// 2016, the most emotionally and mentally challenging year of my life. //
Nothing could’ve prepared me for what lied ahead at the beginning of 2016, I’m not only talking about my academic and professional life, it was my personal life what really got disrupted. Over this past year, my deepest passions, dreams and plans got shattered, re-shaped, or absolutely destroyed, and with them, a piece of me.
Some people say that real growth comes in the aftermath of highly stressful life events. You really can’t avoid it, it’s when you’re forced to face reality, when you’re left exposed, that you grow, become more complex, more real. I truly believe I’ve grown more in the past few months than what I’ve grown in my entire life. I learned tough life lessons, lessons that kicked me to the ground with no mercy, expecting me to get up and fight… and it took everything in me to not lose heart, to stay focused, and to push through.
The aftermath is something I longed for, because there was no coming back, what was done was done, and the only thing I had to hold on to was the promise of something better, the hope for happiness, and the idea of an opportunity for myself, for my dreams, and for my future.
Experiencing the concept of uninterrupted sadness was maybe the hardest part. I had to learn to put my life, and my thoughts, in boxes inside my mind, and address them one at the time, otherwise I just couldn’t breathe. This gave me back some sort of control, that I so intensely longed for.
I’ll never forget those twenty-something blocks I walked under the New York rain during the summer, desperately holding on to my phone, as the dearest but toughest voice told me “You’re stronger than this”. Learning that I’m strong and brave was also hard to hear for some reason, I still haven’t gotten used to it, but it’s becoming more and more real as the aftermath sinks in.
Those who then showed me their kindest side, a warm embrace, and genuine advice, are now demanding me more, as they ought to. Now, the idea of tomorrow is not as somber as it was before. Even if the daily struggle is so very real, I owe it to the people who stood by me to try, to work hard, and to be happy. “The mind is very powerful. Positive mindset, positive actions”.
At the end, it was the unconditional love of true friends and dear family what kept me going, you know who you are. To you I’ll be forever in debt, and I’ll hold you tight, near my heart forever.
This is the aftermath, where peace slowly starts to appear, in spite of the uncertainty of tomorrow.