2015: A Year Worth Forgetting & Remembering In Equal Measures

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2015 has indeed been a turbulent and life-changing year for me personally (and for the world at large).

Even New Year’s Day didn’t quite start off right and already 2015 had hurriedly ushered in new fears, new disasters and new heartache for humanity. It never takes very long… We like to think that the world starts again when the clock strikes twelve, that we have a clean slate but really, it just keeps turning much as it ever has and we keep on turning right along with it.

Still, the weather was blissfully hot, with long, stifling days and warm summer nights, I was still enjoying the last month of my uni. break and I was ready and rearing to go in the new year and this, it’s first month. I made a lot of resolutions – and I hope that I have kept a few of them.

Then, in February, I started my second year of uni, the infamous year of dread wherein you can no longer be excused for being ‘new to the system’ like in your first year or enjoy the perks of almost being done with studying like in third- or fourth-year. Also, my classmates and my favourite lecturer decided it would be a great idea to nominate me as class rep… I accepted {I have trouble saying no to requests} – and I haven’t stopped kicking myself for it since. 😛

Sometime during all that, I also allowed myself to get emotionally drunk in the so-called ‘month of love’ and I attended my very first music concert (shout out to The Script) all in the space of two weeks. Oh, and I turned twenty-one… I guess that’s worth a mention since it honestly felt as momentous as everyone has always made it out to be. (What they don’t tell you is that shit gets real in the process too… You’ve been forewarned, ‘young ones’.)

Reaching adulthood and knowing that, in so doing, purely by default, I instantly had more responsibilities thrust upon my shoulders wasn’t particularly reassuring but it wasn’t as terrifying as I thought it would be either… Even though it made me realise that sometimes, age does not simply represent a number, but rather, a turninng point in our lives.

I expected March to be easier, gentler, even… But March was a right bitch. I made the difficult decision to end two important friendships and spent most of my nights swimming in a bed of guilty, angry tears as a result and already, I was beginning to see why the second-year uni. was nothing to knock. I was stressed out of my mind and terrified all at the same time as my mother’s health became a constant worry. In fact, I don’t think I laughed or smiled naturally about anything in March. I was holding my breath to a suffocating beat.

To make matters worse, my three-month-long travel blog was accidentally erased… And I hadn’t backed up a thing. (Note to self: Never fail to back-up your work. That is a stupid on a whole new level!) I honestly think I came pretty close to being depressed… I’m usually a happy-go-lucky person but I honestly didn’t recognise the person I became in March. All I know is, I hope I never meet her again as long as I live… She was a horrid, bitter and utterly hopeless individual.

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April looked like it might be better… And finally, one day it all was. I could breathe again, I had finished my first term, was pleased with how I had coped in it and my brother and his girlfriend gave me cause to feel excited again as they helped me set up a new and far more awesome travel blog all of my own. That was joy on a whole new level and cause to celebrate.

May rolled around and it was busy but it was okay too. It had some hard moments but I had many special things to treasure. Two weekends back home (a rarity for me) and a roadtrip with one of my best friends there and back again… Yeah, May was okay. 🙂

June was pretty busy. I had assignments to do over our month-long July break but I had survived First Semester and a particularly hard few months in my personal life too. That was something to be grateful for. I knew June and July promised little rest for the wicked though… And my, wasn’t I right? I had my first official driving lessons and spent a torrid few weeks frantically trying to prepare for my driver’s test.

I came up short and June – and July after it – were a pretty rough months as a result. I spent my break under a lot of stress and felt like an utter failure as far as my driving was concerned. It was too much, too soon but I returned to Cape Town for Term 3 feeling like I needed a serious holiday after my holiday! Talk about a kind of twisted irony.

To make matters worse, a week after my return to the city I learned that our friend/neighbour and the closest thing I had to a living grandfather figure passed away. I was heartbroken and shaken by the news. It was a sad and hard end to a lonely and stressful month. The only good to arise from June-July was learning I had passed First Semester with decent marks, if not as good as last year’s.

August started looking up… It was still really busy and I felt tired but I was starting to feel happier and much to my surprise, my travel blog was finally attracting attention, especially on Twitter. My simple reviews paid off big time and I connected with a PR couple, who started inviting me to exciting wine- and market-events. I was nervous about having to attend and cover social events professionally for the first time but it was a really exciting step in the right direction. Suddenly all that time and effort spent blogging was starting to reap small rewards. Baby steps.

And then, on a personal level, I reconciled with one of the most important people in my life after a break of three months… It was unexpectedly beautiful and took me by surprise. Catching up on each other’s lives was blissfully easy and I had my friend back when I never thought I would. More than that, I got to spend some quality time with my parents at various events in and around Cape Town and August was, all-in-all, a good and largely happy month.

September was a killer… I was encountering great stress every which way I turned and my family was on constant tenterhooks waiting for my mum’s cancer test results. It got so bad that I could barely function most days and I withdrew almost entirely into myself but then, finally, we got the results back and she was given the all clear… I knew I would cry either way, good or bad and so I did. The relief was indescribable. As far as my studies were concerned, we were really getting busy as the final term loomed and I think we all started worrying about the end-of-year results and whether we’d pass certain individual second-year subjects.

Not only that, I wasn’t coping with the added pressures of my class rep. duties… I really felt like I had bitten off more than I could chew there and begged to be allowed to resign. My request was denied. Thrice.

I’m not someone who gives up on anything easily but I came very close to giving up on so much in September. I was depressed again and battling emotionally… Honestly, it was rough and I think I came perilously close to a nervous breakdown but I am blessed with many amazing people in my life and their care, support, belief and understanding carried me through, as did my own, quiet never-say-die attitude. I always joke and say I’m too stubborn to die… I’m too stubborn for most things but for once, it proved to be a good attribute because it prevented me from throwing in the towel and admitting defeat.

Ah, then came dear ol’ October… It was a month of turmoil and drama, of unexpected joys and hidden beginnings. It was also a frustrating and chaotic month, which was certainly not aided by our two weeks off from uni. due to nationwide student fee protests. #FeesFell and so did a lot of other things. It was my fall-from-grace month and yet another one wherein I had trouble recognising and accepting the person I had become. It was our ‘hurry up and wait’ month when we needed to finish off a ridiculously constant stream of final assignments and tests. But it had its great moments too. I actively explored the city and took to enjoying weekends out in the glorious spring/would-be summer weather. At times, my soul and mind felt healed and I was physically reaching new heights.

Enter, November… My academic year finished two weeks after it was supposed to but honestly, I got lucky. Many other students were less fortunate in this regard… I at least managed to squeeze in the last of my work and joyously pack up my life in eager anticipation of a return home for three much-needed months of seclusion, relative quiet and slow-paced life out in the countryside where I can lie in my bed and see stars burning at night instead of orangey city lights or walk endless fields of gold and drive along open country roads during the day, as opposed to having to navigate traffic-congested roads and cement streets. I love my city – but I love my countryside too and I will always be a country gal at heart.

November has been a topsy-turvy kind of month… I forced my mind to focus just long enough to revise for my final test week but it was no easy task, since I was incredibly homesick and in holiday mode by mid-November. Still, there were other personal joys… And a lot I needed to make right with myself and others. November has taught me some hard lessons… But it has given me beautiful moments and late night conversations too. It has given me freedom and ‘home sweet home’.

Tomorrow, the final month of 2015 will dawn, bringing with it its own set of joys and sorrows, of this I have no doubt… It’ll be a long December but it will do me good. I need to do some soul searching, read good books and learn how to smile at life’s most simple pleasures again. To breathe and allow life to run its course without allowing panic and fear to dictate my person and unnerve my inner calm, which has forgotten what it means to be calm.

But whatever happens in this last month, there’s reason to believe that next year will be better than the last… and with it, I need to learn to be better too, for the sake of those I love as much as my own. I lost myself this year… It may have been gradually or all at once but either way, it’s time to find that happy-go-lucky girl again… and that has been the hardest battle I have faced this year.

In this year, I have been betrayed, lied to and rejected in ways I never thought humanly possible and these self-same things, which I would not wish upon my worst enemy, I have inflicted upon many of the select few whom I love most in this world.

Personally, I have shown the deepest, most intimate parts of my mind and soul to people. I have cried, sworn, raged and felt the worst, darkest kinds of emotion known to mankind.

I have hurt those I love and fallen short more often than I can readily recall and have had much cause for personal regret and self-guilt.

But I have found (and lost) the fullest, most beautiful kinds of love and have learned that sometimes, just because people do not love us in a way we would like them to, does not mean they do not love us with all that they have to give us. In hindsight, I love those people more as a result.

You see, I have also been forgiven and protected, even when I was most unworthy of it.

I have had people stand by me and utterly refuse to give up on me no matter how hard I have tried to push them away to stop the pain (so much of which has been entirely self-inflicted) and even though I cannot fathom their logic, I am exceedingly grateful and humbled by their loyalty and faith in me, especially when they have so often misplaced it in me.

It is people such as these who have kept me going and who continue to inspire me to greater goodness and a more heavenly, unconditional love. These are people who don’t give up on me… No matter how hopeless or lost I become and who fight to stay in my life. These are the people who make my life worth living and have done and continue to do so, in this year most especially.

I have made some really shitty calls, have neglected so many people who mean the absolute world to me and I have failed those I love as much as myself more times than I care to count.

In all likelihood, I will make many of these same mistakes again next year but there isn’t a single moment I have spent with those close to me that I have cause to regret – no matter whether I’ve wanted to cry, laugh or ‘murder’ them for how they’ve made me feel and I, them.

I have spent the most amazing nights with people who mean everything to me. I have laughed from my belly and smiled not of my own volition but rather because of their happiness, laughter and victories, which have meant more to me than mine ever could.

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This year, I have loved fiercely and urgently but never hastily or without justification and I do not wish to take back one ounce of the love that I have so freely given out. (Not everyone who needs to see this will and even if they do, they will never know how much I have loved and needed them this year.)

Sure, this year has held heartaches and false friends and sorrows dearly bought… and plenty at that.

Still, be that as it may, I wouldn’t give back a single day of life lived in 2015 because every day has taught me something I often forget: that the world, for all its heartaches and calamities, is an undoubtedly beautiful place, filled with so many good people (and yes, they still outnumber the bad…) and as humans, we are incredibly resilient creatures. We’re flawed and imperfect, sometimes we’re broken and sometimes we’re bent – but through it all, we have the potential for so much good and the strength of character, of mind, body and soul to keep on keeping on.

And for each curse, there have been untold blessings, for my joys and true friends and truly good people have amounted to more than ever before – and so, for all these reasons and so many more, 2015 has been a year worth forgetting and remembering in equal measure… And I can’t forget the most important bit of all: it’s not done with us yet. 🙂

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Posted from WordPress for Android by T.A.Ryan

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