It’s the last day of the year and the time that many reflect on their accomplishments and life lessons from the previous 365 days. 2015 has been a very transformative year for me. I’ve gone through many changes, mostly positive, and this has brought on some key lessons and an altered perspective on life, love, and overall well-being.
I began the year with a commitment to better myself financially. I closed out 2014 in a sea of debt; between student loans and credit cards, I felt like I couldn’t get ahead. With the emotional support of my partner, I was able to make some difficult adjustments and sacrifices. I began to budget and pay attention to where my money was going. This, coupled with a new position at work and an increase in freelance photography gigs, has led me to a more comfortable position. I’m not balling out of control, by any means, but all of my essentials are firmly covered. The overarching lesson of my financial challenges has taught me the importance of taking control to get the things you want and need. We must be persistent, focused, and driven at all times. Once your mind is focused on the correct goal, everything else will fall into place.
August 2015 brought on a major change. My partner and I decided to part ways. We were together for 2.5 years, engaged, and lived together. We mutually agreed to separate quietly and only share details with our closest connections. Details of our defunct relationship won’t be shared but those lessons came in multifold and were essential for growth.
I learned the cons of falling in love publicly. I am a social media personality, so I selectively share high points in my life. When we were in love, it was common for me to post pictures of flowers and gifts exchanged, snapshots of vacations, and all of the heart-warming stuff that gets people going. I don’t regret any of it because we were happy and that’s what we chose to do at the time.
The true downfall of this behavior came when we ended our partnership. Many assumptions were made when we no longer posted pictures of one another. I’ve had people study my profiles, notice my missing engagement ring, and then publicly question it as if they were entitled to an answer from me. We’ve both had people take screenshots of our solo activities online and send them to us, as if we were cheating on one another. It leads me to wonder if people are really looking out for us, or do they want a front row seat to drama — I’m going to bet on the latter option.
I’ve been using social media for a long time and none of this is surprising. When you share your life with strangers, they feel like they know you and that’s fine, until they begin to enlists their own participation in your story. It simply comes with the territory. Moving forward, depending on whom I date in the future, I will be more discreet with our relationship.
Following the separation, I moved into a place of my own. I’m 29 years old and I’ve never lived alone until now, I went from my parents’ home, to having roommates, to living with my ex-fiancé. I’d never felt the joy and peace that comes from total independence. I am now in a place where I don’t have to compromise, ask permission, or argue with anyone about petty details. Complete solitude is one of the greatest gifts. I love the prospect of walking around naked, turning the A/C as high or low as I want, playing music as loud as I desire, and doing as I please. I’m a very mutable person and that has always attracted people who feel they have to lead or take care of me. It was important that I disconnect from those people for the sake of my own sanity. I am now in complete control of the energy I have around me. I’ve turned my personal space in to safe haven to restore when I don’t want to deal with the negativity of the outside world.
I’m grateful and relieved I didn’t get married before experiencing something so precious as self-sufficiency and independence. I still believe in love and will try again, but for now, I love the single life. After experiencing a long-term commitment and its many demands, I’m more than pleased to do things my way.
After achieving a bit of financial freedom and reclaiming my independence, I decided to take on something that plagued me for the last five years: my weight. I was overweight; it was affecting my health and my confidence. I had high cholesterol, a Vitamin D deficiency, and issues with sleeping. I hated buying larger clothes and didn’t enjoy the way I looked. One day, I got real with myself and decided to commit to a healthier and more active lifestyle. I stopped making excuses and did what I needed to do to get results. In four months, I lost over 30lbs and I am so happy I made the decision and stuck with it. I feel great, I have tons of energy, a clean bill of health, and I enjoy shopping again —for smaller clothes.
This year has been great. There were struggles, yes, but overall I love who I’ve become. I faced many fears and challenges; I even achieved a very important and personal goal. Tonight, surrounded by loved-ones, I know that when we count down to 2016, a greater year is to come and you haven’t seen the last of me. I’m going to do some great things.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!