So everyone is talking about how 2016 was the worst year ever. It was definitely a bit dramatic. I didn’t think 2016 killed more celebrities than usual. I don’t think we needed a GoFundMe to protect Betty White from 2016. But it’s definitely been a hard year to come to grips with for many Americans. When I look back on 2016, I’m one of those Americans. I’ve only lived 30 years and by most standards, a cushy 30 years. However, 2016 has definitely been one of the hardest years I’ve face. Now, don’t worry. I’m an optimist and believe that I have many years that I will dread in the future. If I had to sum up this year with one word, I would say I was “lost”. I’m lost in understanding how the world has come to this point. And I’m lost on what I want from my life and how this past year has achieved it.
First, I’m lost in what I want to do with my life professionally. If you asked me two years ago, I’d be able to easily explain exactly what type of job I wanted, which companies I was interested in and how I hoped to progress in my career. But this year jumbled all of that up. I had certain preconceived notions of business school and what I would get out of it. Now that I have a more realistic view, I’d say I actually have no idea what I want to do. I don’t know what I’ll really enjoy or if I’ll ever be really passionate about a particular function or company. I worry that I’ll forever be stuck doing something just to live instead of living to do something. It’s so cliché it makes me roll my eyes, but it’s true.
Second, I’m lost in what I want from my life personally. I’m at an age where I need to start figuring out if I eventually want to be married, have children, and in general, the type of people I want in my life. All of my friends from high school, college, and law school are married or engaged. Most of my life I thought or maybe just expected that my life would turn out similar. However, this past year I started questioning whether I actually want to ever get married (my mother and aunts just started crying). There is so much pressure to get married and I know people that care about me just want me to be happy, but would I actually be happy? For some reason, the idea of sharing my space with someone for the rest of my life seems very stifling. Can’t I just date when I want someone and be single the rest of the time? Additionally, the only reason I consider marriage is for children. But really, nowadays, I don’t even need a husband for that. Not that being a single mother is the ultimate dream or easy in any way. I’m sure this changes when you meet “the one” and my friends like to say that I’ll eat my words one day. I guess we’ll see.
Lastly, I’ve begun thinking a lot about the people I want to surround myself with. I’ve always chosen quality over quantity, which I don’t regret for a second. But this year, I’ve really started thinking about the type of people that I can truly be myself with. What are their qualities and why am I comfortable around them? Why do I feel so happy and safe with some people, but feel like I need to put on a good face for others? As I move back home in 2017 and begin a new stage of my life, I only want to add people that lift me up and individuals that don’t make me feel toxic. This seems so obvious and basic, but isn’t as easy as it sounds. I’ve noticed that throughout my life it’s been easy to fall into those traps and not see what people really stand for.
2016 certainly wasn’t the best year on the surface. It was hard and exhausting. If I went based solely on that, it was definitely the worst year. However, when I explained this to one friend, he pointed out that maybe that makes it the best year. Because how my life will change and my personal search for what I want and who I want to be may be forever shaped by 2016. Only time will tell, but at least Betty White survived 2017. So all is somewhat right with the world.