WHAT has 2019 taught you?”
I was scrolling through my twitter feed one night when I came across this question in the form of a picture. I scroll down a little bit further since curiosity killed my cat and I wanted to see what other people answered for something so simple yet so meaningful. One person retweeted the picture with an answer saying, “Cut out toxic people,” while another answered something along the lines of learning to love oneself. I shook my head a little after reading because I didn’t want to believe that this was all one year could teach a person. After thinking for a while I began to type out my own answer.
“You can’t stop change and growth from happening, so embrace both the good and the bad that it brings.”
After a few days, I realized that tweets about cutting out toxic people and self- love are more relatable since my tweet only gained two likes, but I’ve moved past that. I recalled not taking too long to think of an answer and not really thinking of what it meant to me. But now after reading it again and again, I start to see how much of myself I put into those 19 words.
The last semester of school was filled with stress, pressure, anxiety-provoking situations, and many more words that would describe just how messed up it was. Nothing was getting easier and at some point, it all felt like it was going downhill. My grades were decreasing just as steadily as the workload was increasing. Lessons also began to get harder, proving that my study methods and work ethics just weren’t going to cut it. I was always tired and whatever confidence and self-esteem I had before slowly left with my motivation. The only thing that kept me going was the thought of the break. Thoughts of being able to see my family and friends again, the idea of being able to go out, and of course the fact that I could come home at night and not have to worry about the things that I needed to do.
Now that it has been a week into my Christmas break, I’ve had time to think about the war that was 1st semester. I slowly began to realize that amid all the hardships and struggles faced, nothing came without a lesson to be learned. One of the things that I realized I have greatly improved on is my ability to speak to others who I don’t know. It has become easier for me to act and talk to people as well as keep a conversation going. I used to be terrified of making phone calls and setting appointments with people even if it was my own dentist. Now, I have experienced what it’s like to order 64 Jollibee Yum burgers over the phone with a Tagalog-speaking operator on the other side of the line for a school event. I have learned to establish good relations with my teachers and schoolmates so that hopefully, they’d be willing to help me when I need it as well. As a person who does not pride herself on being friendly and approachable, I would definitely say that I am more than glad that these opportunities and skills were developed this year.
Even if not all of my personal aspects have been improved, I would still say that a lot has changed within me since the beginning of the year. I used to be so scared and doubtful of the future and what it brings. Now, I know that one thing that is constant in life is change and growth. People never stop developing new values as well as improving old ones. A once alive and renowned psychologist named Abraham Maslow believed that human beings work towards perfection and self-actualization. Although both are rather long a shot for a student like me, I am quite contented with making small steps to growing as a person and changing for the better.
With shorter days and longer nights, 2019 is slowly coming to an end. Another 365 days are ahead of us, and that means another 365 chances to do something worthwhile. As a struggling adolescent I would say that if there is anything that 2019 has really taught me, it is that we never really run out of opportunities to become better versions of ourselves. Pain and struggles may come, but it is how we deal with such feelings that matters. As the new year approaches, let us not forget to be bold in taking chances to grow and become better and to embrace both the good and the bad that the future brings. (Contributed Article by Liz So)