The year that was.

I should preempt this post by saying that I’m not actually a huge believer in New Years being a turning point, I believe that change that comes on any day of the year is as significant as deciding that January 1st is the “first day of the new you”. Use it as a convenient marker for new things to come into fruition (and to throw one hell of a party), however don’t give yourself the excuse that you have to wait for it to come around once every 365 (or 366) days.

(See you all next year) 

Considering I was late to pretty much everything I took part in this year, from parties to lectures to dinners to super important family gatherings that I really should have been on time to, I thought it only fitting that the first post on this new blog should be written at 1am on the last day of 2013.

This year, I have laughed and cried, become an adult, lost friends, gained friends, simply drifted from friends, conquered my first year of university, tried, failed, succeeded and I think I even fell in love (even if it was just with shoes).

While in retrospect this year has been one of the toughest of my life, when asked by my mum last night at the dinner table how I think 2013 has been for me, I realised that it’s also been one of the best. This year, I have unabashedly pursued interests, improved my skills doing things I love and I have stopped apologising for the things that I love in my life. Among the experiences I listed above, this year has taught me, more than anything else, that I can and will be any person I choose to be, regardless of the mistakes I have made in my past or what anyone thinks about or expects of me.

Being thrown into the deep end is something I’ve always preferred when it comes to new experiences, purely because I know that if I get a small taste of something I don’t like, I’m not likely to follow through with it (a pretty crappy trait if you ask me but hey, I’m working on it). That being said however, this year required one hell of a lot of treading water, and somehow, I didn’t drown. When I began university, I listened to too many other people about what to study, which classes to take, how much effort to put in, how many lectures to miss (the record for the year is still only about 4) and which parties to attend. While that all seems pretty harmless, I’ve realised in the last couple of weeks, that that is a lot of people to be listening to. I feel that a point of pride in 2013 was learning to drown out a lot of the voices (some of them do come in handy, I’ll admit) and listen to myself, trusting in my own instinct for the first time in a very long time.

Along with both triumphing at uni and falling spectacularly to pieces because of uni, the greatest impact on me this year, has come from the people I have met and the friends who’ve stuck by me. Fronting up to classes without knowing anyone in them was perhaps one of the scariest experiences of my life. Though I had a best friend by my side for some of the lectures, the idea of sitting in a classroom for an hour with a bunch of complete strangers was something that I never realised I would come to love so much. The colourful and beautiful personalities of the people who I have met at university, whether in my tutorials or by tagging along to a Law Ball for the open bar, have opened my eyes to the world as I don’t think I’d ever seen it before. In high school, it felt easy and safe to know the same people (many of whom are still very important to me) and do the same things for a good 6 years. At uni, it finally feels as if something truly worthwhile is happening. I am in a place where I know I can succeed, I am surrounded by people (both new and old) who I feel truly know me and accept me just the way I am and I am a person who has become stronger than her fear (mostly).

As I have realised that what I think and feel is controlled only by me, I’ve also realised and come to appreciate the value of true friends. I am privileged to have so many people in my life who I love and trust, and while 2013 has been difficult in some respects, the people who I have spent it with have made it a year that I will remember forever. I learned that the hardest lessons and the harshest words come from the people who mean the most, because it’s them who know you best. I learned that when someone means something to you, you always, always, think about them before yourself and most importantly that trust is the singularly most important thing you can share with a person. This year marked a turning point in realising that friends exist as a reminder to achieve your best and also to pull you back down to Earth when you’re being a lunatic. Fitting in was something that really struck me as the main point of university – you go to parties, you skip lectures, you do what everyone else is doing, that kind of thing.

Oh how wrong I was.

Nothing about it requires uniformity, and nothing about it says that you should be anything but yourself (what a weird concept right!?). That was a pretty difficult idea for me to grasp but thanks to the support of the right people, the realisation that I can do anything and everything I put my effort in to and just the right amount of naivety, it’s started to sink in.

I suppose where all of this is leading is that my bubble, has, for the most part, been a very comfortable place for me in the last few years (apologies for the following cheesiness, I really did try to avoid it, but alas here we are…). To those who know me: while I don’t deny that my personality can, at times, skew a little larger than life, I have kept myself distant from a great deal of people, experiences and opportunities for fear of losing some imaginary piece of myself. I do realise that may sound silly to some, but to me, existing has been the extent of my life experience. If you can learn anything from my 2013, it’s that as you live each day of 2014, please make sure that you really do live. 

I wish you all the best for 2014, I truly hope it’s the year that you shine.

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