Happy New Year all!

I took a moment of self-awareness today to reflect on how far I’ve come, and where I hope this year will take me. Although I’m not necessarily at the most ideal place in my life right now, I’m grateful still for all of the good things I do have.

I have an apartment with a great roommate, a decent job that provides for all my needs, and I’m always surrounded by people who love me. Compared to my emotional wellbeing 5 years ago, I’m doing great, and I don’t ever want to forget that. Woe unto me if I forget what my rough patches in my recent past were like.

During my meditations today, I remembered with a grimace that my junior and senior years at college were particularly rough times for me. My emotional wellbeing was in terrible shape, in all honesty. I was constantly overwhelmed with school work, trying to recover from my toxic dorm experience, and dealing with unpredictable incidents of petty homophobic students across campus. I was sleeping poorly as a result of everything, and that especially took a direct toll on my physical health. At one point in time, everything that was going on aggravated my acne to the point that somebody thought I had hives.

In hindsight, this manifested itself in a personal refusal to take selfies at any time. It didn’t matter where I was, or who I was with, I never wanted to take a picture of myself. I felt marred by all of the things I’d been going through. This was such a problem that I denied myself plenty of opportunities for good pictures at Dublin, Ireland during the 2016 school trip we did for spring break. While I took plenty of pictures of the gorgeous scenery, I refused, to my regret, the chance for a good Irish selfie.

Here is a before and after to show how much happier I truly am nowadays. The first pick was taken my senior year, and it’s unfortunately clear that I was over-stressed and worn out. This second pic is a fun little selfie I took last night, of me celebrating the end of 2020 with a hot toddy in hand. It’s wonderful and amazing, what five years have done for me! I’ve been able to fully let go of so many things that used to haunt me, and that blissful freedom gave me deeper self-respect/self-awareness.

I have a two-part mantra for myself as we enter 2021.

“I will continue to deeply appreciate the things I have at this current moment in my life, while also allowing myself to gently yearn for an even better future.

I will remember that even though I’m not exactly where I want to be in life right now, where I am is far safer and happier than where I used to be, specifically my years at college.”

My biggest hopes right now are that I find my next best career, and that this is the year I find the right guy. Here’s hoping!

“For surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off.”

(Proverbs 23:18)