Well, 2017 tried its best to kill me, which kind of sucks. It also failed to do so, though, which is considerably less sucky. It's actually kind of unbelievable, actually, in the way something seemingly impossible appears inexplicably magical and miraculous when it succeeds. A lot of years have been rough, but 2017 was definitely up there. It never gets easier, either, going through year after year of struggle. You learn to cope fantastically well, of course, and appear more high-functioning than you were at the beginning of your journey. It never gets easier, though; it just gets harder. It gets harder to face a new year, and it gets harder to uphold hope.
The new year is a really conflicting time for me. Instead of the celebration of making it to the end of another year, as if the years were just items on a long to-do list, and marking each one off was a satisfactory task, it's facing the beginning of another uncertain year. I always have hope that the new year will be better than the last, but for the past few years, that hasn't been the case. This is where the hope part comes into play. It's daunting to have a whole new year in front of you. You start to wonder how you're going to make it through if you have to go through anything similar to the past year ever again. I have two things I try to tell myself when I'm fearing for the future or experiencing post traumatic stress from the past: the first is that I never have to redo a past year, and the second is that God can and will get me through anything. I've written before about my faith that the strength God provides us is powerful enough to get us through whatever we're facing, even if it seems impossible, because He makes the unbearable bearable. Even when I'm terrified of thinking even an hour ahead, I have the faith that He has gotten me through 17 years so far, and that He is never going to abandon me for even a moment in the years to come.
This attitude admittedly brings up another problem: I don't want to just go through life taking things one day at a time, gritting my teeth and bearing whatever comes. Sometimes, that's what you have to do to get by. When possible, though, I want to live life to the fullest extent! I want to be so, so full of joy and hope. I want to be the best version of myself for my friends and family and be able to use my talents to honor God, the one who gave me anything good that I offer to this world. It just takes so much energy, though, and it's energy I don't often possess. I used to beat myself up over not being able to accomplish everything I want to. I still do, to be honest. I'm getting better at giving myself grace, though, and embracing whatever period of life I'm in. Sometimes, living is just getting through the day while curled up on the couch in a little ball from all the pain I'm experiencing. Other times, it's crying from laughter while hanging out with friends, getting to write pieces that I'm truly proud of, feeling closer to God than I ever have before, and goofing around with my family. Whatever life throws at me this year, I'm ready to face it, the good days and the bad ones. I'm ready to embrace hope even when it's scary, because even though it can be heartbreaking to hope for something and see it fall through, I know that the hope I place in my God and His plan for me is never misguided, and that's something I can hold onto year after year.