I always think about how cliche it is to talk about how much I’ve “changed” in a year.
Every time I try to reflect, I measure it in terms of change. What have I started doing more of, and what have I stopped doing? Have a shifted my views, or my principles? Do people really even change at all?
And as much as I hate reflecting on the year measuring it in change, that is the only way I can sum up 2016.
Thinking back to January feels like looking into another life time. It seems to me that I could not possibly be the person I was in January, because I don’t recognize her anymore.
For one thing, I have become so fiercely independent this year. My second semester of my freshman year was full of many things, but mostly, loneliness. I was so unsure as to where I stood I didn’t know how to be content with being myself. I measured my happiness by how much I was hanging out with friends, and staying in and reading seemed like a waste of time, a loss. I didn’t like spending time by myself because I didn’t understand myself. I wasn’t content with being alone because I didn’t think thats what was right for me.
Over the summer, I spent 2 months living on my own. I ate alone, shopped alone, went to summer classes alone, went to the beach alone. And I loved it. I reveled in the time I got to spend alone with myself, and I taught myself to be my own best friend. I learned to measure my happiness by what I thought, felt, and wanted, rather than being influenced by those around me.
Now, staying in on a friday night with a book or netflix doesn’t seem like a loss, but more of a time to re-connect with myself. It’s my way of treating myself; a bit of R ’n R.
I’m currently sitting in the Auckland Airport, passing time before my flight to Perth. It seems almost fitting that traveling home alone is one of my ways of ending this year.
Coming into college I ended up in the business school, originally because I believed I wasn’t really good at or passionate about anything else. This year, I learned what it means to be an activist, and how everyone’s activism looks different. My activism, I have decided, is to get my Business degree, and go to law school, so I can be on the front lines and fight for those who can’t.
A year ago, I would have shirked at the idea of law school. I couldn’t believe wanted to do more school, but once the idea took hold it’s been hard to shake. I ordered myself an LSAT test prep book for Christmas, and I am so excited to continue to learn, even after my undergrad degree ends.
This year, I really got in touch with my creativity. I started journaling, and blogging, doodling and taking more pictures. I started going on drives to places I hadn’t been, and finding places to get lost in.
Finding this creativity has made me so much happier. It has given me a place for all the jumbled thoughts in my mind to find peace, and to fit in place. It has allowed me to connect, and be more open and honest.
This year, I connected with my inner activist. I learned more about issues I hadn’t even thought about or understood, and became involved in as many ways as I could.
One of my proudest accomplishments of this year was the Love Trumps Hate Rally that I organized in Novemeber. After a difficult election cycle, I saw the rally as a culmination of many things. It was an expression of anger, but also of unity. It was a way to say that I, and all the attendees, will not be silenced, and will stand in line with what is right. I wrote a whole post on this, so I won’t drone on too long here.
Finally, this month also marks a full year of being meat free. This is an accomplishment I’m so happy about, and I feel has changed me for the better. I can appreciate nature so much more, knowing I am living a life without cruelty. I am more compassionate, and more in tune with so many other social issues than I ever was before. I have encouraged others (although sometimes too forcefully) to think about their actions.
This month also marks the 6 month mark of my transition to veganism, but I will have a whole lot more to say on that in a separate post.
To say this year was transformative would be an understatement. I guess, despite my protests, I really did ‘change’ quiet a lot this year. Ending this year on a high note, I can’t wait to see what things will come my way in 2017.