untitledYou never start off a New Year thinking, “I am going to have one of the hardest,  most emotionally exhausting years of my life.” Alternatively you don’t start off the year thinking, “I am going to meet my soul mate” or “I am going to finally finally figure out where I am going with my life.” If anything, as that clock ticks down the last few seconds towards the next year I know that for me all I find myself thinking is,  god dammit I hope I don’t screw it up again. I just simply hope. Hope for something better than what you have had, hope that you don’t make the same mistakes you did the year before, hope you learn, and grow, and change, and live. I know for me I try not to set up too many expectations, I’m too afraid of failure for that. So as a pessimist I’m either right or pleasantly surprised. As a result I could have never ever anticipated both the shit and the wonders that 2016 had in store for me.

I think sometimes we refer to time as ‘thing’ to cope with the reality that we are completely out of control. We say, “I can’t wait for this day to be over”  as though the Earth’s rotation can change our mood, or “this has been a crap year” to justify the actions of the people in the world that affect us negatively. For me 2016 was both a benefactor and a sycophant, as much as it took away from me it also gave me so much.

In 2016 I lost 65 lbs, a feat that I know I could not have done by myself. I dyed my hair honey blonde, white, then silver, then brunette, then white again. I had my first real boyfriend which much too quickly turned into my first real break up, an event that rocked my life. I checked myself into and attended therapy for 9 months with an old friend who I owe my health to and made discoveries and changes in myself that completely restored who Matthew truly is.

I listened to the same two albums for nearly three months putting me in the top 1% of Carly Rae Jepson listeners on Spotify. I went on probably a million hikes, and took way too many photos of nature along the way. I worked two jobs and got into way too much debt buying clothes. I had a million book ideas and didn’t follow through with a single one. I got together with old friends from high school and put on a theatre production with the direction of our old drama teacher, just because. I made friends and I lost a few as well, and in one particular case I mended a relationship that had been broken years prior. I attended school full-time and finished out the whole year with all A’s, something I had never done before, not even in high school. I watched two nephews of mine come into the world making my already obtuse family just a little bit bigger.

I went on more dates than I had ever allowed myself to before, hitting walls in some places and simply making friends in others. I went to two concerts that absolutely changed my life with two of my very favorite people in the world, and listened to so much music that I was both embarrassed and impressed with myself when Spotify sent me my annual listening report. I had two Christmases and two Thanksgivings and way too many Rio salads to count along the way.

Last year was defining and life-altering. I made mistakes, I lied and I did things that were untrue to myself time and time again. But I learned and I grew and I opened myself up to change and truth. I got in fights with those I love most and with myself. I created decisions about my future and made paths for myself with goals and expectations. I strengthen my relationships with my parents, and siblings by communicating openly and honestly about who I really am and what I want in life. I cried more times that I could count or like to admit even if I could, and laughed even more than that. Lastly, most importantly, I met someone who entirely changed my life a person who as become more than just a boyfriend, but a best friend, partner-in-crime and loyal companion.

While in many ways 2016 was the hardest year of my life it was also the best in many many more ways. And I can only hope that 2017 is as heartbreaking, fulfilling, funny, hilarious, and incredible as the last year was.

—m.h.

 

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