So….this day ACTUALLY happened huh?
After all the death, disappointment, and grief 2016 brought upon us, I’m frankly surprised the earth didn’t explode. Because didn’t this year feel like the last scene in those horror movies where dinosaurs come back to life and things start exploding? And then there’s like a montage of havoc ensuing and the Eiffel Tower collapses and some mom loses her baby stroller because there’s a sudden rift in the earth?
If you said no, you’re either a Trump supporter or a mountain goat that is oblivious to the international dilemmas unfolding. You also probably like your own Instagram photos and shop at Aeropostale.The point is, 2016 is easily one of the most dynamic years that has occurred in my eighteen years of existence. Below are some reasons why.
2. I got into college. My dream one.
I want to boast about being smart and always coming at the top of my class, I really do. But the truth is, I’ve always worked hard in school. My super extremely trying hard was the smart kid’s attempt. I worked hard to be considered average. But I worked tirelessly, surrounded myself with good company that motivated me, fueled my passions, and I never took no for an answer. Still, I was skeptical about getting accepted at UT. And somehow, I did. And it made me really happy.
3. I decided what I wanted to do with my life.
Since middle school, it was pretty much decided that I, like my elder sister and parents, would pursue the paved and manicured path to the medical field. After years of convincing myself that that was what I truly wanted, hours of volunteering at a clinic, droning on and on to my balding advisor with a happy smile, and a lot of praying, I finally mustered enough confidence to acknowledge that, deep inside me, it wasn’t what I wanted. In 2016, I made the most important decision of my life, and I couldn’t be more pleased that I listened to my heart.
4. I unfriended someone.
I generally consider myself a persistent person, and many times, I turn a blind eye to the bad signs. I trust that people are inherently good, and every disappointment to this principle breaks my heart. As you can imagine, that’s a LOT of power to give to people. This year, I finally unfriended someone who was a downward spiral and hurt the people dearest to me. I have always made excuses for them, and sometimes I stayed up praying for them. I tried to help, I really did. But how can you help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves? How do you bring peace of mind to a disastrous whirlwind? You don't, I learned.
5. I learned how to drive. Vroom, vroom kids!
I’ve waited so long to take the wheel.
To be able to drive to the park and bark at dogs without my mother’s glaring eyes following me. To be able to spend however long I want standing on chairs at vintage coffee shops to get that A1 Insta pic. To just be able to take a long drive to nowhere with the windows to my ~whip Honda CRV~ rolled down. Meet with old friends, spend hours in smelly bookstores inhaling pastries. Going to HEB in pajamas to get blueberries. Doing volunteer work.
Long ago, these were distant dreams. Today, they’re my wondrous reality.
6. I got a REAL job.
I don’t know if watching kids pick their boogers at Kumon and threatening to mark their answers wrong if they don’t throw them away constitutes a real job, or if an online job does. I guess for the sake of this paragraph I’ll just saw they don’t count as real jobs because it build drama you know?
Anyway. I got a real job! Yes, I have my own mailbox and office keys and guys everyone is so nice. I get to use a Keurig and wear dress pants and I know all the passwords and when I answer the phone I FINALLY get to use a receptionist voice and I feel so helpful. I really recommend getting a job. They even pay you for it!
7. I’ve had my most diverse group of friends yet.
I grew up around solely brown Sunni Muslim people, and although that was nice, 2016 was the year I got to experience something different. I’ve befriended Atheists, Koreans, Buddhists, Bangladeshis, Ismaili Muslims, photographers, fashion designers, Sikhs, Agnostics, future engineers, scientists, historians, Pakistani Christians, Hindus, dog lovers, and bisexuals…..it has been amazing. I love hearing about everyone’s upbringings, struggles, and lives. It stimulates a lot of great conversation, and all in all, these people are extraordinary and I have grown to love every single one of them. Although it was hard for me to step out my comfort zone, I did it, and I’m glad I did.
8. I’ve grown to love/take ownership of my body more.
Up until recently, I’ve been pretty embarrassed of my body. Although I was always aware that I had prickly legs, I never thought to flaunt them to strangers at Starbucks. But now I don’t care. It’s nice to have smooth skin, but you can be hairy if you want to. It’s all up to you. I can be chubby and wear baby tees. I don’t know why it took me so long to understand that.
9. I voted.
I mean, it didn’t do much. But I finally got to vote. And it felt good to pretend like it mattered.
10. I got to write about it all.
With all the horrors occurring only seas away, it’s important to remember that no matter how many Donald Trump’s ego sized L’s you took, it would be worse. I know it’s fun to complain to your friends about Finals week and Stranger Things (trust me I know it’s fun), but your arms move and you have a designer handbag. You have shoes on your feet and internet. You will be able to handle 2017.
Hey sweetos! Children born, adults passed. Food consumed, then digested. Texts typed...then backspaced. Votes cast, tears shed. What a year it’s been. I’ve laughed, cried, loved, and lost… and through it all, I’ve had a great companion.
I don’t consider myself a person who keeps up with bands, my favorite artists, or recent releases. Instead, I entrap random songs floating around the interweb into my poorly moisturized hands and replay them until I die.
Now, I know 2016 has given us many classics like One Dance (you’re lying if this wasn’t your jam), Famous, Bad Blood, etc, but today I’d like to introduce you to some gems I’ve unearthed in 2016.
So I just got done with my first semester of college, and I don’t know how to feel.
It definitely wasn’t short, nor did it go by briskly. In fact, it was extremely slow. I felt my life change in phases, and if I’m being honest, I changed. Or maybe I’m not done changing just yet. Maybe it never stops. Maybe I don’t want it to. I’m still figuring out if it is a good or bad thing. Or maybe it’s one of those things that I’m not allowed to like or dislike, only accept or reject.
But it happened.
And my god, gRL, the freedom!!! I can dress out of uniform now, and can cut class to watch a street performer’s mastery of the wobble. Instead of cafeteria shawerma wraps, I can eat Potbelly’s cookies, or Wendy’s fries, and if I dare harness the energy to combat Austin traffic, I can drive out miles ahead to a place like Lubbock and eat oily streetside veggie burgers and drink peppermint shakes and fall asleep in the backseat of my car. But I’d have to be home by 8 pm, because that’s when my mother would expect me to be home. And no one would even know if I didn’t tell them. That’s the best part.
I’ve also learned that college means a lot of alone time. It means driving in cramped spaces, changing radio stations while almost rear ending someone, and it means discovering Chance the Rapper while eating a fish filet in a McDonalds parking lot after work. It means lonely nights home speeding on the freeway, humming along to Coldplay on the radio wondering about the guy with the afro in my Bollywood India and After class.
College means teaching myself to not back into a pole, caring about adult-y things like parking, time management, and remembering to take medications and vitamins. It means saying “no” to hanging out, not because your mom won’t let you, but because of homework. Or saying yes and regretting it later.
It means studying as hard as possible weeks early, attending review sessions, and still failing. It means not understanding why you did. It means accepting it. It means promising yourself a 4.0, and…….it doesn’t happen. And you only cry a little.
It means coming home at 10 pm to an empty house and a sole plate left on the dining table by Mamma. It means eating cold daal because you’re too lazy to microwave.
It means staring at yourself every day in the mirror and poking at the chubbiness of your thighs and the frizziness of your hair. Wondering if you should get bangs or a pixie cut, and convincing yourself out of it. It means wondering if you’re good enough, and knowing that you always will be. No matter what.
College means everything is up to you: the people you see, the things you do, the way you feel. It means going out of your way once and making the bestest friend you’ve ever had, or wanting to and simply not having the guts to. It means regretting it later.
College means good and bad, scary and comforting. It means understanding that the world isn’t just black and white, and it means accepting it. Most importantly, it means never getting used to anything, because one moment it may mean something, and in the next...