As 2016 draws to a close with less than three months to go, I can’t help but feel relieved. I would be under-exaggerating if I said this year has been tough. It’s been exhausting, and it’s time for a fresh start for a variety of reasons. I’ve allowed this year’s struggles to affect me too much. They’ve made me feel alone; they’ve kicked my confidence’s ass; and they’ve allowed me to take all the good parts of this year for granted. There are a few reasons why this year should have been the best year of my life: I graduated from college and met the man of my dreams. Unfortunately, this year’s pitfalls outweighed the joyful moments. My favorite person in the world suffered two strokes, and she is now in a state of wearing diapers, receiving nourishment from a tube and nonverbally communicating. While my other grandma is stuck in an assisted living center where the staff members care more about their phones than the residents. My immediate family’s closeness has faded because of the external stress this has caused. And to top it off, I’m supposed to be moving forward and deciding what I want to do with my life.
Before 2016, I believed I had a pretty good handle on life. I was acing college, had a core group of friends, picked a solid major and starred in a few major theatre productions. And don’t get me wrong, the first few months of 2016 were great. I started dating a great guy in February while conquering a course load of 19 credits. I was ready to conquer finals week and receive my earned recognition at graduation, but then, just as expected, that’s when all hell decides to break loose in our lives. Less than two weeks before my finals are set to begin, I find out that the person I aspired to be had her life snatched from her by two strokes.
Maybe if I wasn’t such an empathetic person, her tragedy wouldn’t have had such a drastic effect on my mind and heart. I’ve never truly dealt with loss before this year because my life has been extraordinarily blessed. But when everything spins out of control in just a couple months, it’s hard to maintain that genuine smile and cheerful disposition without them seeming fake. There are people in my life who know me as the smiley, friendly and confident girl who knows who she is and trusts in her abilities. I think somewhere inside I still am that girl, and a fresh start is what’s going to be needed to resurrect her. A chance to accept that life is never going to be the same again because it wasn’t meant to, and the chance to hope that there are exceedingly better moments awaiting me in 2017.