I turned 24 in January of 2016. I was ready to turn 24. I thought 23 hadn’t been that great (nobody likes you when you’re 23) and surely 24 would be better. The morning before I turned 24 I ended up in the ER with a really painful infection. I couldn’t travel to see the twin for our birthday. I could only stay in bed and let the pain meds ease the discomfort.
While I was living it, I thought that morning of excruciating pain was a farewell. A wave goodbye as I swiftly began my twenty-fourth year. I see those days differently now. Looking back, I don’t think twenty three was saying goodbye to me at all.
I think she was warning me.
I went to Nashville (twice), Hawaii, Niagara Falls, Toronto, Seattle, and took my first solo trip to Denver.
I felt so much wonder and amazement in 2016. I’ll never forget driving the coastline of Oahu with my best friend with the ocean waves crashing on the banks to our left and the lush, green, towering mountains to our right.
I’ll never forget waking up to the Toronto skyline or how small I felt next to Niagara Falls.
I got my first tattoo in Seattle, where I was overtaken by the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
I proved to myself that I could travel by myself if I wanted to by going to Denver.
I saw so much that only heightened my desire to see as much of this crazy, wonderful world as I can.
I started this blog to share this part of my life with you.
I moved to Greenville, with such a sweet roommate, and I started a new job.
I continued making big moves on paying off my student loan debt.
But I also lost my brother.
I ended a lot of friendships that weren’t strong enough to make it through that loss.
I didn’t hear from people I thought I would.
I tried to get away and ended up with appendicitis 7 hours away from home and (eventually even shingles).
I felt more confused about my place in the world than I ever have before.
I felt more pain than I knew was physically possible. I felt more fear than I thought possible.
I experienced more loss of friends, of co-workers, of my cousin.
I experienced the ugly version of myself. The sad version of myself, who didn’t want to get out of bed, who didn’t care about my job, who was tired. The version of myself that didn’t want to see any part of the world if it wasn’t in my own, safe, bed. In a place where I couldn’t get hurt anymore. That’s the truth about this year.
I can’t say that I’m ending 2016 at peace with myself or what happened this year. I can’t say that I have an understanding of why what happened this year happened. I can’t say that I’m not angry or sad or afraid. But I’m working on it.
I can’t say that I’m ending 2016 with high hopes for the year 2017. The New Year doesn’t erase what happened. The date changing doesn’t ease the pain. It doesn’t magically create a new me. Only I can do that. So that’s what I’m going to do. In 2017, I’m going to fight back.