To the January 2018 Liz who felt the same level of positivity, optimism, and excitement for leaving a bad year behind and entering a complete brand new one:
Hey, girl. Congrats on seeing a brand new year.
I know how difficult 2017 was for you and how happy you are able to leave that chapter in your life in the past. You went through enough fights and anxiety to really last you a lifetime at this point. You’re probably excited to finally be entering your final semester as a grad student and to finally get a hold of your Masters degree later on this year. You worked hard, and I know you are more than ready to get up out of that school and start beginning to live your life. You’re excited for your 24th birthday that will be coming around in a week. You’re excited to see what the next 12 months have in store for you, and my dear – your dreams and goals are endless right now.
While you’re living in your “new year honeymoon phase” currently, I must warn you: you will be happy, you will be sad, you will be anxious, depressed, worried, stressed; whatever you can possibly feel, you’ll feel it. Because this year is going to be a weird one. You don’t really know what life holds for you once you wear that cap and gown and leave your life as a student behind. You don’t really know the hardships you and those closest to you will experience because things inside of you are simply changing. In simpler words: you’re going to be growing up.
You’ll be seeing life through a more realistic lens: “what type of job should I be looking for? Will I get stuck working at a job just to say I have a job?” “was I really blinded by the definition of a family my whole life, or am I now just mature enough to finally understand that my family isn’t perfect at any means?” “am I where I need to be, or am I wasting my time?” These questions will forever be on your mind this next year. You will look back and realize that you’ve lost a lot of people this year, whether they physically leave or they turn into people you don’t recognize anymore. You will feel lonely on certain days, you’re going to feel like you have absolutely no purpose in life because your life isn’t going the way as you planned earlier into the year. You’ll become suicidal, and I’m not saying this to scare you, January 2018 Liz, I’m saying this because, despite the extremely rough points of 2018, you will gain so much from it.
You will learn that although you may have a big heart, you must have that same love for yourself. You must have the same respect you have for others for yourself as well, and you have to take action when you need to take action. Later this year, you will finally swallow your pride and speak up at a doctor’s appointment and tell her that you have been experiencing really bad anxiety for the past couple of months and would like to seek professional help. When therapy doesn’t work, you will swallow your pride again and say that you are ready to take medication for your mental health. You will put your foot down more than you ever did in life; some you’ll regret, and some you’ll stand by. By the end of the year, you will look back and see just how different you are as a person, and not because you were beaten down a couple of times throughout the year, but because you grew and still remain hopeful that you will get through whatever life decides to throw at you. You will feel courageous to try new things, like speaking at an open-mic event, being a Teacher’s Assistant for a graduate class, participating at a graduate research conference, and taking your first solo trip to see an old college friend. See, despite all that’s happened, you still managed to take control of your life once again and do things that challenged you, excited you, and made you grow.
So, January 2018 Liz, hold on for the ride this year is going to take you on. Spoiler: you get through it just fine.