I’ve decided to kick off the new year with a personal post, but I will go back to reviews and such within the next week.
To be honest, I can’t believe it’s already here. The New Year. January. The New Beginning. The Fresh Start. The Start Over Because You Really Fucked Up Last Year. It’s here, and it won’t go unnoticed.
Normally, I don’t get too excited for the new year. When I was younger, it used to depress me more than anything because it meant Christmas was over, and I had to wait another WHOLE YEAR until we could put the tree back up again (my mom would usually take the decorations down the day after Christmas). I would spend a few days wallowing in sadness, ring in the new year in my little hometown, and then BAM. IT’S MY BIRFDAY.
I haven’t had a very exciting birthday the last few years. I mean, there were great times with family and friends, those ALWAYS remain important to me, but in regards to getting stoked for a new “age.” Maybe it’s the whole “getting older” thing, or maybe it’s just because your early twenties have their extreme highs and lows, but yeah, twenty-one was cool, twenty-two was boring but okay, and twenty-three…oh my goodness. Twenty-three sucked big time.
You know that line from Blink-182’s “What’s My Age Again?”
It goes something like “nobody likes you when you’re twenty-three.”
Yeah, that line rings true. Twenty-three was awful. Thanks, Mark Hoppus.
I’m looking forward to putting the number twenty-three behind me.
I can recall this time last year, still living on my high from graduating. I had just received my Bachelor’s degree, I was starting a whole new chapter, I was fresh meat on the job market, and I was scared shitless.
Though I’m still kind of fresh meat job-wise, I look back at those feelings and moments now, and I’m like, who the hell was that person? I can remember words spilling out of my mouth to family and friends, how determined I was about everything in my life, and in reality, all I wanted to do was die.
Now, I know that’s a little blunt, but it is the complete truth. I spent a majority of last year trying to regain control of my life, as well as learning who I was as a person. Within the first couple months of 2014, I realized I truly had no idea who I was or what I wanted to do with my life. As I may have expressed before, I’m not one to rest easy when things are not grounded. Especially when it deals with careers and goals. I’m also a perfectionist full of so much anxiety and panic, I could spread it like the plague, and you can imagine what it must have been like for me not to have my life going the way I had “planned.” Not to mention, how it must have been like to be around me.
I was a mess most days. I felt useless, like a dried up pen. I had lost hope in the future. I hated everyone. It was as if Rock Bottom was waiting for me, and then it hit. And it hit again and again and again. I was in a room in hell with only my name on it.
But because all things do, things got better. With the help of family, I realized what was happening to me. I was not the same person I was four years ago, and I didn’t have the same goals as I once had. My relationships with people had changed, including the relationship I had with myself, and it was time I shifted my life and brought happiness forward. I needed to be brought into the light. And I was.
Long story short, 2014 was the worst year of my life, but probably the most intriguing and important year of my life. I know I’m young, I’ve got a lot of years to go, probably some that will be a lot worse than the year of my twenty-third birthday, but as for now, the year 2014 was terrible, but was also about learning and understanding.
I learned to understand myself again–who I was and what I was becoming. I learned what I wanted, and what I felt like I needed to do to make myself better. I learned the importance of self-love, and to never, ever, EVER, let that go.
You gotta love yourself.
I learned the true meaning of family. I appreciated my family and understood the love I share with them more than I ever had in my life. I learned how to better communicate with people, including family and friends. I remembered how to express my feelings again–this was a big one–especially in terms of comprehending my anger, frustration, stress, and anxiety.
And how to conquer those things.
I found a new friend, who played a huge part in getting me away from Rock Bottom. I grew closer to members of my family that I hadn’t been as close with before. I laughed. A lot. I cried. Oh God, did I cry. I think I cried the most.
“It’s okay to not be okay.”
I had a lot of free time, too. But then I had moments where I was so busy, I’d fall asleep the instant I’d lay down. Those were good nights. I had bad nights, too. Nights of no sleep, watching the sun peek through the shades in my window just as I was about to nod off.
I wrote a ton. I started my first novel, as I have shared before. I rediscovered my passion for writing and expressing myself, and I finished another whole notebook full of journal thoughts. I shared my creative writing and received wonderful feedback, which, you know, makes my heart absolutely soar. I started this blog, in effort to be more productive and reach out to other writers and people in this beautiful world.
I loved. Harder than I have loved in a long time. I loved my family and friends with incredible force, I never thought I was capable of loving that much. I loved people I hadn’t met. People I saw everywhere, doing good things for good reasons to be good because good is good. I smiled at people in stores just because I could smile.
And I wanted to smile.
I frowned, too. I fought with people, some I was close with, some I didn’t know. I learned how to be assertive, but in turn, occasionally got it confused with being too aggressive.
I played music to relieve my aggressiveness.
I watched a lot of movies and read a lot of books and studied them. I filled my damn brain. I studied and studied and studied, especially when I made the decision to become a professor. I remembered my ultimate goal, one that I’ve had since I was a little girl–keep learning.
All of these things happened, and most of these things are still happening. When the clock struck midnight, and our world was officially granted the title of 2015, I didn’t suddenly transform. I’m still me. But I’m better.
With that said, I’d like to do a little recap of all things 2014. This is just a random collection of favorites of the year, and also things I want to “take with me” to 2015.
Maybe you’ll find interest or passion in these things, too.
Favorite Books, Plays, or Stories of 2014 Because It Wouldn’t Be Me If I Didn’t Start With Words:
–The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (I read this book multiple times in 2014)
–This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
–Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris
–Coriolanus by William Shakespeare
–William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily A New Hope by Ian Doescher
–Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
-Various Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle
Favorite Movies of 2014
*Note: some of these I had seen before, but they happened to be incredibly important to me during the course of 2014
-The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (all of the Hobbit movies, actually)
-Troop Beverly Hills
-Guardians of the Galaxy
-Dallas Buyers Club
-The Deep Blue Sea
-Into the Woods
-Horrible Bosses 2 (the first movie I saw in theaters by myself; it was actually kind of fun, #TreatYoSelf)
Favorite TV Shows of 2014
*Again, some of these I had watched before 2014, they were just especially important to me
-House of Cards
-Parks and Recreation
-Law & Order: SVU
-The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
-The Blue Planet
-Walking with Dinosaurs
-The Walking Dead
Quotes that Touched My Heart
-“I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay…small acts of kindness and love.” -Gandalf, The Hobbit
-“I’m not sure what I’ll do, but–well, I want to go places and see people. I want my mind to grow. I want to live where things happen on a big scale.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald
-“You were never created to live depressed, defeated, guilty, condemned, ashamed, or unworthy. You were created to be victorious.” -Joel Osteen
-“I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. If you fucking like something, like it.” -Dave Grohl
-“I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.” -Van Gogh
-“Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.” -Tina Fey
-“What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.” -Charles Bukowski
“I want to be around people that do things. I don’t want to be around people anymore that judge or talk about what people do. I want to be around people who dream, and support, and do things.” -Amy Poehler
And probably my absolute favorite by one of the greatest writers our world has ever known (and my personal fave):
“For what it’s worth, it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald
I could continue on with more “favorite” stuff of 2014, but it’s getting late, and I must retire.
I’ve got a lot to do. A lot to accomplish and a lot to look forward to. I’ve got grad schools I’m applying to, I’ve already applied to some. I’m moving this year, I don’t know where yet, but it’s for sure somewhere. I’ve got a great home with some incredibly awesome family. Fuzzy blankets. Cute mugs full of tea. A new violin from my wonderful family. Lots of books to read. Lots of movies to watch. Lots of notes to take for my future as a professor of creative writing and film. A few good friends to see. New friends to meet. People to make happy. People to love. Chocolate cake. And a smile.
In a few days I turn twenty-four.
Mark Hoppus ain’t got nothin’ on me anymore.
That rhymed. Unintentional.