I know that it’s the consensus to say that 2016 was a horrible year and that we’re all glad 2017 is finally here. For me, 2016 was probably the best year of my life while also being the worst year of my adult life.
Let’s start with the bad. I suffered a minor concussion in September of 2015 while playing soccer that almost fully healed, but had another concussion a few months later at the beginning of 2016. This influenced my entire year for 2016. I’m not going to feel sorry for myself or complain, but it really sucked, especially since it was my final year of university and I had to skip out on a lot of things and always be careful with my head. I also had to back out of an amazing internship for the summer of 2016 in order to rest and heal. To be honest, I’m still having post-concussion symptoms and am only starting to get back into exercising as much as I would like to- I prefer to run, and it’s been difficult for me to put a hold on running and exercising strenuously. I also couldn’t look for work in my field or do anything in general that could aggravate my concussion, and so with this setback came weight gain, feeling hopeless, frustrated, scared, and being really upset (I’m not going to say depressed because I know that depression is a serious thing). My concussion made finishing my last semester at university a challenge, but I managed to come through with one of my top semesters GPA-wise (thank goodness for electives, am I right?). I’m still healing from the concussion a year ago, but I think everything happens for a reason and we are not given anything we cannot handle.
With my concussion, I was also able to find out who my real friends are. I’m at a point in my life where I have lost friends that I thought I would be friends with for the rest of my life, and I’m okay with that. I’ve learned how to let people go because I know what I deserve out of a relationship. I realized who my friends at university were, because they were the ones that would let me spend a week in their living room or little dorm room with no questions asked because my landlords kept stomping above me upstairs and I couldn’t sleep in past 7 a.m. They were the ones that picked me up and drove me to get groceries or to class because I was too anxious to drive. They were the ones that would keep me company and just hangout with me, instead of making excuses and saying they needed to study for an exam that was two weeks away. I learned that, although some people are shitty as friends and may not treat you how you want to be treated and live up to expectations you set, they aren’t bad people and they didn’t do anything wrong. They can still be in your life with no hard feelings, but it’s good to recognize who you are going to put energy into a relationship with, and who isn’t worth it for a deep friendship but are great people to hangout with once in a while.
2016 was the best year of my life. I travelled outside of North America for the first time in 20 years, and the first time alone. I can still remember how I felt leaving to Costa Rica, and how amazed I was stepping outside of the airport into the humid air, hearing the frantic Spanish voices around me. I travelled to the Philippines and got to meet family I haven’t met before and meet the family I haven’t seen in 20 years as an adult. 2016 was the biggest year for international travel for me in my life so far. I was also able to go to L.A., Alaska and Seattle, Tofino, Calgary, Victoria, and Vancouver. I overcame (for the most part) germaphobia, read 23 books, really increased my fluency in Spanish, purchased my own DSLR camera, learned who my real friends are, met amazing people during my travels, obtained my TESL certification to teach English abroad, received a scholarship that I am proud of, and graduated university.
So cheers to you 2016, you were the best and worst year of my life, but I wouldn’t change a thing.