It feels like the older you get, the faster the years go by. I read something once that explained why. If we think of years as the fractions of our lives then, as we get older (and thus live more years), those fractions get smaller and smaller. So when you're six years old, a year is a whole sixth of your life. But when you're twenty years old, a year is only a twentieth of your life, which is why it feels so small or fast. I'm not sure if this makes sense to anyone else, but it sorta rocked my world and I've told tons of people about this and it hasn't struck anyone the same way it did me. I don't know. Whatever.
Bottom line: this year went by way too fast.
I remember everyone at the end of last year being all "2016 suuUuucked, let's make 2017 the dooOOoOpestTtt!!!!!" and, if we're being honest, I was secretly in the same boat. I'm a relatively pessimistic person, but I'm rarely outwardly negative (I'm a positive pessimist, which sounds paradoxical but we'll touch on that sometime in the future. Maybe). So basically I was ready for 2016 to be over but it's not like I was letting all of Twitter know. I was just kind of shooting prayers up to God asking Him to make 2017 a little less super duper terrible. And, in a way, He did. But millennials believe otherwise. I'm seeing the same sort of stuff going around now at the end of this year. Now don't get me wrong, I was definitely present when certain chunks of the year were going to crap and I went through a lot of personal hardships too. However, I want to choose to look at it differently.
Instead of looking at this year in a general sense of 'better' or 'worse' than the last, I think I'd rather look at it as a year of growth. I guess you could look at any year in history as a year of growth so it's not like I'm introducing this as some brand new idea, just more of an alternative option.
The world endured a lot of trauma this year. The Manchester attack, the floods in Puerto Rico, and the fires in Southern California are just a few of many. But if there were any positive to come out of all of these negatives, it's that they taught us to band together. Even just scrolling through my Twitter feed proved that to me. People were helping locate those who got lost in the Manchester attack, and people from all walks of life both donated and performed in an effort to aid those who were affected. The floods in Puerto Rico were massively overlooked by mainstream media, but we managed to get the word out in other ways and donate over $30 million. Granted, Puerto Rico could stand to receive ten times that for all the damage Hurricane Maria did, but I don't know I just think I'd prefer to look at it from a more positive perspective.
None of this means we're done helping. None of this means that these problems are solved or over. None of this means that we did all we could do. It just means we did more than nothing. We cared and we outstretched our hands to our brothers and sisters and we did our best to help. And that alone I think is pretty great.
I'm not trying to say we should pat ourselves on the back, wipes our hands clean, and walk away proudly thinking that we saved the day. We are very far from being able to do that in good conscience. I'm only saying that we did something. We managed to help in some way. And that is something we shouldn't forget when we look back at this last year.
There are probably a lot of people out there who had a worse year than you. And there are probably a lot of people out there who had a better year than you. But what standards are we measuring that by? Depending on what lens I'm looking through, I could deem 2017 one of the best years of my life or one of the worst years of my life, but why bother looking at it that way at all? Why not acknowledge all the bad things that happened to you this year and all the good things that happened to you this year and let it all come together to form a magnificent picture of growth that each and every one of us experienced? Bad things happened to everyone and good things happened to everyone, but we all managed to live through the same 365 days and make it out at the end. Maybe we're a little scuffed up and maybe kinda worn out, but we made it.
So let's be grateful for that fact and that fact alone, and welcome the new year with open (and maybe slightly guarded) arms. Instead of focusing on making 2018 the best year of your life or whatever, focus on making it another year of growth. Another year of love. Another year of living, in whatever way that means for you.
Happy New Year.
things that happened to me in 2017 (in no particular order)
- finished my freshman year of college
- paid for my freshman year of college
- beat teen pregnancy (turned 20)
- traveled up the west coast with my family
- lost a friend to a freak accident
- faced a lot of rejection
- struggled with anxiety
- got to be a part of new projects that I'm really proud of
- fell in love
- did a lot of yoga
- started a blog