The Most Chaotic Year of My Life Helped Me Become 'Me' Again

by Anne Reboa 9 months ago in happiness

So long, 2018.

The Most Chaotic Year of My Life Helped Me Become 'Me' Again

2018—I literally started my year with a 48 hour stomach bug. Looking back on the year I had, I find symbolism in my 48 hours of vomiting (not to be crude, just telling it how it is). My year was an emotional hell, with what seemed to be one problem after another, losing people from my life I did not imagine ever losing and even losing a part of myself I had become so comfortable with. Much like throwing up does for your body, 2018 violently projected all toxic and bad things out of my life.

I mean no disrespect to others so I will describe my year very vaguely. Returning for spring semester, I came back to find my house frozen, literally frozen. It was unlivable for the week I had come back up to work and required days of plumbers thawing, replacing and redoing the home’s pipes. Was this the end of that issue? No. Months followed of torment between us and our landlords which was constant. Consistent and threatening phone calls, emails, and even letters sent to the house. School in itself is overwhelming, and adding in the constant fear of not being able to live where you are or having to move in the middle of a semester can be quite nerve wracking. During the issue, I went through an extreme end to a relationship currently in my life. The final chapter of that book did not happen as something I would never even be able to dream up of happening, but did nonetheless. Just as the issues with the house cleared, a plethora of new ones ensued with someone I imagined would play a significant role in my life for a very long time. Avoiding specifics, I will leave it saying it began with an explosive, boundary crossing argument. There had been drama going into 2018 with this person, which I quickly wrote off because no relationship goes without having its issues, whether they are warranted or not. This brings us to the summer of this year.

A very close family member of mine began to get sick and was soon diagnosed with stage four cancer. I handle my issues privately, and while I make sure to let my friends know of things going on in my life, I have always preferred to process and cope behind closed doors. I received so much love from friends of mine I had more recently reconnected with, and if it weren’t for them I don’t know how I would’ve gone through watching a family member slowly pass away without completely falling to pieces.

The same relationship with the explosive fight had seemed to be working its way back to normal, or so I thought. I know after boundaries of mine were crossed I had to more actively work at forgiving this person, but knew I did not want our relationship with one another to fail completely so I worked at it. This was not reciprocated, and while I almost always brush things off, I couldn’t handle anymore emotional distress with a family member being so sick. The same love and support I was receiving from other people in my life is what I desperately needed from this person. Given that we had kept such a strong and close relationship over the past several years, I needed this person to be more present (not necessarily physically) so that I had someone I felt comfortable telling all the horrible things to, to be emotionally raw with. While support was shown from them towards the end, problems continued to ensue past the point of brushing off any longer. Again, this was another end to a relationship I did not expect in how it happened or when.

There were lessons I learned from my family members unfortunate passing. Ultimately, you never know when you’re going to leave this earth, and life is way too precious to be carrying around negative feelings. I let go of hurt from losing these relationships and instead viewed this as a benefit to my life. Not everything or everyone in your life is meant to be there forever, we served our purposes to one another and it was time to move on. There is no benefit on holding onto something that fails to bring anything but positivity or perspective to your life.

I’ve also learned people come from all different walks of life, and you can’t be too disappointed when people don’t show you the same love, respect, or dignity you show them.

Additionally, you have to let go of things you can’t control. You’re a human, you can control what you do, but very little of what happens to you. Accepting that life will never be perfect and there is always another hurdle waiting around the corner allows you to take each shortcoming or unfortunate event as they come and recover from it. Getting stuck on something negative only lets it effect you for a longer amount of time, and the sooner you move past it, the sooner you learn from it.

Lastly, I’ve learned to focus my attention on things that make me happy or things I know will benefit my future. I certainly do not enjoy studying or doing coursework, but I know I have to get it done to succeed in my future. And the quicker I get my work out of the way, the sooner I can get back to doing things I enjoy like spending time with my friends, going to the gym, or binge watch something on Netflix. Life never guarantees happiness, it’s something you have to create, and learning how to balance what makes you happy now with what will make you happy later allows you to only foster positive things.

I am going into 2019 with a new outlook on life, with toxicity behind me, and with so much hope for my future self. I have so many goals I am close to reaching, and every day see myself becoming the woman I have been working so hard to be. For the first time in years I feel like my authentic self, and have the confidence I need to provide myself with the best life possible. I look back in 2018 and feel grateful for my experiences and where it has brought me today. I see how much genuine love I have from friends and family, and look forward to a new year full of positive vibes, feelings and memories with some amazing people.

As we go into 2019, reflect on your 2018. Are you carrying negative emotions in 2019? How can you make yourself happier? Healthier? How would you like to grow as a person to make the quality of your life better? Take your shortcomings and find something positive in them. A new year is a new start and there’s no reason you can’t improve yourself this year!

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Anne Reboa

avid lover of coffee, pups, and all things New Jersey

See all posts by Anne Reboa