At the start of last month, a friend accused me of causing her to panic after I hit the blue ‘publish’ button on the first post counting down to the next decade. A DECADE! Yes, the next DECADE.
I reflected on the last ten years and was shook by the realisation that I was only 12 years old when the last one was on the horizon.
This year was a lot of things in my opinion. It was beautiful and tragic all at once. There were highs that were up there with the moon and sun and there were lows that were lower than a deep hole dug underground. This year, I saw all of the kindness and love that the world had in the palm of its unclenched fist, but I also saw all the darkness and hate it stored in its other hand. My phone constantly lit up with notification badges that told jokes and funny memes just to turn around to see announcements of tragedy and loss that could never be walked back.
In the countdown post, I talked about looking forward whilst letting go of the things we cannot change in these last few days ‘19 has to offer, and I thought in this post I’d take a slightly different approach.
It’s difficult not to feel frustrated every time you turn on the tv or log unto social media platforms and see all the crazy that goes on each and every day. It’s like everyone has gone mad and our normal is now somewhere insanely high on the scale of ridiculous. However, instead of dwelling on the ludicrous, I thought it would be more productive to dwell on the good things that happened this year and the thing that made my heart feel warm.
If I’m being honest, I don’t always think about the things I have going for me, and I most certainly have never compiled them in a list before, so this is going to be a first for me on the first day of this festive month. So, here we go. I’m opening my heart, soul and archive in my mind and pouring it out here. These are some of the things I’m most grateful for this year.
I’M STILL BREATHING.
I guess, in many ways, I get so used to my daily routines, tasks and many problems that I can sometimes forget I’m actually breathing. I marvel at myself often when I don’t get shocked by even the most tragic of news and wonder whether I have become so desensitized or caught up that things don’t phase me as much anymore.
Everything’s moving so fast that I forget to be grateful for the life I live, for the air I breathe, for my ability to breathe. When life slaps us with the reality that things don’t always go our way, we then start to chase the things we want in order to enhance our chances of getting the outcome we desire the most. One thing leads to the other, and all of sudden, we’re fighting ten different wars all at once and quenching too many fires. All of the madness causes us to forget; to breathe with the intention of breathing and to smile on the life we still have and live.
I’m going to be honest, I don’t like talking about death at all and I often find myself changing the topic when it’s brought up in conversation, but when I think about it, there are so many who would have loved just one more minute or one more day. There are people that go to bed with dreams burning in their hearts, but never wake up to walk in the flames of their desires. If only for that reason, appreciate the life you have. You don’t get another one. I don’t get another one.
FAMILY THAT IS ALWAYS CLOSE.
In April my family and I all booked flight tickets back to Italy for my sister’s wedding. It was the first of any of my siblings and it is still mind-blowing to me the fact that it was among the biggest things that occurred this year.
I think it is so easy to take family for granted especially when you have them around all the time and cannot imagine a life without them in your life. One minute you’re getting along just fine, singing classics in choir around the house, but the next minute you’re fighting intensely because of something you don’t even recall.
Truth is we all need to invest our time, love and energy into our families too. Everyone on this earth has counted days. Remember that.
FRIENDS THAT STAY CLOSE.
This year was a tumultuous one in the friendship department. I found it hard to make meaningful new ones, and long-distance tested the strength of some, forcing me to learn the hard way that moving from one country to another does have more cons than pros when it comes to friendships. It also does, however, have the ability to test and prove to you which people in your life are in it for the long haul. Some relationships are proven by distance and time to be fickle and a lot more fragile than expected while others thrive in the challenge of surviving in different time zones.
It takes a lot of work though, a lot of video chats on Sunday afternoons, WhatsApp messages that have no beginning or ending, and hours getting caught up on every single detail that you can possibly squeeze up into a phone call. This year certainly thought to keep my real friends close. Those friends that support you always and know your worst habits and failures like the back of their hands. Those friends that still complete your sentences many years later – yes, those are the ones you should hold close. Always.
SONGS THAT MEND MY HEART.
When I listen to music, I listen for more than a good time. I listen to every inch of a song. Every single heartbeat that hides in the track, even the ones faded and lost in the background. Every single lyric, I tear apart, breakdown, and dissect, until there is nothing left to wonder about. My favourite songs are the ones that tend to still leave questions lingering in the back of my mind. I also love songs that transport me back to a memory, a feeling or a time when things were simpler or just different.
Music to me is more than chords and word put together like a puzzle to be played on repeat. It’s so much more. It sweeps my problems under the rug for a while and lets me float round on top of it.
There is nothing I love more than a song that makes me feel something or one that fits exactly right into where I am in life; a song that makes me feel understood, seen or less alone. I’m grateful for music every. single. year.
FLIGHTS THAT TOOK ME CLOSE TO MY DREAMS.
My childhood dream of travelling to New York came to fruition only a couple weeks ago as many of you would already know. I wrote extensively documenting every day I spent in the big city that blinded me with its lights. I pinched myself and jumped out of my skin more times than I can count and if that huge tick off my bucket list isn’t enough to be thankful, then I don’t know what is. The adventure didn’t stop there though as I also was able to visit the state of Vermont and spend a day in Canada – all things I was doing for the first time.
I got to stand in the middle of time square, stare down at New York City from the top of the Empire State building and experience life in Burlington. I got to do the things I imagined and beyond. It was a pretty big deal for me, and I hope that wherever I find myself in the future, I never forget that feeling of immense gratitude that those trips brought.
A FIRST-CLASS TICKET TO THE REAL WORLD.
I’ve said this before; this was probably the biggest year of my life yet. I went from hallways and seminar classes to a stage that meant I was now deemed ready for the real world. I graduated this year! It was very overwhelming as you already know from all my ranty posts about feeling lost and life not being what I expected. I found myself looking for ways to cope with the unknown and found solace in the Adulting podcast and people who told me I’d figure the rest out.
I bagged myself a first-class degree in multimedia journalism and although I’m still unsure where that will lead me, I’m pretty sure that’s something to celebrate.
HARD LESSONS THAT BURST THE BUBBLE.
It was a year that felt extremely short to me in many ways, and yet, it was the year that saw me with many tales I could tell. I learnt so much this year; a lot of realisations that hit real hard, opened my eyes to real life, and may have destroyed any sort of ‘fairy-tale’ idea of life I still had. At some point, the bubble has to burst right? It sure did this year.
I learnt more about people, more about how they should treat you and how they react when things don’t go their way. I got to see myself in a new light; my strengths, my weakness and all in between. I know there’s always going to be a lot I’m yet to find out, but I don’t know why, for some reason, I feel like I have an advantage now that will come in handy in the new year.
ALL THE LITTLE THINGS.
My late mornings at the gym, my third cup of Four Red Fruits tea in the middle of the night and the tv show I’m binge-watching currently; all these are the little things that keep me sane all through the year. It is often hard to even notice the little things that bring me joy on the daily sometimes as life is always moving so fast it barely gives me a moment to look up and embrace the sky.
A BLOG THAT HOLDS MY HEART TOGETHER.
It’s been over a year now since I started this blog with little to no expectations. I wasn’t entirely sure of what I was doing and for a long time I was just winging it and hoping at some point it would make sense and I would start seeing some kind of results. As I’ve said before, blogging is not as easy as it might appear to be. For me, there has been countless sleepless nights and weeks plagued with writer’s block. There has been a decline in numbers and thoughts of giving up and letting the whole thing go. I never did though.
I never gave up because this blog is for me an outlet to express, my thoughts, feelings and emotional scars. It’s my attempt to feel understood and to enable others to know they aren’t as alone as they think they are. That’s the reason why I didn’t hold back when I wrote about the struggles that come with Adulting, Losing Friends, Disability, Cancel Culture and the chase for relatability online.
This is cathartic and that’s why I do it.
As much as I love to write and as I just said this blog is an outlet of expression for me, I have to acknowledge the fact that YOU are one of the biggest reasons why I keep doing this on an open platform. I mean, I could also just write a diary, couldn’t I?
There is nothing more exciting to me than to hear someone say that what I write speaks to them. I’m grateful for YOU who have shown me that it is enough to be real. It is enough to be honest, candid and raw.
Are YOU down to stay real with me for a long time? Cause I’m in – ALL in.
Your restless romantic roamer
Pictures taken in Montréal, Canada