One Year Later

I shared something on Facebook the other day that said “I know we are in the yearly recap phase on social media and everyone is announcing their biggest wins, but please don’t compare yourself and your progress to others. If your biggest achievement was just staying alive, then that’s a win too.”

Endings are weird. Today is literally the last day of the whole decade. It’s a time of reflection and a lot of people sharing their biggest accomplishments and making bold goals for their future. It’s a wonderful time for sentimentalists and a scary time for worriers.

What if I wasn’t good enough this past year? What if my next year will be just as miserable? What if I’m not making enough of my life?

These are big questions that aren’t easy to answer. They aren’t easy to answer for yourself, but they’re even harder to answer when you’re using every other person in the world’s timeline as your pacemaker. Remember, comparison is the thief of joy.

For me, I think about where I was a year ago. The end of 2018 was one of the lowest points of my life. That year I dealt with a lot of grief and confusion and anger at God. So when the holidays rolled around, I was just sad. I was tired. I was ready for a fresh start.

That was a hard year for comparison. I was feeling so behind where I was supposed to be. My friends were all working consistently. They had moved out to exciting places and were always doing exciting things. Everyone was married or engaged or happily in a relationship. And when my relationship had just fallen apart, I was feeling so lost.

Last year, waking up and getting out of bed every day was a win for me.

Well, I’m happy to report that a year later, I’m the happiest and healthiest version of myself I’ve ever been.

I’ve been learning to put myself first and not to let anyone else dictate my timeline or the pace I want to set for my life. I’ve been happily single for the whole year and fell back in love with myself. I’ve been to exciting places and have met exciting people. Last year, I was feeling stuck, and this year I feel so free.

You know how those cheesy New Years posts will always read “New Year, New Me”? Well the me of 2019 definitely is a new me compared to 2018.

And it took work. I still had days where getting out of bed was hard. I had days where I was still pretty angry at the way things were going. I definitely have days where I feel really lonely. But on those days, I’ve been finding a way to flip the narrative. I’ve been finding ways to redirect criticism into opportunities for growth. I’ve been shutting comparison out of my life and replaced it with contentment for my place in my own journey. I’ve committed to self help and listening to my body, mind, and soul and putting their needs above anyone else’s.

2018 was a year of living for others expectations, 2019 was a year of living for me. 2020 is a year for… honestly I don’t know yet. But I’m beyond excited.

You may be in a place similar to where 2018 Amanda was. Maybe you’re upset or grieving or anxious or depressed. Maybe life looks pretty sucky right now and 2019 was one of the worst years of your life.

Keep going.

It’s so much easier said than done. I know, because I’ve done it. And while a new year doesn’t cure all your ailments, it gives you permission to start new and fresh. It gives you permission to recommit to you and your journey. It gives you permission to say “screw you” to the year and start the next one with a clean slate.

There’s a reason we celebrate by saying “Happy New Year” rather than “Bye Bye Old Year.” We choose to look ahead. We choose to move forward and leave the past behind. If your past is something you’d like to move away from, what a perfect time to do so. Give yourself permission to hold on to only what is useful and let all the bad stuff go.

A year later I can say that I’m happy, healthy, confident, passionate, and as driven as ever. I committed to that journey, and you can too.

What is going to be your “one year later” story? If your life was a biopic what would the screen read right before they roll the credits? The rom com just ended with a glorious monologue and “sweep you off your feet” kiss, so now go make your happily ever after. Or maybe this chapter was the tragic climax, well now your prepped for the uplifting denouement. Wherever you are now, there’s more to your story.

Whether this year is ending on a high or on a low, the next one is about to start. Let’s all get ready to make it a good one. So that in exactly one year, you’re looking back on one of the best years of your life.


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