You always think it’s going to be easier, growing up.

When you’re ten, you look at all the adults in your life and think “wow – being a grownup looks so much fun”. In theory, it is. You can eat cookies for breakfast, sleep until noon on the weekends, and never make your bed. The problem is, no one tells you that your problems get more complex.

You want that cookie for breakfast? Go ahead, but if you eat like that every day you’ll get fat. You want to sleep until noon? Go ahead, but you’ll feel lazy all day and your sleep schedule will get messed up. You don’t want to make your bed? You’ll never figure out if your sheets are clean and, honestly, there’s something soothing about coming home after a long day to a well made bed.

Problems never go away. We can burry them, disguise them, avoid them, but they never disappear. They lurk under the surface, waiting to come to light.

2020 has been a difficult, yet wonderful, year for many. It has changed the way we look at life. With movements, such as the Black Lives Matter and Climate Change protests erupting throughout the world, the way we understand life has begun to change. Our thoughts, ideas, and beliefs are constantly being challenged. COVID-19 has changed the way we appreciate what we have – I speak for myself when I say I appreciate the time spent with family and friends in ways I never would have before. I also appreciate strep throat tests in a way I never thought I would, because getting a swab stuck up your nose is way worse than a strep test.

I’ve watched friends get married, watched people buy new houses and boats, watched individuals take a step towards something new. I’ve gained new friends, lost old ones, and challenged the way I handle my own life. I’ve started yoga, starter therapy (again), started trying to better myself for a lifetime ahead.

Yet I can’t help but remember that I thought growing up meant life got easier. I thought the problems would be easier to handle. I didn’t realize that yes, you get older, but the problems you have are messier. Arguments with friends hit deeper, secrets get darker, and owning your truth gets harder. The judgement bestowed upon you by people gets tougher, adventures get more expensive, and rejection hurts deep. It’s easy, looking back at all you’ve overcome, wishing life could be that simple – yet living in each moment, it never looked that simple. It was always difficult, you just had to figure out how to move forward.

Reflecting on the last twelve months, I wish life could’ve been easier. This has been (as cliche as it sounds) the most challenging year of my life. It’s also been the most rewarding. An easier life means you don’t grow, you aren’t challenged, you aren’t forced out of your comfort zone. When I think of the person I was when I moved to the Boston area all those months ago, she seems like a completely different person. That’s okay.

When I think of the person who moved back from London all those years ago, she is a completely different person. My goals, the way I carried myself, was completely different. And that’s okay.

We go through challenging days, months, and years because growing isn’t easy. If it was easy, everyone would be the perfect version of themselves. We grow and develop and mature into the next version of ourselves because we need to. I may not like every decision I’ve made this year, but I’ve learned. I’ve learned from every right, and wrong, decision…and that’s all I can do.

But I also have to remember to be grateful. I have a job that I love, a family that has remained healthy, friendships that have weather a rough storm, and a roof over my head. I have a roommate who has kept my fish alive, clients who sing my praises, family members who constantly remind me that they are proud of me, and have seen so much of the world. Life is difficult, but it’s beautiful. Life is hard, but it’s miraculous.

As 2020 comes to a close, I have two goals for the next year that I hope to accomplish:

  1. I hope I breathe more. I hope I relax. I hope I stop thinking so much and start to ‘smell the roses’. I hope I stop comparing myself to others around me. We are all at different places in the journey of life, that it can be hard not to compare ourselves. I hope I am kinder to myself in this aspect. I hope I live a little more freely, a little more wild, and a little more in the moment.
  2. I hope I own it. I hope I own my feelings, my truth, my moments. I hope that I tell people how I feel. I hope that I learn to accept that I am not perfect, that no one is perfect, that putting a pressure on myself to be something (or someone) I am not is unhealthy. I hope I own my successes, and my mistakes. By owning my life a little more, I hope I enjoy life a little more.

Happy New Years Eve-Eve. Call the ones you love. Hug the ones you can. Know that yes, life is hard, but it’s beautiful. Be vulnerable. Speak your truth. Put your wants and needs first. Be afraid, but be wild. There’s nothing more beautiful than being wild.

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