So, another year has come.
I keep thinking about what to say, what words would aptly describe the rollercoaster ride that was 2015. Overwhelming? Surprising? Unpredictable? But really, all of these could easily apply to the years prior to this one. Thinking about it now I realize that if I could pick just one word, it would actually be “strengthening.”
2015 was a test of strength. This time last year I was going through depression, coming to terms with a broken view of the world and unsure about which path to tread. The new year frightened me, and I believed that all the good times had already gone by and slipped into the unretrievable past. It was a sorry state to be in. I rarely talked about my feelings except with my closest friends, because I did not want to be a burden and I believed that any show of sadness was a sign of weakness. Turns out, I was wrong.
I got through, living one day at a time. I took on new challenges, went to new places, made new friends. I experienced highs and unfathomable lows. I achieved some cool things. But then I lost a few people. I cried a lot, but I also had plenty of happy moments to make up for it. Life’s cup is overflowing with both laughter and tears, and we are always free to partake of it.
And we shouldn’t be too afraid to drink up on the latter. 2015 proved me wrong – sadness doesn’t equate to weakness. It isn’t wrong to occasionally feel sad, to feel hurt. We’re human, and that’s the other side of life. I remember when I was going through my first heartbreak three years ago, my mom had hugged me and told me it’s OK. She told me the story of how her dad, my lolo, had urged her when she was young to “Get hurt!” And I remember looking at her through teary eyes and thinking, “What is she talking about? Why would I want to get hurt? This is crazy!” Nevertheless, I was grateful. I accepted it, took it all in as she soothed me with words that only a mother could say.
I know now that I was comforted not because she was my mother, but because she was talking to me as a person who also has been hurt and has gone through sadness. Pain is crippling, but it’s also the thing that pokes and prods you into building yourself anew. Through all the wonderful travels, bright surprises, and newfound relationships that 2015 gave me, I was most grateful for the connections made with people over dire and depressing circumstances, whether it’s heartbreak (a recurring theme in 2015), failures, or frustrations. Not to sound gruesome; it’s just I learned a lot from these encounters. They helped me grow and find strength in the most unlikely of places (the most unlikely being myself). I would go as far as to say that these people, my friends, saved me. Vulnerability gives way to compassion, and when compassion blooms, there is happiness – bittersweet though it may be – and hope.
So. I hope in the new year we embark on more adventures, stumble upon amazing places, and make new friendships. I hope we continue to dream and create more beautiful things, because the world is always in need of magic and beauty. But most of all, I pray that we fill our cups with more compassion and kindness. Be there for your family and friends. Laugh with them, but also cry with them if they have to. Be someone’s anchor. Or better yet, be the lighthouse that guides and draws people in from the storm and mist. Give people hugs – they’re free. And shower them with kind and hopeful words you’d love to hear yourself. Stay up with them until 3AM to listen to their woes. Paint with them. Escape to a beach and watch the sunset turn the waves into liquid gold.
Have the time of your life but be willing to give your time to others who need it. Trust in yourself, in the strength you carry, and in your capacity to love. Remember, you can’t change the whole world, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, and you’d do well to start with the ones closest to you. 🙂
Goodbye, 2015! You’ve been grand. To everyone, Happy New Year!