It’s almost 2017 (THANK GOD)! I don’t think I’ve ever been more ready for a year to be over. Why? Because 2016 seriously sucked. And this is what I took away from the whole damn year.
I can’t be the only one who thought 2016 was awful, right? This year was just plain bad. A garbage year that should be treated as such.
I should have known better when we greeted the brand new, shiny 2016 with the death of Alan Rickman. When our beloved SNAPE DIES, you know its just gonna be a shitty year.
TBH I don’t know that I’ve talked to a single person that said 2016 was a great year. A fine year, maybe. But definitely not a good one. Between several global terrorist attacks, Brexit, the presidential election, Harambe, countless celebrity deaths, the Zika Virus and my lack of personal growth, 2016 can suck it.
It doesn’t help that 2015 was basically the best year of my life. I got married. I saw my friends (some whom I haven’t seen in 5 years). I traveled around the world with my love for 3 months! There’s no way 2016 could have topped that.
But 2016 didn’t just pale in comparison to 2015. IT WAS THE WORST YEAR EVER.
It all started when my new husband and I had to compensate for spending so much on the wedding and honeymoon and moved into my parents house to save… for 10 months…
During this time, my husband and I fell into a deep depression and our marriage was truly tested. I couldn’t get out of bed. My husband lost his motivation. We both gained weight. And we fought just about every other day.
For a minute there, I thought we were going to be a statistic. A couple who, despite their love for one another, did all the wrong things that resulted in a divorce. I’d be lying if I said that thought didn’t cross both of our minds once or twice.
It was incredibly hard. I saw parts of Kevin I didn’t know existed. I saw parts of myself that I didn’t know existed. And I didn’t like a lot of what I saw.
But for the first time in a long time, we had actually made a smart decision. Moving into my parents’ house (despite being terrible for our marriage) was great for us financially. And in October, we finally moved into our apartment in Los Angeles.
Since then, things have been good. Like, really good.
I took all of that anger, sadness and yucky things I saw about myself and my relationships and decided to use it as fuel. My shortcomings would propel me dammit and I wasn’t going to let my inner demons stronghold my future.
So without further ado, here is what I took from this crap year and what I learned in 2016:
1. Post travel depression is more real than I ever knew.
Omg. OMG. I knew about travel and the major low you experience when you come back home (like when I came back from studying abroad). But when you add the high of a wedding + traveling with your new husband to foreign places after selling off almost everything you own, I couldn’t tell you the darkness that overwhelmed me. For months. Kevin had hoped this trip would cure my aching need to travel, but it has actually made it worse! And while I think that’s a good thing, being in a constant state of hunger, sadness and anger until your next trip is no bueno. But I’m not going to let this addiction own me. If PTD has taught me one thing it’s that I don’t need to wait to travel, I just have to work for it.
2. Marriage is fucking hard. But when it’s good, it’s really fucking good.
As mentioned above, marriage is really difficult. At first, I didn’t understand why. You’re just two people who went from dating to married. Couldn’t be that weird, right? WRONG. SO WRONG. With marriage comes a major state of transition. You’re changing bank accounts, last names and your Facebook status. Also, another sneaky little thing starts to happen. All of those preconceived notions and ideas about marriage, all of those things that society has been telling you about gender norms and wifely duties have been laying dormant in your subconscious for years. Then once you are married, those ideas of what life “is supposed to be” comes out and destroys everything good about your relationship. Kevin and I did not see this coming and it’s something we had to constantly work on. But the hardest part is over. Now I just need to stay in the kitchen making sandwiches where I belong (kidding, kidding).
3. Working out is about more than just looks
Having grown up in Southern California, working out was ALWAYS about your looks. I didn’t kill myself at the gym cause I wanted a well-functioning circulatory system or a healthy heart. I wanted an impossibly, unattainable thigh gap. But after that depression my husband and I went through, working out might as well have been oxygen. It helped put me on a schedule. It helped me fight my anger. It helped pump endorphins in my desperately sad brain. Working out was suddenly about something much deeper and lot more meaningful than just having a svelt body (something I wasn’t very good at before, anyway).
4. I’ve become a travel snob
In an attempt to make me feel better, Kevin took us on a quick road trip to Arizona to see the Grand Canyon. I also celebrated my birthday with one of my best friends in Canada. But Arizona was domestic travel and I had already been to Canada. My travel junkie behavior makes me crave new experiences and getting out of my comfort zone. Traveling to those places was fun but it just wasn’t enough to satisfy my wanderlust. I can’t help but think how ungrateful I’ve become! Traveling anywhere is a privilege, period. I can’t take my ability to travel for granted and that’s something I should work on. Now I just need to find a therapist…
5. I really want to amp up my blogging career
I had started this blog in 2014 in anticipation of our honeymoon trip around the world. When the honeymoon was over and there were no more trips to be had, I didn’t want to stop. I wanted to keep going! I will say one good thing about 2016: it brought a lot of positive growth to this blog. I got a new logo, bought some business cards, attended a kick ass business conference and relaunched my blog. I changed my mindset about this site from hobby to business and I’ve never been more proud of myself. Yeah, it’s still in its infancy, but I’m working harder, longer and more passionately on this thing than I’ve ever worked on anything! And I’m so excited to see where it will take me!
6. I am not grateful enough
As mentioned above, I’m not very grateful for my travel experiences. But it’s a bit worse than that. I’m just not as thankful as I should be. I should be grateful for my precious kitty children. I should be grateful that my parents welcomed me with open arms. I should be grateful that I am clothed, well-fed and have a job! After the tough year I had, I’m definitely happier and more grateful than I was, but I’m still hungry for more. I spoke last year about volunteering more and I really didn’t live up to that promise. This year, I’m making it a mandatory obligation. Additionally, I want to try to live in the present. Stop worrying about the “shoulds” and “wants” and focus more on my surroundings. NY resolution? Perhaps, but a damn necessary one.
These lessons I’ve learned ain’t pretty and they ain’t fun, but learning is what makes us well-rounded humans. Growing, trying and even failing is what makes us more compassionate and empathetic creatures worthy of something more. It was hard (and I HATED IT), but I wouldn’t be where I am now without this shit year and the lessons that came from it.
So, I guess… thanks 2016?
(But go away, BYE!)