I’m sure you’ve seen at least 45 other articles titled “New Year New Me: 3,440 Things I learned About Myself in 2019” or “15 Things I Did in 2019 That No One Else but Me Cares About,” but I’ve been incredibly in my feels during this last week of the year. So, so much has happened to me in the last decade, it feels like I have truly lived sixteen different lives. I could go on and on about the things that have happened here, but it’ll just lead to me posting 73 photos to go along with that no one wants to look at, so here are just six of the major parts of the last decade.
I never saw myself going to college. Obviously, I wanted a career and money in the future, but I wasn’t one of those people who grew up with one specific college in mind, holding it in such high regard that if I didn’t get in I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. I literally applied to the schools I applied to based on if I had to pay the fee. I applied to Siena just because it was close to my family, but not too close, I wasn’t forced to pay the fifty dollars to apply, and they gave me a ton of financial aid. That’s it, there’s no amazing story there. Yet this spontaneous decision led me to the best four years of my life. I look back at Siena and feel so much happiness and thankfulness. From the nights out at the bar with my friends, spending way too much money on screwdrivers that were 80% water, and not being worried whatsoever about getting home at the end of the night, to quiet days holed up in Casey’s doing homework with a coffee. Being able to live with my closest friends not even two minutes away from me was the best thing I have ever experienced, and I will hold the happy memories that Siena gave me, close to my heart, for the rest of my life.
I won’t get too deep into this one because I’ve written about it and honestly who cares, but this was the biggest event of 2019 for me. I left the small town where my family, friends, and everything I’d ever known was, to move into my first apartment, with my cat, to live with three strangers in Boston. I fell in love with the city, applied to grad school fully believing I would not be accepted, and have managed to support myself for a few months now, and I’d say things are going pretty well (except for the take-out addiction and massive newly acquired road rage). Grad school is hard, life on your own is hard, doing the dishes every day is hard, but I am so proud of myself for getting away and starting life on my own.
Sickness sucks. That’s one huge (obvious) thing that I’ve become more aware of within the last decade. Going into college, I was hit with the news that one of my family members was sick, had been sick for a while. My mom truly is my best friend. She has always made sure we have an open relationship where I can tell her everything, even things that she doesn’t want to hear. She has made sure my brother and I have gotten anything we have ever asked for or wanted, even if it was really difficult to do. She listens to me complain about everything, and when I’m in the wrong, she lets me know instead of sugarcoating things when we both know I’m being dumb. She accepts my 30 phone calls a day, and almost completely covers up her annoyance after the 25th one. She is the strongest woman I know, and truly does not deserve any of what life has given her. Going into 2020, I wish nothing but the absolute most amazing things for this wonderful, selfless human being.
This is farther down the list because every day of my life I have tried hard to completely block off the hell on earth that high school was. Heed my warning, for anyone still in high school that might just happen to read my blogs, please just know that it is a joke. Power through with grades that can get you to college, which does matter, and teaches you huge life lessons and gives you major life experiences, things that high school wishes it could do. I can’t say I have one real friend left from high school. Whether it was because of a huge falling out or just distance over the years, everyone has sort of faded away. Nowadays, I run into these people with their own kids, or see engagement pictures on social media, and it blows my mind that this very normal and mundane thing is going to continue on into the next decade. For real, when do I stop being shocked at pregnancy announcements? We’re not sixteen anymore, we’re in our twenties, like… it’s perfectly okay.
5. So Much Music
I’d say the years in which I was 12-22 brought the bulk of festivals, concerts and shows that I’ve been to. My first concert ever was Mayday Parade back in my sophomore year in high school, and throughout the decade, not only have I seen them five times, but got to meet and (!!!) hug them, and they remain my absolute favorite band. I’ve seen too many overrated rappers, thanks to Siena, and have to add seeing Kid Ink, T-Pain, and Fetty Wap to the list. Though I don’t remember most of these, at all, hearing Dan Bilzerian live for the first time might have changed my life. My emo heart soared when I got to go to Warped Tour in 2018 and saw We The Kings, Mayday Parade, Real Friends, State Champs, The Maine, Simple Plan AND 3oh!3. No concert will probably ever even come close to being as amazing as seeing all of those guys in one place, though Sad Summer Fest in Boston, earlier this summer came close. I should’ve known it’d be the best day of my life when, while waiting in the merch line with a Margarita in hand, I spotted the lead singer of my favorite band. While sweating profusely and stuttering “I…Iove you” in front of Mayday Parade was not my finest moment, this will remain the best day of my entire life. Mom Jeans, The Wonder Years and The Maine brought this festival right up there to the number two spot. Some other favorites were seeing A Day to Remember, All Time Low & Blink 182, for free, back in 2016 and realizing indie concerts (Catfish and the Bottlemen and Hippocampus) have a vibe unlike any other. Going into 2020, I will sell my soul to see My Chemical Romance or the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Speaking it into the universe.
6. Finding Out Exactly Who I Am
Ew, the title of this section is genuinely cringy and gross, but I have to say, I am a completely different person than I was a decade ago. From 12 to 22, I’ve learned about all of the greatest traits I have and some of the not so great traits. I’ve learned that my biggest trait is loyalty – I love and care for people with everything in me, even if it’s not returned, and in the beginning of the decade, it definitely led to people taking advantage of me. I gave multiple chances to people who didn’t deserve it. I’ve learned to be loyal to the people who make a point of giving that loyalty and care back. The not so great traits that have made an appearance in the last few years are my anger, insecurity, and sensitivity. 2019 was the year I finally decided to go on medication for anxiety, and while I still have a ways to go, I’m so glad I stopped feeling ashamed of my extreme nervousness and shyness, and did something positive for myself. As for the sensitivity flaw, I’ve learned, it’s not such a flaw. It’s allowed me to learn how to talk to people. Throughout middle and high school, I was angry. I was just an angry kid. While I can blame a lot of this on my family life, and things that were going on in high school, I was miserable being angry and bitter towards everyone. I was awful to everyone I came across, and it led to some big losses in my life. While I’ve lost a few people, I’ve taken the lessons learned from these experiences, and become a much less angrier person. As someone who hates conflict, I keep to myself when I’m angry or something is said that upsets me (which, let’s be honest, is 98% of the time) and it’s led to really healthy and mature conversations in my life. I’ve learned that while you might not be able to help picking up on certain toxic traits from family members, you have the choice of choosing how to act on these traits. I’ve let my anger and bitterness go, because it’s just not worth it. It takes too much energy, and the feeling of anger in your chest has a physical effect on you, that isn’t worth the anger in the first place. I’ve also learned that I don’t like answering to people, and love being on my own (this is definitely also a flaw – my favorite activity over the last decade has been cancelling plans).
So, as this decade wraps up and we head into 2020, I am so excited. This next decade will be the one where I get my master’s degree and start my dream career. Hopefully, the decade where I start a family, and hopefully the decade where a cure for Multiple Sclerosis is finally found. The decade where I will one hundred percent get at least five more cats. The decade where I maybe will manage to buy a car that doesn’t break down on me in two months I am so happy with the people coming into 2020 with me, and am so excited to look back on the last ten years with nostalgia and use the lessons I’ve learned in the next ten. As cringy as the “new year, new me” statement is cringe, but it rings true – it’s a new decade. You can do, be, have, want, anything you want, and it’s exciting to think of it as a brand new chapter in your life. Here’s to the happiest new year.