It was the best of years, it was the worst of years. 2011 will be remembered as one of the single most defining years of my life. This year threatened repeatedly to break me, burn me, and blow away the ashes. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety that, in the second half of this year, threatened to reverse all of the work I had done for myself and for my academic career. There were points when I thought I couldn't go on, or that I just wouldn't. There were times when I thought disappearing was the only solution. There were times I thought failing was inevitable and destruction ideal. I lost friends that I thought would always be by my side and I gained friends that I know will be. After almost seven wonderful years, Karl and I broke up. It wasn't working but it broke my heart. I lost a lover but recovered my best friend. I got into honours at Melbourne University, something I have long dreamt of accomplishing.
I learned more about myself and other people this year than I have in my entire life. I realised I am stronger and more beautiful than I give myself credit for. I realised that my anxiety will not own nor destroy me. I realised that sometimes, things don't work out how you intended them to and that there is a good reason why. I learned that I will never truly be alone in this world.
I learned that it is the painful experiences that allow us to grow and understand ourselves. It was a painful year but I wouldn't do anything any differently because I feel that now, in my 25th year, I know myself better than I ever have.
I have a good feeling about 2012. I will be experiencing many things for the first time: I will be living alone, studying at Melbourne University and navigating the dating world. I exit 2011 with a sense of accomplishment and growth and enter 2012 with positivity and pride...and probably a hangover.