn out to be the 365 days of glory and joy and sheer perfection that I’d been dreaming of.
It wasn’t all bad, of course. As with every year, good or bad, I learned some valuable lessons that will inevitably continue to shape my twenties as the past few have.
I learned that some apologies will come late, and some will never come at all. The most important thing you can do is to make peace with these situations and prioritise yourself. Waiting around for someone to see your point of view is unproductive at the least and downright harmful at the most.
I also learned that wolves in sheep’s clothing are never as well-disguised as we’d like to think, we just choose to ignore the red flags. A wolf in a woolly jumper or wearing the sweetest, most sincere ‘I promise I won’t eat you’ smile is still a wolf. Honestly, we’re taught this as children and I STILL ignore my instincts. (“But Grandma, what big teeth you have!”)
As you may have twigged, 2018 brought some very toxic relationships to me (thanks babe, appreciate it.)
But it also gave me the tools to end these relationships and come away from them with more strength, courage and self-worth than I’d ever really considered possible before. Bruised egos and battered self-esteem can lead to resilience over bitterness, and for me, these encounters only made me more grateful for the wonderful people around me and more aware of what I deserve (the promotion I earned, the birthday celebrations I enjoyed) and what I do not (abuse, deceit and spite).
I ended 2018 with a heavy sense of reflection and gratitude, but I’ve begun 2019 with an even heavier sense of doubt and confusion. I feel like a little kid in a candy store – simply overwhelmed with too much choice.
Every opportunity I could take or new hobby I could start or self-improvement I could make are beckoning to me like the wares of a sweet shop, each treat a sumptuous temptation I desperately want, but instead of snatching it all up I just let my hand hover over them for a moment before recoiling and exclaiming, “No, I really shouldn’t.”
Since when do we need to give ourselves permission to go after what we want, what we enjoy? Why am I doing this to myself?
This year, I want to change that. I want to give into my passions and curiosities. I want to learn more, grow more, experience more. I want to fail – I want to make mistakes and screw up and count every step backwards as just another step in the journey I’m making through my twenties.
I want to TRY. I want to embrace the baby steps I can take outside of my comfort zone and stop retreating, stop the ‘I can’t’ masquerading as ‘I shouldn’t’.
Not trying is not self-preservation, it is fear. I don’t want to be afraid, to make excuses for why I ‘can’t’ or won’t.
So, 2019 will be my candy store.
And I intend to try it all.