23 was such a whirlwind year for me. I started 23 gallivanting around a foreign country completely amazed with my life. This year I was able to move to Jacksonville, finally be consistent with my blog, and improve my physical and mental health. Looking back I had some memorable high moments. But boy oh boy did the year as a whole suck.
I was forced to learn a lot about myself, what I can handle, and redefine my relationship with God. For every “win” that I shared on social media, there were at least 6 “I don’t know how I’m going to make it to tomorrow’s.” That’s a scary thing to admit. But, I’m better for every high and low that God decided to throw my way. Which is why I’m talking about the 3 biggest lessons I’ve learned this year in celebration of simply making it through.
1. Depression Isn’t a Bad Word
Depression is a chemical imbalance in your brain. It is not reflective of your personality, strengths, or weaknesses. I’m proud to say that I’m on anti-depressants to treat the chemical imbalance in my brain. Every time I take my anti-depressants I do a small celebration because I’m strong enough to get the help I need. For most of my 23rd year, and some of my 22nd to be honest, I ran from this word. I thought that it was weak of me to think that I could be facing depression. I didn’t like the looks that some people gave when discussing the topic and I didn’t want them to look at me like that. I didn’t want the world to see me as flawed when I had been working so hard to appear flawless. Through a series of events, I was forced to take a real look at myself and get the help that I need. I’ve been on anti-depressants for a little under 5 months now and I thank God every day for them. My depression, and at times crippling anxiety, had me facing some very low moments this past year, but I’ve survived them. Like I said, depression isn’t a bad word. It can be treated. If you think you’re going through depression or any other mental illness I encourage you to get the help that you need. You don’t have to do it alone.
2. The Only Person You Can Control is Yourself
Wow. If I could have a quarter for everytime that I cried over someone walking out my life or doing something that I didn’t agree with, I’d be very rich. I’m talking quit my job and move to Paris rich. I’d have it made. Now, most of these reactions were reflections of my depression but even as I’ve been on a path of getting healthier, I’ve found myself needing a moment because it didn’t go how I predicted in my head. I can’t control when someone decides that they don’t want to be in my life anymore. And I can’t control how someone else decides to express themselves or how they choose to live their life. I can only control how I respond to it. I can control how I move forward without them. What I will no longer do is apologize for the person that I am or the phenomenal woman I am becoming. Just like I can’t control what others do, it’s time for me to stop letting the reactions of others carry such a weight in my life.
3. It’s All About the Benjamins, Baby
I’ve always been decent with my finances. I know that bills need to be paid and I never spend money on wants without taking care of my needs. However, once I paid my bills I was kinda frivolous with my money. I’ve started budgeting my makeup, wine, and extra expenses and investing more of my money. The task of breaking down where my money was going every month was the hard part. While I don’t necessarily regret giving Sephora and other beauty companies tons of money this past year, I understand that it wasn’t exactly necessary. The time it took me to get adjusted to my latest budget was stressful, but I know that I’m better for it. I’m happy that I learned this lesson now instead of when I have a few dependents running around.
In the end, 23 was a beautifully stressful year. Do I wish that I didn’t have to learn some of these lessons the hard way? Sure. But am I happy that I’ve made it through my trials and tribulations? Absolutely.