2014 was an interesting year for me. I hit a lot of highs and lows; in some ways it was the best year of my life, and in other ways, the worst. But in the end, one this is clear. I made this year about me. While I've never been one to really worry about other peoples' opinions, I finally shook off other peoples' influences over me and I focused on myself. I focused on what I wanted to do, who I wanted to be, and didn't let anything or anyone get in my way. I know I said this about last year, but this year was a year of huge personal growth for me.
I started off the year not so great, then it got bad - mostly with the exhaustion that finishing college and simultaneously being in graduate school left behind, before I finally stepped back and focused on myself for a few months before starting again. Spring semester was one of the most mentally trying few months of my life; I was pushed to the limit mentally and emotionally. I nearly thought I wouldn't be able to finish the semester and I also had more mental breakdowns that anyone should have over a three month period. Thanks to sleepless nights, endless papers, my senior thesis, and far more than a normal person should juggle. I actually remember when my last paper was handed in, my friends dragged me out for celebratory drinks, and I had approximately one glass of wine before I crashed and nearly fell asleep on the way back home. Yeah, that was interesting.
But it all picked up in the summer, when I finally went back to Europe for 5 weeks of travelling and unwinding. I was absolutely devastated when I couldn't stay in Europe after my trip in 2013. I was absolutely determined to go back the next summer, and was not about to let anything get in my way. I was so proud of accomplishing my one big goal of going back to Europe after saving up from the day I stepped back into the US in the summer of 2013. It was the happiest time of my life. Two weeks in Barcelona, Spain, one week on the coast of Spain, and finally, in Germany. Experiencing Spain and Germany in the summer was absolutely wonderful. I found my personal paradise (Hello, Costa Brava!) and I got a glimpse of living in my favorite city in the world would be like. I met some amazing people and reconnected with friends from the year before (you all know who you are!)
Those 5 weeks were a chance for me to relax, recharge, and reflect. After a tough few months, I just needed to get away from all the craziness here and take some time for myself. I can safely say that I did absolutely nothing. I explored and ate and drank, but I also did a lot of sleeping on beaches, reading in parks, and just walking around. I was brave and I stayed to myself. I was adventurous, but also completely lazy. I learned from others, and most importantly, I learned about myself.
I learned that I can indeed fly to a country with absolutely no plans and still have a fulfilling trip. I learned that despite popular belief, I actually do know how to relax and spend an afternoon at the park with a good book and not get distracted. I learned to live in a different way than I do here, and saw a life I could live in Berlin so clearly that I almost couldn't bring myself to leave again.
It's indescribable how those 5 weeks changed me. In that time, I learned to believe that my future was how I was going to make it. I can control my decisions, and chase my dreams, and build my future the way I want it to be. With that in mind, I landed an incredible internship fr the fall semester, and went back to classes with refreshed and ready to kill it.
While I was going through my photos for the year, I realized that there are nearly no photos taken of me this entire year, and it perfectly reflects how I view this year. It was a year not about me, and at the same time, completely about me. I purposely let myself blend into the background so that people wouldn't focus on me, but rather so I could focus on examining my surrounding and focus on myself. I can also look back and be happy knowing that I have great friends and a great family. The nights in the library, cooking adventures, dealing with new challenges, and the countless late nights would not have been possible with some great friends to be with my every step of the way.
So now that I've spent an entire year learning about myself, what's next for 2015?
I want to hold on to my adventurous/calm/peaceful/free spirit of this summer, and embrace it when things get tough again, as they already have with school. I want to live this next year with clarity. Clarity about what I'm capable of and clarity that it's okay to not know what is in my future. As I finish school and my job hunt begins, I'm terrified and excited, as many people are. I'm terrified to end my safety net of school and study, and I'm just as excited to start my life. My goals and resolutions will be coming in a separate post, but for now, let's look at some highlights.
Here's to 2015.