Thursday, January 5, 2017

Translating 2016 Emotions into a Happier 2017.

I'm finally waking up to chilly weather for the first time in 2017 (yes, a whopping five days in). I'm sitting on our little 3rd floor balcony at my rickety Target table with my two sweet pooches at my feet, quietly watching the courtyard for "intruders." I've gotten up earlier than I have this entire week, mostly because I'm re-training myself for my 6 a.m. wake-up call when the beginning of the semester brings my winter break to a screeching halt on Monday morning. To be honest, I'm hardly even upset about it. You could almost say I'm happy (...almost).

You see, in 2016, I experienced my fair share of negative emotions.

Frustration: I was frustrated when I was rejected from graduate school programs after having to put my life on hold for this new dream. I felt like I deserved a medal of recognition for all my hard work and dedication, and here I was getting rejected. In reality, I didn't actually deserve anything. Those schools didn't owe me anything; the world doesn't owe us anything (and that's probably the best lesson I could have learned).

Sadness: My heart was so heavy the afternoon my mom told me that our family horse of 16 years, Tess, had unexpectedly passed away. While I was sad, my heart truly ached for my mom, because I knew a small part of her soul had died with her. The weight grew even heavier the next morning when we woke up to our lovebird, Jacob, passing as well. It was in these moments that I realized sometimes there's quite literally nothing you can do to help someone grieve; all you need to do is be there.

Anger: At the mass shootings, the death toll in Syria, the presidential election. I was angry at the proudly uninformed, ignorant, hateful humans that I felt were taking over the world one gruesome, snide remark at a time. I was angry at myself because I felt like there wasn't a whole lot I could do, a whole lot that I actually doing at all. But it inspired me to a little better informed - to read more, explore more, understand more.

But despite all my moments of frustration, sadness, and anger, I found so much happiness in 2016. I was finally accepted into my number one choice school, my mom is healing a tiny bit more with every passing day, and I like to think that my generation took this past year as a sign to become more well informed and more active in their chosen political causes as well.

Despite all these negative moments, I still feel warm at my core. I am loved and appreciated by the people closest to me. I live in a cozy, lived-in little apartment with my favorite human and two pups. I might be falling deeper and deeper into student debt (with a severe lack of fun funds), but it's pursuing something I'm still super excited about. I consider myself to be pretty lucky.

My suggestion for you, even when it feels like your day/week/month/year is going to hell in a handbasket: find your own silver lining. You don't have to find it right away; by all means, don't. I'm a big believer in relishing in your worst moments, and truly feeling them, even if it's just for a few minutes.

But one day, come back to them, and figure out what you can take from them. Because once you can do that, you can truly appreciate the small moments of happiness (like drinking hot tea at a rickety patio table). You know what I mean?


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