2016 was a crazy year. It was mostly been a shitshow, but there were a few good moments. I think, for me personally, it was a roller-coaster of a year. I feel like it was the year of realizations. I learned so many things about myself and other people and throughout the year I tried to come to terms with these realizations. So here’s some of the things I learned in 2016. Last year was one of the hardest, but I have also learned the most from it.
Family Is Important.
I am aware that this is a weird realization to have when you’re 22 years old, but I feel like this year is when I finally accepted and embraced my family. Not my immediate family, because they were always important to me, but my extended family. I spent most of my life thinking that friends are better because you can choose friends, while you’re just stuck with family. But for me, my friendships have always been difficult. It feels like I am constantly putting maximum effort and and my friends don’t return even a fraction of it back. I strongly believe that friendship is a two way street, but when it comes to my friends, it has always been a one way road. This year I finally realized that I don’t owe them anything, and I learned to distance myself from them. I haven’t completely cut them off, but I have realized that there are people in my life who will put in effort and won’t make me feel like I’m the only person trying. My cousins, who I have never been that close to, and I have spending a lot of time together, and it has been great. There is just something special about family – they will always understand what you are going through, and for the most part, they are very similar to you. For me especially, it has been amazing to hang out with my cousins because they all believe in God, like me. All my friends are atheists and while most of them don’t judge me for believing in God, some of them do, and all of them just don’t understand my faith. It has been nice to spend time with people who not only understand it, but who I can openly talk about it to.
It’s OK To Take Your Time.
Understanding this has been very hard for me, and there are some days even now where I don’t believe it. But it is true. I spent so much time this year stressing about the fact that I still didn’t have a job even though I was done with college. Almost everyone I know who graduated found jobs in a matter of weeks. I am still struggling. This is mostly because I have applied to a very few places, because I have been trying to find places that will be somewhat manageable, despite my anxiety. It has been very hard, but I have decided that it doesn’t matter. I would rather take longer to find a job than find one that doesn’t suit me and then spend the rest of my days being miserable. It has been very hard to be OK with this, especially since the first question people ask me is, “so what are you doing now?”. I have dealt with judgement, pity and in some cases, disgust. Some days it hurts, but I keep telling myself that I am the one who knows what is best for me, and that all of the people who want to know what I am doing with my life don’t know the daily struggles I go through because of my mental illnesses. So I have realized that while I may be going at a slower pace than everyone else, at least I know that I am doing what is best for me, and that is what is most important.
Cutting People Off Is Not Easy, And Can Be Impossible.
I wish this wasn’t true, but it is. Everyone tells you to cut the toxic people out of your life, because being around them is unhealthy. This sounds like the best thing to do; it is actually, but the thing is, it isn’t realistic. Especially since, in most cases, someone is toxic only to you and not everyone else. So cutting someone off when you belong to the same friend group, for example, is basically impossible. It puts all of your other friends in an awkward situation, and ultimately you probably won’t be left with anyone. There is someone in my friend group I should cut off, but I can’t do it because she is friends with all of my other friends. Also, no one else thinks she is toxic, so they would probably rather just cut me off completely. This has been extremely hard for me – knowing that someone being in my life is bad for me, but knowing I can do nothing about it. But I guess it is a life lesson as well – no matter what all the articles and self help books tell you, you can’t pick and choose every person in your life. Sometimes you just have to deal with people even if you don’t want to.
Money Is A Very Tricky Thing.
Years later, I have finally realized that almost all of my friends took advantage of my financially. It took me way too long to come to this realization. I think I just didn’t want to believe it, but it was true. My friends were (and still are) happy to sit back while I paid/pay for everything, and then they came to expect it and barely paid for anything. One of my friends in particular is the worst at this, and it came to a point where I had to stop hanging out with her for a few months because whenever we spent time together, I am the only one who paid. She never paid for cabs, and when we were splitting bills she would always pay less than she was supposed to. I would understand completely if she had financial difficulties. But she always had enough and more money when it came to buying things for her boyfriend and one of her other friends. So when she spent so much money on them, it became hard for me to turn a blind eye, and I had to take a moment to just be away from her. Things haven’t changed even now, but now I just take the minimum amount of money I will need when we go out, because that way she can’t expect anything for me. This isn’t something that I have been able to deal with very well. It actually makes me really angry just writing about it. But I think I am just mostly angry at myself because it took me way too long to realize what was actually happening.
You Can’t Help People If They Don’t Want To Be Helped.
This has been one of the hardest things to come to terms with, but I had to accept it because it was too emotionally exhausting. My best friend is currently miserable at her job, but she is being forced to do it by her mother, as the money she earns supports the whole family. Every time I see my friend, she talks about quitting and she looks through possible other jobs or university courses she can do. But then she goes home and tells her mum, who guilt trips her and forces her to just stick with the job. My friend is so depressed and she’s constantly in a daze and she doesn’t know what is happening half the time. I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that her family doesn’t see the change in her, because seeing her like this is heartbreaking. But no matter how hard I tried to talk her into quitting, there’s no point because she will never be able to do it. So now I have decided that all I can do is be there for her – any decisions she makes or realizations she has, she needs to do it on her own. Another one of my friends is in an abusive relationship, and me and all of my other friends have tried everything we can do to try and get her to see sense. But she hasn’t and I know she probably never will. So with her too, I am just trying to be there for her and let her learn everything else for herself.
It Gets Better (I Promise).
This is the most important thing I have ever realized in my whole life. Getting here wasn’t easy though. I spent years of my life thinking that I would be miserable and depressed forever, and nothing would change. But with help from God, my therapist and myself, I have gotten to a point where I don’t want to kill myself anymore, and I have hope that things will be OK. This was probably one of the most difficult “journeys” of my life. My depression hasn’t disappeared completely, but it is manageable and now I know that recovery is possible. If there’s anyone out there who’s going through anything difficult, or horrible, and you think that it will never get better, I’m here to tell you that’s not true at all. It might take weeks, months, years, but it WILL be OK. I promise. Just hang in there, and have faith ❤
So there’s my list. It is quite personal and probably a little all over the place, because I’m just writing my thoughts as they come. Hopefully it made some sense and someone learned something from it. Here’s to the new year ❤
Reading: Check out my GoodReads widget. I just finished the Throne of Glass books and I am having a terrible hangover.
Watching: Planet Earth II (so good!!!) and rewatching the DCEU movies 😛
Playing: Skyrim Remaster and Pokemon Go (it’s finally available in my country).