So I’m a few days late into 2016 but why not reflect on what happened or what experiences shaped etc etc. To make things easier for myself, I’m going to start with the FIRSTS of my firsts with experiences. Why not catalog experiences right? What better way to remember a year than the snippets that caused it to stand out and things that I really loved in 2015.

So I started 2015 with a trip in December to January to watch my Aunt have a surprise wedding to a guy I could not be happier to have in my family. Being extremely depressed at this time, I felt I did not deserve the happiness of being with my family and the joys of California but my best pal and cousin snapped me out of a lot of it. Never am I suggesting that being with your best pal or family can ever get you out of depression, because that is not what happened with me, but being around so much positivity and people who loved you and kept saying how much they cared about you, not just in words but in experiences too, it certainly helps lessen the blows that the sadness takes on you. Being at the beaches, running on train tracks and almost losing my cousin, running along all of the same style houses and laughing about how I almost was stranded is all wonderful to recall. The trip to Disneyland in which I so desperately wished to someday have a daughter like the one Australian girl I met who could not stop talking with me about Nemo and her Elsa dress. She was a gem and I took so kindly to the Aussie family as they apologized for her outgoing nature that I found endearing. Being with my best pal was the literal best and I know that there should be another word for best or I should expand my vocabulary in adjectives but it is all true. I have the most fun with him and it is so obvious that we are blood because we talk and do a ton of the same annoying things and both put passion in a lot of crazy things. We also played The Last of Us with my new family member and ordered pizza after his wedding with my aunt. Those memories are so fond to me and I smile thinking about them. I was the only person with the best man who was NOT drunk at the wedding hahahaha and I remember so clearly all of the fun that was had. It was a glorious trip and one that I hold so intensely close to my heart. A trip to get Vietnamese food, taking the dog Harley to the pet park and spending time around Cali. I loved every minute of the time I spent with the family and despite my school situation and awful feelings, I couldn’t have imagined anything better. I did not let my depression ruin things for me and I think that was the trip that I decided that 2015 would not take control of me. That I was stronger than any mental illness and that in accepting that I had a problem, I could also accept that I was strong enough to overcome it with the proper medical attention, counseling and support. But the support ultimately had to come from myself. And i have to say, that took very long in the year to happen.

Later in the month, I took a trip to see Cabaret with two of my best friends, stared at the captivating Emma Stone as she performed mere feet in front of me and probably stared at her with my mouth agape as I had my first alcoholic beverage in the beautiful city of Manhattan at the “Kit Kat Club” hahaha. We had an incredible time and it was wonderful to travel with my pharm gals. We never get to have fun in college so why not go to the best city and take a night out on the town, eating at my FAVORITE restaurant, John’s Pizzeria, having calamari and more pepperoni pizza than we probably should have, and still wanting more because it is the literal best pizza in the entire world.

The best movie I experienced was in the beginning of the year, during a snow day in which I had to run out to my car and shovel loads of snow off of my car, not the only time but the first of the year I believe, and saw Princess Mononoke. No animated film has been able to match this one and so much of the story and messages still hit me hard. It’s very difficult if not near impossible to capture such a film in a mere description.  But this film started it all with the Studio Ghiblis in my appreciation despite my watching Spirited Away back on Cartoon Network as a young kid.

I’ve read phenomenal books this past year too, including Paper Towns…my favorite standalone book I truly must say. What appeared first glance as a teen-YA-whatever book ended up being something so hugely inspiring and heartbreaking… I felt so much of Margo in me with the fear and running as well as the confidence, both false and true, as well as the desire to be someone that I know rather than someone people know me to be. It brought me to so many tears and knowing that my girl Cara Delevingne was to play her in the movie adaptation made the stakes much higher as I read John Green’s words.

Starting my job in February at the pharmacy was a huge responsibility and something that I did not and do not hold lightly. It taught me how difficult multitasking could be because you are balancing the lives of others in your multitasking, not just random things you need to do, but things you need to do for others to be healthy and live the next days of their lives a little easier.

School was a fucking mess. That semester sucked ass but I have to say, at least I was done with frisbee, free of fucking concussions, and able to remember much more of it. I made closer friendships with people I invested in and took more time to really think about where I wanted to spend my time. Thinking about yourself is much easier when you can think about what you can do for other people. Once you realize that you are actually a pretty damn good person with good opinions of the overall public, hope for the word and the desire to help others, it can become much easier to decide all of those same things for yourself.

This summer was full of hanging out with neighbors and running in my hometown haha. I hate mileage but learned to really press my weaknesses into something doable. Doing a lot of studying in the summer was arduous and unexciting but it allowed me to re-explore the importance of psychiatric and neurologic drugs sand bodily functions. I know that with my desire to have a stronger stress on the subject, this experience of superfluous studying will pay off despite it not directly paying off on my needing to have less classes and whatnot.

Boxing this past semester and MMA has been a saving grace for me. I have finally found something real and physical to perfect and work on forever that gets my anger and allows me to feel pain in the way that I can control. To fight myself is a battle I’ve always lost but I have become more than ever since this point, determined to give my aggression to myself rather than go against what I have been working towards. I am strong.

Playing Pokemon has also been great because I have gotten really great at it rather than just knowing how to potentially be great and never getting there. I’m still a novice in the pro level but definitely making headway in competition and to represent my school with my friends is a wonderful feeling. I know I can become better. The knowledge here truly is power.

To fast forward, this year has allowed growth just as any other year. But this year has definitely been the hardest. You don’t go through major depression without making it out as a different person and in those lows I couldn’t have even imagined making it here, to this day, in 2016. That is a huge blessing. Looking forward, I am not going to put any pressure on what I must do or accomplish or get done in any particular time frame. I am becoming more myself and I will not stop working towards a better me. There is a lot I can do and not knowing what that is necessarily is perfectly okay with me and is a thrill to figure out. The worst thing in the entire world to me would be knowing all and being unable to have questions or something to learn. What a disaster that would be for my life. I am grateful for the unknown and the ability to make much more of my days on the earth, however long that they may last. 2016 is full of promise and I am not binding myself to any one alone.