When I was younger, I dreamt of flying cars and being able to teleport. I imagined that by the time I was 21, I would be able to travel from one continent to another within seconds, but alas, science has not yet matched my imagination.
Moving along, it’s been a few weeks since 2016 has ended and 2017, the new year, has begun! I’m not one to make New Year Resolutions because, well, frankly, I have enough goals from last year carrying on I’ve yet to achieve. I know my commitment with the gym and eating healthy will be inconsistent, but, at least I know that and I’m not lying to myself.
Another item on the list of “Things I Won’t Lie About” is how this year, I will focus on my friendships, more than I have ever before. Speaking of friends, this month marks the birthdays of my two best friends since high school, Cali (23) and Christy (22). 2017 also marks a decade since I’ve known these women. 10 years of friendship is quite the achievement in my book. Cali’s birthday was on the 2nd and Christy’s was on the 16th. Quick pop quiz, what’s 16+1?
On January 2nd, I drove past my old apartment, the apartment where my mother and I had lived together before my little sisters were born. It was where I spent a chunk of my childhood, the almost-casino where my mother held gambling sessions, the one bedroom apartment where I grew my little sunflower plant and my mom tried to grow a lemon tree, and the spot where my imaginary friends and I frequently met.
The number 17 resonates with me mainly due to the fact I was born on the 17th day of October and when I was seventeen, I barely passed my driving test. I was infinite, unstoppable (at least I thought I was), but in all actuality, I was reckless. Fast forward to the present. As of this moment, I’ve been in the United States for 17 years, 18 years this June. I have no insane emotions or any extreme bright hope for this new year, but since the number 17 is in this year’s date, I do feel slightly giddy, but ever just so slightly – because this year could be just like 2016: a whirlwind of emotions, traveling, laughter, departure, new beginnings, and as always, growth. 2016 was one of best years of my life so let’s rewind, reassess, and repeat.
Spring 2016 was the last semester of college I spent in Southern California. I juggled two internships and two jobs in which I found myself in a routine – a safety net for five months – I had become an automated student who knew what to do each day and each week. I lived by my Passion Planner, gifted by T, so I was able to know what I was doing each hour of my life: commuting to my internship, at the gym, tutoring, working at PopBar, or hanging out with someone. But, no matter how great of a planner I was or how structured my planner made my life seem – I couldn’t plan on what was happening next in my life after graduation.
Ah yes – I graduated college! I didn’t walk across the stage because I had immense anxiety about this event ever since my junior year of college. In my third year, I had already known I wouldn’t be able to do it. Why not? It’s my anxiety, I can’t explain it. When my mother said she wanted to see me walk for my Bachelor’s – my anxiety went down a considerable amount, but it wasn’t enough for me to walk amongst my classmates. Embarrassed is an understatement – I wish I had been stronger to conquer my anxiety because it truly hindered me from participating in unrepeatable experiences.
During the months of May, June, and July, I was able to travel to Miami for the first time and Mexico twice. I still question if I ever went there but as I look back on photos and videos, I realize it wasn’t all a dream but a reality. Traveling is a privilege bestowed to those who can afford it and when I went to Mexico, I saw those who did not have the same privilege as me. At some points of my travel, I felt wrong being there due to the fact I could see the inequalities of class, education, and culture. But, it made me aware and appreciate what I had and what I could give to others.
Fall & Winter 2016
I thought I had mentally prepared myself for the move back home. I had decided in Fall 2015 that I would move back home instead of staying in Southern California and pursuing a career in Orange County. But, the move back home consisted of me traveling back and forth to SoCal so often it caused me to not have a solid identity of where I belonged and where I did not – was I officially home in Sacramento or was my home still in Southern California? I had registered for classes in my local community college for the Spring, got a job at the local mall, hung out with my little sisters constantly, but the feeling of being misplaced and lost only grew as the weeks passed.
I joked about being depressed when I moved back to Sacramento but the joke’s on me now. I never strive to be happy, just not to be sad, but it appears though that sadness struck me in the most unfashionable manner. It made me more anxious than ever, the thought of not living appealed to me, and I started drinking alcohol more often than before because I wanted to feel something else than what I was feeling when sober: dour. Mentally, I feel as though I’ve regressed because I’m back to my former self where my only defense mechanism is to: push people away, run far, far away, build a wall, have my guard up, and then build another wall. President Donald Trump, if you ever read this – a wall is not the answer.
Being distant from people is a path I know I should not take but it’s a path I took instinctively… It’s a road well paved by the copious times I’ve travelled. The further away I seem to be – the better off I presume myself to be – but the verdict is, I only feel more alone. Forgiveness is an area I feign to understand and with my character, I don’t believe in the idea of fabricated friendships, so my situation remains desolate. How do I forget and forgive? Perhaps, it will occur in 2017. Perhaps not. Only time will tell.
* My sorority sister, Melissa, wrote a reflection post about 2016, and I felt inspired to do the same.