It’s been a long year. A super long year for a lot of us. It’s had its ups and it’s had its downs, and at times it’s felt like the downs have outweighed the ups. I’m looking back at the year I’ve had and it’s been quite the mix.
I’ve been hurt, a lot, but at the same time, I’ve never felt more loved. I’ve learned to tell people when I love them. I’ve been reminded that you never know what’s around the corner. I’ve had to accept that there’s no shame in admitting when something’s too much, too difficult. I’ve cried over the loss of people I’ve known, and people I never had the chance to know. I’ve sat in silence as others have cried over people they knew and loved.
This year I had to try to be an adult. I had to think about practical things for the first time, like paying my phone bill each month, or deciding when I needed to cancel my Netflix subscription because the money just wasn’t there anymore. I’ve asked people for help when I’ve needed it. I’ve helped people when I’ve been able.
Occasionally I’ve forgotten what day it is and said things that I’ve immediately regretted as a result. Or I’ve misjudged things so badly that I’ve ended up waist-deep in mud in the middle of a mountain range. I’ve ended up on the floor of a bar in Germany, laughing and crying at the same time because I’ve fallen and hit my head on a table. I’ve missed coaches, found myself stranded in unfamiliar cities, awaiting rescue.
I’ve found myself threatening to call the police as a strange man tried to climb into bed with me in a backpacker’s hostel. I’ve collapsed in tears at a concert because everything suddenly became too much and I wished the blood would just stop flowing through my veins.
So, it’s been a turbulent year. I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons, and I want to pass them on to others. Here goes.
There are two types of people in this world. Those who love you, and those who loathe you. Only one of those types of people matters. For every person who loathes you, there’s at least two who love you. I love you.
If someone tries to grab you, kiss you without permission, or if a stranger tries to climb into bed with you in a hostel, you can scream, shout, or threaten to call the police. You have the right to be comfortable, and to decide who does what with your body. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.
If someone does grab you, kisses you without permission, or if a stranger climbs into bed with you in a hostel, and you find yourself unable to react, it is not your fault. I’ve been there, and blaming yourself won’t help matters. Imagine if your best friend was in your situation – what would you say to them?
People live and people die. It hurts when we have to say goodbye. It hurts a lot. Sometimes we don’t get the chance to say goodbye. It will take time for you to heal. There is no deadline on grief. Let yourself feel the pain that comes with loss.
The day will come when you do have to be an adult and stand on your own two feet. Phone bills and Netflix subscriptions aren’t even the half of it. At some point, your parents won’t be there to keep a roof over your head, pay the electric, or make sure you eat. When they encourage you to start doing something by yourself, jump at the chance to learn. When you’re finding something hard, ask for help rather than digging yourself into a pit. But don’t reject the idea of independence.
People. Some of them will hurt you, and they may not do it out of malice. Sometimes they’re saying or doing what they are with all the best intentions in the world. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t tell them when they aren’t being helpful. Don’t stay silent. Also, it’s okay to cut these people out of your life. If you tell them when they’re not helping and they continue doing what they’re doing, if it’s hurting you, it is okay to cut them off. You don’t have to suffer to avoid offending anyone.
We all occasionally say things that aren’t appropriate for the circumstances. It’s okay. Just apologise, maybe even give the other person some space to cool down, but make sure you apologise at some point.
Your health is the most important thing. If you’re starting to spiral, and you know that you’re starting to spiral, it’s okay to talk about it. It’s also important to seek help. Sometimes just talking to friends isn’t enough. If you’re able to access therapy, go do it. Go and get the help that you need.
This last one’s a lesson that I’ve learned as I’ve got older. It’s also one of the most important lesson’s I’ve ever learned, and I’m still learning it even now. What can I say, it can take some time to implement the things you’ve learned. When you’re young, it’s incredibly easy to rely on people who make you happy. You can find yourself placing your happiness in their hands. The problem with this is that if ever those people hurt you in any way, or even leave you, you can find yourself falling fast and hard. It can feel like the end of the world. I’ve learned that from experience. This is why it’s important that you find something that makes you happy that doesn’t involve other people. Generally. this is a hobby like music or reading.
Hold onto that thing that makes you happy. It may just save your life one day.
Have a fantastic holiday season, and hopefully I’ll speak to you again in the New Year.
Hope and hugs,