2016 Year In Review

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2016 has been one of growth to say the very least. I fell in love for the first time, embraced being directionless, swallowed my pride to fix relationships that matter, coped in unhealthy ways, acted out of character because of how numb I felt, distanced myself from toxicity, started taking care of myself, gravitated towards individuals that reflected the values within me, focused on my future, and continued my living spree. I think I can attribute the fact that I've been cultivating self-love for the past 23 years of my life to being the reason I've been able to heal as well as I have. That, in addition to surrounding myself with the best humans I could ever possibly ask for. The ones that'll tell me things that are painful to hear, come over and eat ice cream for a week straight for me, and willingly (or at least pretend to willingly) listen to the broken record that I was. I'm still in disbelief over the relieving happiness I've felt to be able to overcome such unhappiness and I have so many loved ones to thank for that.

This year was a struggle but despite everything, I'm genuinely glad it all happened. I discovered a whole side of me I never knew existed by tearing down my own walls and finally letting someone in. I was so cynical about it before but I learned that I have an insurmountable capacity to love. The idea of caring for someone else's wellbeing and happiness as much as your own is such a beautiful thing. Prioritizing someone was not something I was used to but I liked the person I was becoming as I was allowing myself to fall in love and do just that. I felt like a better human. I felt lighter on my feet. I felt a high I never felt. And as complete as I already felt on my own, my life felt like it was overflowing in purpose. It was scary and new to me but I welcomed it. In contempt of letting my guard down for the first time and being burned what feels like instantly, it's not completely deterring me from ever allowing myself to feel again. I love my life and the people in it so much that all I want to do is simply share that with someone. I was so terrified before but through this I learned that it is worth the risk. I just have so much love to give. I want to spoil someone in it and have that reciprocated because I finally understand the beauty of it.

Ironically, 2016 feels like the most I've ever learned despite it being my first year out of college. I learned to not take myself so seriously. I learned that I'm an extreme empath and it's exhausting hah. I learned to confront my wounds instead of ignoring them. I learned that not everyone has your best interest at heart even if it might come off that way. I learned that misery loves company. I learned that gray areas exist. I'm still learning to train my mind to believe that things are happening "for me" and not "to me". Also still learning that life, like contemporary art, isn't always going to make sense and that's OKAY. Vulnerability is something that scared the shit out of me for the longest time (still kinda does) but this year I learned that the art of living surrounds that word alone. I learned that being honest with yourself is so damn important. I learned that I don't fall easy but when I do, I fall hard. I learned that love isn't just a feeling, it's a decision you make every day. I learned that self-love goes a long way in the healing process. I learned that you could want the best for someone and believe in your bones that they deserve better but it isn't your job to make them realize it. I learned that the company you surround yourself with can really impact your motivation and view on life. I learned that time is not a measurement of quality. As grim as it might sound, I've learned to not fear death so much when you live authentically enough and make a constant effort at living your best life every day. And probably the hardest thing I learned this year was... I learned that I am human.

So many beautiful moments came out of this year as well. When I think of the memories where I felt an all-consuming bliss, like my life was complete and I couldn't ask for anything more, I think about:
  • Kicking off the new year with an entire week of chaos and adventure in the beautiful city of Seattle with all of my absolute favorite people.
  • Driving up the Pacific Coast Highway with a car filled with people I love to spend the night stargazing at the most breathtaking campsite in all of Big Sur.
  • Spending my 23rd birthday weekend in Yosemite, a place that I adore, with both friends and family, the people that I adore.
  • A whole month beach bumming it on an island with my cousin, Christina, her boyfriend, Tim, and their perfect dog, Lily.
  • Releasing lanterns into the sky at the Rise Festival with my best friends and feeling the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders. 
  • A weekend in Portland celebrating my best friend's 23rd birthday and experiencing a real autumn for the first time. 
I don't like resolutions because I feel like their meant to be broken but I do have a lot of things I hope for in 2017. A few of those things include:
  • To stop feeling like I'm running away from everything and find something to run towards 
  • To not let a past failure negatively affect anything that may potentially present itself in the future
  • To charge wholeheartedly and start cultivating the dream career(s) I want
  • To fearlessly explore other creative outlets- I want to shoot more (film), write more, cook more, read more, design, style, create, etc! 
  • To only surround myself with individuals that mirror my passion, reciprocate my energy, and bring out the best version of me
  • To take better care of myself- mind, body, and soul and to continue cultivating self-love because you really can't have enough of it
  • To spend more time outside
  • To approach everything with love, transparency, and honesty 
  • To be more present and content with life as is while always striving for more
I've never felt more distant from the person that I was in the beginning of the year and I'm glad. Change means growth and I hope I've changed and grown through going through all of this year's trials and tribulations. There have been more lessons than blessings for sure, but I'm grateful nonetheless. I'm feeling thicker-skinned after 2016 and with that being said, 2017, I am so ready for you. 
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