A Year of Questions

Originally posted December 31, 2015.

2015 did not go as expected. Actually, that’s inaccurate because I didn’t have any true expectations for the year. Mainly I wanted to obtain the ever-elusive feat of “getting my shit together.” In January I turned 23, which is the age Tar Heels (or any Michael Jordan aficionado) call their “Jordan year” as a way to honor the GOAT and pretend turning 23 is exciting. But I didn’t have an actual plan. And I didn’t set goals. And I didn’t even know exactly what I thought getting my shit together should look like. Needless to say, that is not how champion years are achieved.

When I returned to Chapel Hill for homecoming in November, I felt like I was in the exact place I had been in a year before. While it looked like that at the surface, I realized that assessment is the product of negative thinking. In reality, much has changed over the past year, and many of those changes and accomplishments are results of decisions I made regarding what to do, how to handle a situation, and when to move forward. The decisions, accomplishments, and changes were usually not easy, or pretty, and sometimes they weren’t good, but they are mine.

This has been a year of hard-learned lessons, experiences, and progress. Amongst many other events, I traveled in and out of the U.S., reached my one-year anniversary at my first full-time professional job, had a relationship and dealt with its fall out, saved money by living in my parents’ proverbial literal basement, grew closer with my younger sister, volunteered as an advisor for a stint, maintained close friendships with people strewn across the country, and published an article via RDECOM. The lessons are still being learned, and the progress is still being made, but the experiences were impactful.

Despite everything that happened, or rather because of, the year elicited a slew of sometimes exciting but usually all-consuming, completely overwhelming questions. Questions about the direction of my life, the content of my personhood, the impact I want to have on the world, who and what makes me happy. Most of these questions brought on more questions, such as: am I trapped by the idea of how I think my life “should” be going, at what point is the pressure I put on myself more paralyzing than motivating, how do I change the things I want to change? Finally, the most deafening and humbling question of them all: am I brave enough to achieve my own personal greatness?

These questions have run circuits in my mind for many months. I don’t know their answers, and I’m starting to realize that I might never know them. Not because I’m condemned to a life of uncertainty, but because life is a constant journey of self-creation, and the only way to continue to better ourselves is to ask questions, never become complacent, and accept our curiosities and fears with open arms.

The year 2015 is best categorized as a building year. It was not good. It was not bad. It was necessary. After all, Rome was not built in a day; J.K. Rowling was rejected a dozen times before publishing Harry Potter; and Michael Jordan didn’t initially make his high school Varsity team. I’m doing fine.

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