2022 has been a rollercoaster of a year for me — if not for everyone else as well. It’s packed full with some of the best memories I’ve made yet. From making amazing new friends, to seeing some great live music and visiting new places, there’s so much to love about this year. But the sun doesn’t shine forever, meaning that I also had some of my lowest and most lonely moments in 2022. There’s so much good and bad to unpack, but I won’t bore you with the particulars. Even though I felt like I was being thrown back and forth a lot, I managed to make it through all right — and I’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way.
For those of you who might be feeling just a little bit lost right now, don’t worry, I was in your shoes too. Just know that it doesn’t last forever, and that happiness comes out to shine too! If it helps any, here’s some lessons I learned, maybe you’ll find the value in them too. Or at least find some peace in knowing that you aren’t alone and things will turn out just fine.
Not everyone is meant to be in your life forever
To be completely honest, this was the hardest lesson for me to come to terms with. I absolutely hate change; truly I can’t stand it. Seeing all my high school friends go out into the world and leave our small suburb lives really hit me hard. I felt like my life was falling apart in front of my eyes these past two years, but I’ve come to understand that some people fall out of your life for a reason. They served their purpose, not to say that those friendships can’t be reignited in the future, but the person you’re becoming and the person they’re becoming are headed in completely different directions at the moment. New people will come into your life, and just maybe they’ll serve an even greater purpose you couldn’t have even imagined. While it’s hard to let go, sometimes it’s necessary (even just temporarily) to make room for new and important people in your life as you grow.
It’s ok to say no
Just like change, I’m absolutely terrible with confrontation — even if it’s friendly and well-intended. I get nervous, shaky and so thrown out of my element that I try to seek the quickest way out. Most of the time that results in me being put in a position I’m entirely uncomfortable and unhappy in. That’s why it’s so unbelievably important to get comfortable with saying “no” and standing up for yourself. I know it can be terrifying — trust me, it took me a while to build up the confidence — but it is worth it in the long run. Communication is important to any healthy relationship, whether it’s your family, friends, partner or roommates, it’s important to set boundaries where you see fit. So stand up for yourself, say “no” and engage in those mature conversations.
Life is too short to not do what you want
These past few years have been rough on everyone. Some of us have lost loved ones, we’ve experienced hardships or other detriments to our mental health. Life and happiness unfortunately doesn’t last forever, so hold onto those precious moments and take advantage of all those opportunities around you. If there’s something you’ve been wanting to do forever and it’s feasible, go do it! Don’t let your fears hold you back. The worst thing we can do for ourselves is sit back and regret not doing the things we truly wanted to experience. Having just moved out of my parents’ house for the first time, there’s so many amazing experiences I’ve had with friends that I wouldn’t trade for the world, so go out there and have fun (safely please)!
Everyone wants a friend to lean on
Some of us have a difficult time being vulnerable or trusting people, and that’s ok, but it’s also important to have people in your life to lean on. You can’t take on the world alone forever, so go out there and make friends — not in quantity but in quality. Having a small number of people who truly know you, care for your well-being and genuinely enjoy going through life with you is imperative to good mental health. I’d know, I spent the vast majority of the pandemic indoors and isolated, which only caused me to feel lonely and depressed. While I had my family, there are some things best shared with friends and amazing memories to make. Just remember, everyone wants a friend, so there’s no harm in putting yourself out there and seeing who you meet.
Life happens unexpectedly
I’m someone who relies on organization to a possibly unhealthy extent. I like having things planned out, so when things go off course, I tend to get very stressed out. It’s been hard for me to take some of the punches this past year has thrown at me, but with more experience, I’ve come to learn how to handle life’s unexpected moments just a little bit better. Sometimes some deep breaths and positive self talk will do the trick, other times a tub of chocolate ice cream is desperately needed and other days you need the support of your friends. Just know that despite all the craziness of life, you’ll be ok in the long run. Just get over this hurdle and you’ll be more prepared to tackle the next one.
As 2022 comes to a close, I hope you’re all taking some time to reflect on everything you’ve experienced this year and give yourself some grace. Life is tough, be proud you’ve made it this far and leap into 2023 with an excited and determined mindset!