January 1st, 2016
There is a part of me that does not long to do a reflection because there is no way that I can convey everything that I have gone through and learned in this year without feeling like there could be a better way to do it. There are so many others things I could write instead: Letters to people I haven’t talked to in a while, thank you notes to teachers, lists of goals I want to accomplish for 2016, a bucket list, a list of my favorite bands, and it goes on and on. Yet, here I am writing something that I promised myself that I would do every single year to chronicle my personal growth, but now seems kind of narcissistic.
I’m still figuring myself out. I look at some things I’ve written only one year ago and cringe at some of the things I’ve said. Perhaps next year I will feel exactly the same way about this year. The experiences I had, the places I been, the things I learned, the things I accomplished, the things I have never said but wish I did— they’re all going to be a blur one day. Writing and reflecting on this is the closest I’ll be to experiencing the passing moments of my life again.
At this very moment of reflection, I can confidently say that 2015 was the best and most significant year of my life.
2014 was about learning self worth and self acceptance, realizing that I don’t have to hate myself and gouge my value on other people. This year was more about learning to love life and practicing how to be more selfless and living with the intention of thinking more about others and not myself.
I’m flashing back to the beginning of 2015, it feels like so long ago. I was at Santa Barbara, second quarter, still adjusting. I was hating my roommate, trying so hard to get good grades to go to USC, starting to feel more comfortable in EPIC but never really feeling a sense of true belonging, starting to hate Communications and wondering why that was even my major, considering going into Psych if the whole USC thing didn’t work out but not really sure if it was for me, and still slightly bitter and heartbroken from September 2014 and hating myself for still feeling that way after so much time has already passed.
There’s this thing about sadness that I felt during this time in my life. It was a deep reservoir inside my body that refilled itself as if by magic, never ending. It was insecurity, anxiousness, and bitterness, that constantly flowed into my life and though I tried building dams to keep it at bay, still found a way to get to me, no matter how strong or how high enough I thought they were. You think, things will be okay. Everything will be okay. Then, the waves swell and crash and crash and crash against the walls you built to protect yourself, the walls that you build to pretend that you’re fine and suddenly you’re drowning, the water of the depression pulling you under, filling your lungs, blinding and deafening you with its noiseless seduction.
I was like that for a really long time, mostly around April and May, when I started writing on my Tumblr three things that were good about everyday (unslumping series) in order to stop myself from forever falling victim to my sea of self-pity and desperation. It wasn’t always so bad, some of my closest friends at SB are some of the best people you’ll ever meet. But, you can be around the best people in the world and still be unhappy when you’re alone in your room at the end of the day if your joy doesn’t come from within yourself. Praying and trying really hard to seek community really helped me. And I had not been Christian for that long of a time, but I truly know that it was during these times where I felt like drowning, those were the times I felt more of God’ love and Light than I ever did before.
The Light is getting a terrible fever on my 19th birthday but still having some great friends celebrate and eat with me despite feeling dead inside. its having people to share your feelings with in the middle of the night and study until sunrise with at the Davidson Library with a coffee and blueberry muffin. The Light is randomly meeting your future discipler in the car on the way to spring retreat and forming a meaningful friendship where two very similar people can sharpen each other through Christ. Its forgetting to wake up for your final and your friends coming into your room to wake you up. It’s getting the acceptance package from your dream school in the mail on the last day they send out letters and crying and crying and crying. It’s a better and improved relationship with my mom and my brother. It’s finding small reasons to be happy about life every single day. My third quarter at Santa Barbara was definitely my favorite one.
The summer of 2015 was constantly spent outside of my comfort zone. Rural Taiwan, humid, no wi-fi, tiring, frustrating. But also, rewarding, exciting, new, and always interesting. Li Xin Junior High School, I will always remember you and miss you even if you made me realize I never want to be a teacher.
Fast-forward to the first semester of my sophomore year of college. It was hard at times, but these have definitely one of the best five months of my life. I just absolutely love this school. I feel like coming to USC was one of the best things that happened to my life. In a lot of ways, I felt like I started my freshman year of college over again, in terms of adjusting to a new social and learning environment. The difference is that I’ve spent a huge majority of my time alone and learned a lot about being independent, about the difference of being alone and being lonely, and know a lot more about self-discipline than I did before. Being around a bunch of people who have the similar goals and are as passionate, if not more passionate about the same things, really pushed me to put in more effort and achieve a lot more than I ever thought that I could. I really enjoy most of the people I’ve met in annenberg, in intervarsity, and just around school. It’s so funny (and by funny I mean amazing) how everything falls into place right when you think everything is shattering.
There are people in the back of my mind that i talk to less now, but still think about often. Some i have hurt, some that have hurt me. I’m sorry to the person that deserved our dream more than I did and didn’t get it too, I hope you know that you are and will continue achieve so much in your life wherever you are. I’m sorry to my first friend on campus that we were both emotionally unstable and couldn’t support each other. I’m sorry to people that I might have lashed out at for simply having a bad day. I’m sorry that I can be a pushy person sometimes.
I’m still learning how to be a better person. If you have ever hurt me, I forgive you too. I want to believe that we are all just humans trying to be better people. Hoping 2016 will be the year that you do everything that you have always wanted with your life.
This ended up being much longer post than I anticipated, so thank you for reading up until this point. Excited for winter break and to be doing some decluttering, road-tripping to san diego (?), reading until the early hours, compiling my favorite quotes, exploring nice cafes and cool walls, re-watching my favorite television series again and again, and spending time with my family and catching up with old friends. The best is yet to come.