Happy New Year! As 2018 wound down yesterday I realized I still hadn’t posted about my sophomore fall semester and thought this would be a great time to catch everyone up and reflect on the year more broadly.
Let me start with this: I am so incredibly blessed. This year has had its ups and downs, but through it all I have recognized and leaned on my wonderful support system. My family is supportive, loving, and fun. My friends often comment on how much they love and feel comfortable around my family, and I think that is a testament to my parents’ selfless willingness to include others and treat everyone like family.
My friends, both from high school and college, get me. It is so important to me to invest in relationships where both people are giving their love and time. My phrase for the year was “It’s a two way street.” I used this to remind myself that it is not my sole responsibility to maintain friendships. It has been a slow and often difficult process to come to the realization that some of my relationships were causing me more stress than they were worth because the other person wasn’t putting in effort. I made it a goal of 2018, and will continue to make it a goal, to cut out these unequal relationships, or to take steps to try and even them out. As someone who has been taught to keep up and prioritize my relationships with others, and as someone who instinctually works very hard to stay in touch with those I love, this has been a difficult, but beneficial lesson.
I have grown closer to many of my college friends and know I will have friends for life even after our time at Elon is over. While it is fun to have friends from all over the country, it makes breaks away from school that much harder because I can’t see my fellow phoenix. I have also realized, during this break in particular, that there will always be some disconnect between me and my high school friends because, since they almost all go to the same school, they have shared experiences I will never understand. This is natural and no one’s fault, but it has caused me to feel left out of conversations and realize I am moving in a very different direction from many of my friends. I am very thankful for the high school friends I do keep in touch with though, and my goal for this year is to get some of them to come visit me. (No one has yet, which is honestly a little annoying and surprising. Who wouldn’t want to come to NC?) Another goal for this year is to visit more of my college friends in their hometowns so I can see more of the country!
Personally, this has been a year of growth. I feel like I reside in that weird and confusing space between teen and adult, and learning how to navigate this space has brought me both joy and frustration. My roommates and I have our own apartment and I have two jobs on top of being a full time (sometimes it feels like more than full time) student. This has presented me with a host of new lessons, like how to grocery shop for one (a difficult challenge when you come from a family of 5), manage a more complicated schedule, have more financial responsibility, and find time for myself amongst all my other commitments. I’m still learning how to do all of these things, but have gotten better with time.
On the teen side of the spectrum, I am still working on navigating family time, where I am once again a daughter and sister that has to keep others informed of my schedule and my comings and goings. All college students experience this transition and I’m not sure if anyone ever figures it out completely. I have also had to accept that things at home change and continue on without me, and I don’t have to have knowledge or control of any of these changes. Case in point: a new subdivision is slowly emerging on the old golf course where my brothers and friends and I used to sled, walk our dogs, explore the creek, and sell lemonade to golfers. The other day, I drove down the new street that paved over these important memories of my childhood and sobbed because I was overwhelmed by the idea that I can never tromp across the hills with a sled and a dog again. This is a small example, but it exemplifies my mixed feelings about growing up, and my staunch dislike of change, specifically change not approved by me.
This year also brought me moments of complete happiness. From exploring new parts of NC with friends, to having quality family time, to watching both of my brothers succeed and forge their own paths, I enjoyed so many aspects of 2018 (many will be explained further in my semester update). I realized that the most important part of a good moment is the people in it, not the plans around it. I learned to care less about what others think, proactively reflect on, recognize, and accept my flaws, and take time to slow down and enjoy the present instead of stressing about what’s next.
Since this post has turned into a lengthy 2018 reflection and I will need to post about my semester separately, I’ll end it here with my New Year’s resolutions. Some are the same as last year, others have been added, but my first resolution is to put these goals somewhere I can see them daily and to work hard toward implementing them in my life. 2019, you have big shoes to fill and I can’t wait to see what’s in store!
- find a church home at school, invest in reading the Bible on my own, pray more
- stay positive and stress less
- enjoy the present
- don’t procrastinate
- don’t judge others as much
- be happier with what I have, stop comparing myself to others
- use my phone less, turn it off for a portion of everyday (I can survive without it)
- read more books outside of school (finish team of rivals)
- recognize unhealthy relationships, stay in positive ones
- take control of my life by giving up some control
- take more time for self improvement and rest
I hope everyone has a happy and healthy 2019, full of growth, family, friends, and love!