It is currently new years day on a gloomy Sunday morning and as I sit here curing one of many dreadful hangovers with a box of sugar cookies, a shot of coffee and a bottle of aspirin I can’t help but reminisce over this past year. The year of 2016 and a story that is full of tears, strength and hope. The story that has really shaped me for the new year ahead and one that has me feeling thankful that it is finally over.
Yesterday on the eve of the new year as I sat by the waters at Manly wharf, sharing one last drink with my adoptive family, I was asked about my year and the highlights that had come along with it. My response was simple with no thought needed – 2016 can get lost and never come back. They all continued to sit there in a state of shock, baffled at the thought of me admitting that my year was a disaster, which I fully well knew it was. Sure there were happy and blissful moments as there always is in every year we experience, but it wasn’t enough to make up for what I had to endure. This year I had shed a lot of tears, more than anyone should ever have to in a year. The tears I had left in 2016 was enough to start a tsunami here in Oz. So yes, I couldn’t be happier leaving this past year behind me and for good. Nonetheless my adoptive father continued to stare at me with disbelief and said I was forgetting the biggest highlight of my entire year. I had to sit there for a moment before asking what that exactly was. What he was about to tell me I have heard many times before and still to this day don’t fully appreciate what I had done.
This is where my story begins.
It’s December 31st, 2015 and as I stand on the freezing streets of Chicago, waiting to ring in the new year, I couldn’t help but reflect back on my year and all the disasters that came along with it. I decided that I was going to make 2016 my year and began to imagine all the great things that were yet to come. I was ecstatic to be entering a whole new year full of endless opportunities and experiences. I mean how could it not be? The year kicked off with me landing a new job at one of my dream companies and a relationship I finally found myself happy to be in. The first few weeks were pure happiness and I couldn’t help but think that I finally had it all. Needless to say 2016 began to take a turn for the worst and was refusing to let this be my year.
As January came to an end so did my hopeful relationship, with my job becoming anything but a dream. I was left feeling completely broken inside and crying every night for the next three months over everything that had just happened. I was faced with depression and anxiety, something I had carried with me for what seemed like an eternity. I was busy trying to hold myself together all while trying to console others around me who were also going through issues of their own. It wasn’t the easiest task, but I began to discover creative outlets where I could express myself and put my energy into things that I loved doing. So with that I started a blog about the single life and went to college studying the ins and outs of personal styling. It was this that kept me going, but it wasn’t enough for me to say that I was happy and the only way I knew how to change my state of mind was to make a drastic change in my life.
Come June I had quit my job, packed up my things and moved my life to the other side of the world to a place called Oz. The thought of leaving home was exhilarating, I felt that I could really make something of myself and become happy once again. Leading up to this found new adventure of mine though was anything but rainbows and butterflies. Before leaving everything behind my family and I had to say one last heartfelt goodbye of our own. After many years of endless butt scratching, bear hugs and pain in the butt barking we finally had to say goodbye to such a loving companion. He was someone who had meant the world to us, but as with anything in life we find the strength to move on and to continue to carry those profound memories with us wherever we go. I continued to carry these memories with me to Australia and even though it wasn’t the greatest start to the journey I knew I could turn it around because 2016 was going to be my year. I was determined.
Fast forward to August, two months after living in a place I had no idea about, I was still jobless, broke and shedding tears over my past mistakes. With everything that had happened I still refused to give up the optimistic dream. The dream of fashion, traveling and everything else in between. Before I knew it I had managed to land three jobs; two unpaid internships in the line of fashion and one being a waitress at a local Mexican restaurant to help make ends meet. I was smiling once again, relieved that things were finally starting to look up…or so I had hoped.
Weeks later I found myself to be completely broke with an internship that began to cost me more money than I had and being abused at a work place where I had held such high hopes for. I was left feeling miserable, helpless and depressed with the constant feeling of hitting rock bottom in all things. So with that I quit my job, left my internships and found a new job elsewhere. One that had presented itself with a new set of challenges and obstacles to face, but has allowed me to meet such incredible people along the way.
After many long and agonizing months here in Australia I continue to fight everyday for the optimistic dream. It is with this thought and courage that I am reminded time and time again that I should be proud of what I have accomplished and that what I had done most people can never bring themselves to do. What I did was brave, bold and an amazing experience that I will carry on with me for a lifetime. I may not fully understand it now or bring myself to appreciate it, but I am thankful for the support, love and courage I have received from it.
So with 2016 finally over and buried in the past I am thrilled to begin this new chapter of my life, understanding that life is a thing that can never be planned. We must learn to live each day being thankful for what we have and to never stop dreaming of what could be.
‘Cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is giving a peace sign