Today marks the last day of everyone’s worst year, 2020. It has undoubtedly been a shit-show from start to finish. The West Coast on fire — check, civil unrest boiling over in every state — check, Covid-19 flipping life as we know it upside down — check, and an election blooming more hatred then any predecessor before — double check.
But weirdly enough, through all of the madness and sadness it’s also been a year of accomplishment and growth for myself.
I could rattle off a quick list of things I’m grateful for this year: my family being in good health despite Covid, gaining a small group of true friends, taking in a stray cat that’s become an unexpected companion — seriously unexpected because I hate cats, learning to control my anxiety and depression without medication, gaining self-confidence, having a See’s Candies within a few miles of my apartment, and so on.
But what I’m most thankful for this year, and what I’ve worked so relentlessly hard for, is my independence. I never let myself forget what I’ve earned. Despite everyday stresses it still makes me smile.
Taking a look back, 2018 was the worst year of my life. For full details you can trudge your way through previous posts but to summarize, it started with a sociopathic-abusive relationship, sprinkle in some crippling quarter-life depression and severe financial stress, and end with a mental break that landed me in a not-so-luxurious private suite in a state-run psychiatric facility — yeah… that bad.
Then 2019 was a year of rebuilding myself, my sanity, and the fragile pieces of my dignity. I left most of my physical belongings behind in a rush to exit the former life and start anew. I packed what I could fit in my car and hit the road. Ergo, I literally rebuilt my life with absolutely nothing.
I moved in with my mom, which was a moment of pure desperation and pretty damaging to my ego. But looking back now, I was so lucky to have that support in my life. I worked my ass off to finish my degree as a full-time student while also working an internship just to get my foot in the door.
Throughout this period I worked on taking care of myself. I learned to mitigate my depression through building and sticking to a daily routine, exercising, finally opening up and talking, and getting myself back out there with friends and dating.
My chronic anxiety was easier to get under control without the financial stress. But the biggest game changer was the dose of perspective I got from being hospitalized in a psychiatric facility. Every time I was met with a new stress inducing situation it felt almost completely insignificant when compared to my former reaction of feeling immediate anxiety symptoms. Who would’ve guessed that being traumatized by the crazy, heartbreaking, terrifying experience of being involuntarily locked up in a loony bin would actually cure my anxiety…
With all of this, I started to build myself a new life. My hustle paid off before the end of the year when I was recruited into my first “big girl” job.
For the first time in my entire life I was able to afford my very own place without roommates or a significant other. I moved into an adorable apartment in a downtown, historic neighborhood full of savvy cocktail bars, overpriced cafes, hipster-filled breweries and shops with outrageously overpriced white tees. I was beyond satisfied to be paying all of my bills and living my own life.
That satisfaction led to 2020, a chance to regain much needed self-respect and self-love. I’ve spent this year enjoying my life, spending time with friends and loved ones. I quickly worked my way into a better position with a better company and continue to grind with far less stress. I still stick to my daily routine and I’m not afraid to talk about things I need support with.
Of course this year was filled with a lot of less-than-enjoyable lock-down and quarantine time, concerned for loved ones getting sick, watching way too much Netflix, and eating way too many boredom calories. But hopefully this next year will bring some much needed stress relief and improvement for the country and the world. All you can do is your part. Improve your own little world and keep your head up baby.
Happy New Years my loves and cheers to 2021!
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