Saturday, January 19, 2013

Out with the Old, In with the New

Street art posters in Berlin. Fitting?

While this is coming almost a month behind schedule, I don't think it's ever too late to reflect on the year past.  I want to say my proper goodbyes to 2012, a great year full of successes and milestones, but not without its disappointments and trials.

When I look back on myself a year ago, I can see how much I've grown.  I was starting my last semester of college, terrified beyond belief of what was going to come next, mentally freaking out as roommates and friends got "real, grown-up" jobs or made concrete plans for the future.  Planning for the future is not really one of my fortes, in fact it might be among my top most hated things to do, but now I realize that it's something I will never escape and graduating from college only made it that much more prominent in my life.  Moving to Spain helped me see that even if it freaks me out, no matter what happens it will all be for the best and the only wrong move is making no move at all.

Remembering my academic, college year of 2012 already makes me nostalgic and 2013 is barely out of the womb.  It was a true year of living in the moment, realizing that many of the things that had become routine and common place in my life would never be the same again after May.  I built better friendships with people who had always been close to me, let others fall to the wayside, and lost some completely.  Being someone who makes friends easily, it sometimes has seemed that losing friends isn't that big of a deal, but I think 2012 helped me see just how much I carry my friends in my heart, even those who never really were great friends to me in all our years or months together.  I want to get better at letting go, and that can apply as much to a lost friendship as it can to anything else in life.
I understand now that the years to come are going to be filled with as many or more goodbyes as hellos, and that what really matters is how we help each other to grow during the time we have together or realize what we had in the time we spend apart.

My biggest story of 2012 after graduation was my move to Spain.  I still can't believe I am living here sometimes, and other times it seems like the most normal thing anyone could ever do.  I'm learning so much about myself, sometimes I don't even realize I didn't know it before.  Before the Christmas holiday, I was feeling frustrated and questioning why I came here, worrying about money, and thinking maybe this was the wrong choice.  It might appear to people that I live this amazing life because I am in Spain, but living abroad is hard even for the most open people.  I've been more homesick than ever before in my life, had more culture shock than during any of my other travels, and truly had some nasty feelings about Spanish people and Spanish culture.    After 2.5 weeks of vacation, and a one week trip to Berlin, I returned to Madrid with a clearer mind and more open heart.  I feel more like myself for the first time since moving here.  I don't know how, why or when it happened, but I just feel ready to make the best of the next 6 months and not take any more time for granted.  I guess the best awakenings happen while we are still asleep.

Here's to 2013. 

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