growing pains

This year was insane. 2016 had so many ups and downs that I couldn’t even keep track at a certain point. I started this year off, and spent the first eleven months of it, not doing very well. I wasn’t happy with myself. The mental battles I’ve faced this year have been deep.

I know a lot of people are writing things about how bad 2016 was and how badly they want it to be over with. Trust me, I can’t wait for the ball to drop. But I’m going to write ten things that happened to me this year, and what I learned from them.

I left my basketball team mid-season… This was a crazy thing that no one ever expected from me. Basketball was my everything. It was the only sport I loved and the only reason I forced myself to go to school during that season. Leaving was one of the hardest things I’ve ever decided to do. Doing so, however, taught me that the bonds you form from high-school sports are much stronger than I expected. I was shocked that even though my name wasn’t on the roster anymore, and I was no longer going to that school, the girls still accepted me and allowed me to come to practice everyday until the end of the season.

I switched schools in-between semesters… The reason I had to leave the basketball team was because I decided to go back to homeschooling. This taught me that every decision you make changes the direction of your life at different levels. This just happened to be a big, big change.

I wanted to join the Military… Hah. I wanted to get away from Michigan so bad that I was willing to join the Military in order to do it. This was a lesson I’ll never forget— you can’t escape your problems, you must fight through them.

I graduated early… I hated school. High-school was hell for me. I wanted out of there as fast as I could. I did the research and figured out how I could work ahead and get all my classes done before summer ended. I did it. This helped me realize that my work ethic is strong. It taught me that if I want something bad enough, I can get it if I work hard enough.

I wished I wouldn’t have graduated early… I spent many hours hitting myself for making that decision. I’d pulled myself away from my friends and was now alone. But I now know that you can’t go back in time. When you do something, it’s final. Learn to live with it and move on.

I went through bad depression… After I left school I got super bad. I had no idea what the hell I was going to do and I just allowed myself to suffer. This lasted until December— not even a month ago. There comes a point when you realize the depression just isn’t worth your time anymore. So you change for the better. But you must also realize that it will eventually come back. And I’ve accepted that everything can’t always be negative, and it definitely won’t always be positive.

I started meditating… This was something I’d always considered stupid. Once I felt like I had nowhere else to turn, I finally gave in and tried it. It turned out incredible. Trying new things is great; whether it’s food, hobbies, jobs, whatever. It might just end up changing your life— and this did.

I started working out everyday… I wasn’t happy with myself at all for a really long time leading up to 2016, and it all just went even more downhill as this year progressed. I came to a point where I couldn’t take it anymore, so I did something about it. This was eye-opening for me because I realized it’s not magic. If you want to change you have to actually put in the work. Regardless of the situation, the work can only be done by you. And once you start seeing results, it’s almost impossible to stop.

I lost and made friends… People are going to come and go out of your life. Some of them are meant to stay longer than others; some are meant to stay forever. I’ve met some incredible people this year, and I’ve also lost some really important ones. It’s okay to let people go from your life. 100% of the time that person taught you some sort of lesson, and that’s what life is all about. Let those experiences help you and move on from them.

I changed… This last month I feel like I’m a completely different person. It almost feels like it’s happened overnight. People change. You are allowed to change. You don’t have to be the same person you were a year ago, a month ago, a day ago, or even a second ago. The reason we are put on this earth is to grow. So grow, and don’t let anyone tell you that you and your opinions aren’t allowed to change.

All in all, this year was rough, and it was long, and it was hard. But I’ve never grown as much in a year as I have this one. The lessons I’ve learned are endless and I’m continuing to learn everyday. Don’t back down and run or hide from change. Things are changing every second and there isn’t a damn thing we can do about it. Instead, try and accept things—good or bad— for what they are and use them to your advantage.

-Kelsi

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