2016 was hard.
But so is every year, if you think about it.
You forget for a while what the “worst” feels like...then it happens. It gets better… then the “worst” strikes again; it’s a cycle. At least for me it’s been like that.
For a while now, I’ve been pretty vocal about negativity. Specifically that I hate it. I hate complaining. I hate Debbie Downers. I hate pessimism. And I hate apathy.
Someone once told me that they were drawn to me because I cared so much. And in first year university, I wasn’t really sure what he thought I cared so much about since he had only known me then. In high school, I was heavily involved in Student Council, charity work, volunteering and pay it forward initiatives (thanks Mr. Kuniss). But in university, that ceased. I felt guilty for taking a “break” but moreso, guilty that I was happy to focus on other things. I cared more about friends, activities, experiences, academic goals and career aspirations. I never wanted to admit it, but I sort've became that apathetic person. It was no excuse but I was intimidated. I was going to class with people more knowledgeable about the issues, what has been done, what could be done… They were majoring in Political Science and International Relations—things that I thought I needed to be good at (which I was far from) to be one of those people. But looking back, for me, caring about something meant I was passionate about it. And if I didn’t feel that passion, I walked away.
Maybe it’s the Gemini in me that goes from not caring at all to caring too much, and vice versa. If I look back specifically at this past year, you can categorize my actions under either “all in” or “fear of confrontation.”
Hiding in my room. Spontaneous travel. Not doing things. Saying too much. Moving to a new city. Saying nothing at all. Giving it a try. Cutting it off.
I only recently realized that my more meaningful actions were the ones that balanced the two. When I think about it, the “all in” moments were a product of the latter—distracting myself because I was afraid of confronting a real issue, which of course always catches up with you.
There were many points in 2016 that I didn’t feel like myself. But whether it was sadness or stress, I failed to let myself pause to address it.
“You tell yourself that you’re running towards some goal, chasing some rush, but really you run because the alternative, stopping, scares you to death.”
So I ran.
But then someone else told me more recently, that they were drawn to me because of my appetite for life. What I joked about as running, someone else saw as yearning—yearning for adventure, the challenge, the bright side, the good. And with that, I understood a little more why I hated negativity so much. Because for me, if I stopped in my "worst" moments, I stayed there. And when I stayed, I self-sabotaged and would run the wrong way just to avoid another hypothetical “worst” moment in the future.
So for 2017, I'm telling myself to run—Run straight towards the things that have scared me the most this past year: Loss. Rejection. Judgement. Uncertainty. And, Hope.
I’ve forced myself to not have Hope for the past while so as to not be disappointed. But it’s that very Hope that fuels who I am and why I care.
So here we go.
Running, all in.