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.
- I graduated high school (with honors too!).
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.