If you’ve checked any social media in the past week, and let’s be honest- you have, you can pretty much get the gist of how people feel when it comes to 2016 as a whole. Clever memes comparing the year to anything terrible fill my timelines with only the negatives that the year may have brought us. Everyone seems to be ready to leave 2016 in the past and move onto a new year and a fresh start. I’m all about a fresh start, but what I’m not so all about is leaving 2016 behind.
This year seemed to have started just like all the rest…I thought 2016 would be just like every other year- eventful and busy, starting with me making resolutions I probably couldn’t keep or follow through with and end with that same sitting regret of everything I didn’t do or get to. I imagined a year full of memories and some travel, but didn’t even come close to picturing all the potential 2016 may have in store for me. What I didn’t know was how much my life would change in just one year.
At this point the title may seem a little confusing, am I right? Especially after I just told you how much my life altered all thanks to 2016. New year, yes. New me, not so much. I honestly feel like I stopped changing in a way somewhere between the start of senior year and the end of my first semester of college. That whole year and a half was a time of growth and change that really shaped me and the way I see people and especially moments in my life. I don’t see myself changing in any extreme ways over the next year, but who knows. I’d like to better myself but not change who I am. I’d definitely be game with leaving some things behind as I move forward to a new year, but also cherish all the blessings this past year has dropped in front of me. I’d let to go of the pain this year has brought, the people who may have done me wrong, the moments that didn’t go my way, the grudges I’ve held against people, and even let go of those toxic people in my life that for some reason I’ve held onto. I want to leave all the negativity of these past three hundred and sixty-five days behind and jump into the new year with no regret or hard feelings. If this year taught me anything it’s how much one year can change your life and your view of the world.
So yes, I’m not quite ready to leave another year in the past and forget about all the joys it brought me in just 365 days. Now don’t get me wrong, our country has had a rough year… from it being an insane election year, to the shooting in Orlando, the devastating phenomenon that was Harambe, and the deaths of legends like Alan Rickman, David Bowie, and Carrie Fisher(even though I’ve yet to see Star Wars… I’ll get to it, I promise). All of these events shook our world for a time and left us wondering “why?”. So, in that case I guess I see the want in moving on to a new year and looking forward instead of behind. But we can’t just move on and ignore all the amazing things that took place this year like USA bringing home Gold in the Rio Olympics, finally being blessed with the sequel of Finding Nemo, the Cubs winning the World Series, and ayeeee, Leo DiCaprio even won an Oscar. I don’t want to even get close to going into the subject of politics or this year’s election, but no matter the controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton, the first woman ran for President of the United States, and in my eyes, that’s something we should all find pride in. 2016 surely had it’s ups and downs and no matter how it treated you, it’s almost time for it’s end – meaning it’s almost time to start kicking ourselves when we write the wrong date down for the first few weeks of January.
So, back to my life changing, almost completely, for the better – all thanks to 2017. This year I took a leap and ventured on a journey to a new state, a new school, a new home, and all new friends. My acceptance to the University of Florida has been a dream of mine and my dad’s since I could first utter the word “Gators”, and when weighing all my options, I knew I would always regret it if I made the decision to not at least try to fulfill this life-long dream of mine. So when August came around, I packed up my condo and my two pups and headed south to Gainesville. Now I’m not saying everything was like you see in the movies where you instantly feel at home, make tons of new friends, and are just so genuinely happy. I went to my first weeks of classes not knowing anyone other than a few friends I had made at Gator Tennis Camp in my eleven years of attendance, and in all honesty, it was terrible and I felt completely alone and discouraged. I contemplated whether or not I had made the right decision or just a huge mistake – I called my mom, boyfriend, and best friend every night ( in rotation, okay…I’m not a complete loser ) just to feel less lonely – all I wanted was for this to all pass and to get that feeling that I had always dreamed about and seen in those movies I was referring to. Well, I ended up inheriting three hundred-something new sisters, started coming out of my shell in classes and talking to new people, and getting involved in clubs and whatever I could to not think about missing home. Eventually, a day came where I just started to feel that genuine happiness and could tell I was finally at home and in love with my school. I made friends that I already can’t go a day without speaking to and realized this journey had the potential to be so much more than what I was making it. So yah… my life is definitely a lot different than it was twelve months ago, and no matter any of the hard times this year may have thrown my way, the good times surely out-weighed them all.
This year wasn’t solely about school and venturing out on my own, I also got to travel, make memories with my friends, spend quality time with my family, and just live this crazy life I have been blessed with. I know, I’ve done a lot of ranting about myself and my life in this post but I swear I’m almost done – but first I have to get to a few of the highlights this year has brought me. Before I put on my sparkly new years dress and ring in midnight with my family, I’m throwing it back to all of my favorite moments of this year. 2016- you brought laughs and fights, tears and memories, adventures and so so much love. This year I drank way too much coffee, was blessed with the most beautiful nephew, got to see Hamilton TWO times, traveled to multiple cities, ate at least a hundred sushi rolls, finally got a Gilmore Girls revival, took a whole lot of pictures, watched the Gators reach the SEC Championship, took a selfie with Justin Bieber, got to celebrate my sister and best friend’s engagements, changed majors, went to Disney nine different times, helped my boyfriend celebrate his 21st birthday, spent every holiday with my huge family, and truly lived.
I started the year in the Bahamas and will wrap it up from the west coast, in Vegas.I hope and plan to go into this year with my eyes and mind wide open. I want to take every opportunity that comes my way head on and without doubt. I want to actually follow through on some of my resolutions, write my heart out through this blog, do even more traveling, and take even more pictures in 2017. So, here’s my challenge to you and to myself – if you do nothing else in this last day of 2016, simply reflect on all the good things that happened in your life and in the lives of those around you this year. Cherish those memories and those people that consumed your 2016, and I promise I’ll do the same. The year is ending and so a new one begins, let’s do everything in our power to take advantage of that. This year we will be stronger, braver, kinder, wiser, & unstoppable! So here’s to you, 2017 – don’t disappoint us.