Every year, I try to come up with a year-ender post to culminate everything that had happened to me in the past 365 days. It’s usually just a list of the year’s highlights, as well as some of the things that I’ve been thankful for. I’ve been meaning to do the same thing for 2017, but I realized that compared to the ones that I did in the past where it felt so easy to come up with, this year’s post was definitely something else. Perhaps it was because I never felt the holidays coming in, or perhaps because I was in such an emotional state that I couldn’t care less that the year was over, but I’m still doing this anyway, to find closure and to finally let go of the bad juju that 2017 has brought in.
I know it’s a couple of days late, but I never really had the energy to face and reflect on the year until recently. I tried doing Sofia Cope and Apple Nocom‘s #Adjourn2017 challenge five days before the new year, only to find myself struggling half-way and putting it on hold. I haven’t touched my journal for days and I wallowed in an inexplicable pain and worry and sadness during the supposedly festive holiday season. After the New Year, I decided to go to Los Banos and had sleepovers with some of my closest friends. Somehow, that became the jolt that I needed to restart and feel that the new year has finally come. I finished the challenge, created a bullet journal, and picked up a pen to write down how my life has been. As always, I’m a little late to the party, but I suppose the second week of January isn’t too shabby for me to celebrate the new year.
I’ve always said in my year-ender posts that the year ‘flew by too quickly’ and that the year was a ‘crazy’ one. While I still feel quite the same about 2017, I know that these are not enough to describe how 2017 has been like for me. More than anything, 2017 was a year of challenges, of doubts, of feeling undeniably lost, and of finding enough courage to fight back and pick up all the pieces that I’ve shattered.
Unlike in the past years where I would usually list down all my accomplishments, this year, I have nothing. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve attempted to write on this blog. I’ve lost count of the days that I’ve spent traveling. I’ve lost count of the hours I’ve spent working hard and trying my best to live the “good” life. I don’t even know how many people have told me that I’ve been living a dream — earning a decent salary, having a stable job, getting to travel every now and then — when in fact, I’m just merely surviving. I stopped counting everything this year because I felt like nothing counts anymore. Everything felt like a meaningless statistic. Would it matter if I did more this year? Would it matter if I have more followers on Instagram this year? Would it matter if I traveled more this year? Would it matter if I shop more? Nothing made much sense to me and I realized it’s because these things were never really my goals. These are the things that I came up with because it’s what’s happening around me. As cliche as this sounds, I felt like what the society and the social media dictates online has already crept up to my brain, feeding on my insecurities, and making me feel inadequate and incapable of anything, when in fact, I am truly blessed and privileged compared to others. I know I should’ve been grateful, but all I feel is wanting more, becoming more… that I forgot how it felt how to live. I forgot how it feels like to live and take life slowly. All I could feel was the crushing pressure of succeeding, of proving myself, of “making it” in life. It was a harrowing journey, one that had definitely left me scarred but, ultimately, changed.
2017 was my year of realization. It was not a year of “achieving” things. It was not about surpassing what I’ve done in the past. It was a year of acceptance, of realizing my limits and acknowledging that I am not as strong as I think I am. It was a year of introspection, of taking the time to understand myself and what I really want in life. It was a year of loneliness and of companionship. It was a year of reaching out, of feeling empty and filling it with good things. It was a year of not being okay, and being totally cool about it.
2017 taught me mindfulness. It has taught me to take things slowly, to appreciate little moments, to let the wind kiss your skin, to stay present in every moment possible. It helped me regain the moments that felt fleeting. It helped me own every second of my life. It made me realize that being alive doesn’t mean feeling happy all the time — being alive is acknowledging where I am and knowing that every time the clock ticks, there’s still a chance for me to move forward; to move past the challenges that I am currently facing.
If I were to compare 2017 to a person, it’s that one bitchy friend we all have that would slap us in the face, only to shake our bones and leave us wide awake. Aware of what life is, and what it has to offer.
* Note: Original artwork appeared on my Instagram account dedicated to my digital collages. Visit it (and follow it) here: @keep.the.sparkle