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My Farewell Letter to 2022

What I learned through the highs and lows of the past year

By Skylar CallahanPublished about a year ago Updated about a year ago 8 min read
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My Farewell Letter to 2022
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

This year honestly started out less than phenomenal for me. Like, way less than phenomenal. I tested positive for Covid-19 on Christmas of 2021, and had to subsequently cancel the surprise birthday trip to North Carolina I had planned for my boyfriend’s New Year’s Eve birthday. No trip, no seeing my boyfriend on his birthday, and no New Year’s kiss. Sufficient to say, I wasn’t feeling all to excited about what 2022 had in store.

However, 2022 was a year of so many firsts for me. It just may have been one of the best years I have ever had, despite many new and uncertain roadblocks I faced. Looking back on the year, I am amazed and so grateful by how much my life and my worldview have changed. Let’s go on a journey of the 3 biggest lessons every pitfall and accomplishment has taught me this year.

1. Give grace where grace is needed.

In early February, I was diagnosed with endometriosis after having been off birth control for the first time since I was sixteen years old. I was in pain constantly.

My doctor laid out the options for me: get back on birth control, which had been, from what I could tell, the main cause of my depression and mood swings for so many years, hence why I had renounced it, or potentially risky surgery: a temporary fix that would not cure the endometriosis, but would hopefully stave off the symptoms for a couple years. I felt so hopeless. I hated my options, but they were all I had.

I chose the birth control route but opted for a different kind than I had previously used, deciding that since I am young and very much want to get pregnant and have kids someday, I would stay away from the surgery route for now.

My journey with endometriosis is far from over, as almost a year later I am still trying to figure out how to best manage it, but my relationship with my body has changed entirely. I went from hating it at the start of the year, just wishing it would work properly, to viewing it as something that is never going to be perfect, but that deserves to be cared for with kindness and compassion.

I listen to my body now instead of ignoring its needs in the hopes that my problems will go away. I still feel defeated sometimes, I still feel low now and then, but changing my attitude and realizing my body is not against me, but we are, in fact, a team, has been a game changer for my happiness and health.

So, please, no matter what you’re battling, remember to give grace where grace is needed.

*If you would like to learn more about endometriosis, below is the link to a resource guide provided by the Endometriosis Association:

2. It’s okay to slow down and take your time in a world where everyone is rushing to the finish line.

By LOGAN WEAVER | @LGNWVR on Unsplash

At the end of April, 2022, I graduated from college! This was definitely a highlight of my year, even though I was sick as a dog for it (I seem to get sick at the worst possible times, huh?).

Anyway, while the rest of my friends were starting graduate school or being interviewed for the jobs they actually wanted, I was stuck with my indecision.

See, I want to be a veterinarian which requires four years of undergraduate school to obtain your bachelor’s degree, and then four more years of Veterinary School. And vet school is VERY competitive to get accepted to. With only 33 accredited vet schools in the country, you have to be the best of the best to be accepted. Unfortunately, I was not. At least not in the U.S. anyway.

I did, however, get accepted to a U.S. accredited school that just happens to be on the small island of Grenada in the Caribbean. I had been accepted to begin school the following August, meaning I had just a few short months to move my entire life – including my cat – to an entirely new country away from my friends, family, boyfriend, and everything I had ever known.

Now, I would like to put it out there that at this point in my life I had never even been out of the country, and I had never lived farther than an hour and a half away from my family. To tell you the thought of this was daunting would be an understatement.

Panicked and unsure, I reached out to an admissions officer at the University and asked about my options. She was so kind and told me that due to the Covid-19 pandemic still raging on, they had been extending newly accepted students the option to defer their start date to the following year.

Ultimately, I decided that this would be best for me, as I had just finished school and felt I wasn’t mentally prepared to make that kind of leap just yet. I made this decision despite the fact that I saw everyone around moving to new and better things and getting their careers started. I struggled with the fact that it felt like I was putting my life on hold, my career on hold. It turned out I was doing the exact opposite.

Giving myself this space and time before jumping into the most difficult, rigorous challenge of my life was the best thing I could have done. I was able to travel outside the country, not one, but TWICE! I was able to really cultivate and grow my relationships with my friends, family members, and wonderful partner, offering me a much more stable foundation for when I am eventually on my own in a few months. And most importantly, I have been able to mentally prepare myself for this huge life change, and actively create new self-care habits to ensure I have everything I need to succeed at this upcoming venture.

I have never been the risk-taking type, the type to make huge decisions and immediately jump all in. I need time to process, space to make careful, calculated decisions. In a society that constantly tells us we have to jump NOW or we’ll miss our chance, this is oftentimes an instinct I have wanted to push away. But, sometimes, taking the time you need without feeling ashamed for it gives you the space to see opportunities you didn’t even realize were there.

3. No one is going to start living your life for you unless you do.

The view from our little AirB&B in Sorrento, Italy

I have always wanted to travel and explore the world. Other cultures fascinate me and I am endlessly amazed by the beautiful and varied landscapes of our planet.

Around April 2022, I was talking yet again to my boyfriend about how I wished I could travel to Italy. He looked over at me and said “let’s do it, then. Let’s go in September during shoulder season when it’s cheaper.”

I was baffled. You don’t just travel to Italy. Surely that was only for rich people. But the more I thought about it the more I realized, we were both working full-time, and while we don’t make much money we still had several months to save, not to mention my boyfriend is kind of the king of finding great deals and figuring out how to do everything as cheap as possible (maybe I should write a blog about him). And, I figured if I was deferring school before being bogged down by rigorous coursework while making no money for the next four years, this was the time for me to travel. This was the year that I would actually have the time for it.

So, we leapt. In September, we took an 11-day trip to not just Italy, but Ireland too, for just over $1,500 a person (write in the comments if you want to know how we did it, because I didn’t believe it at first either).

Not only that, but I then went on my very first cruise and explored the Dominican Republic.

And while yes, all of this together did cost a good chunk of money, especially coming from a new college grad, I cannot stress just how worth every penny it was.

We stood on the edge of the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, ate the best pasta of my life in Sorrento, learned how to cook our own pasta in a cooking class and Rome, and stumbled upon an Italian Speakeasy at midnight while wandering through the cobblestoned streets. I literally felt like I was living in a romance novel.

Moral of the story, find a way to DO THE DAMN THING. Even if it’s going to take years to save or plan or whatever the case may be, START NOW because you are the only one who’s going to make it happen for you.

Homemade pasta I made myself in a cooking class in Rome!

So, I would like to thank you, 2022, for everything you have taught me and all the opportunities you have afforded me. I look forward to venturing into 2023 as the best version of myself. There will be more challenges to come, I'm sure, but also more incredible experiences, and I feel more prepared than ever to face what may come with renewed openness and patience. See you next year!

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About the Creator

Skylar Callahan

Hoping I can bring a little joy, fun, and escape to my readers. The genres of my writing are vast, as I am still getting to know myself as a writer. Thank you for your support! Happy reading!

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