Originally posted 01 January 2012...
It's the same every year: you arrive at the family get-together only to be bombarded with the same half-a-dozen questions over and over and over. By the time the night is over, you can summarise the past year in 25 words or less. It's times like these where I wish my family would move on into the digital age already and just read my blog! But considering England may as well be the equivalent to Mars for some of my relatives, I didn't really go in expecting much.
But I love my family, and this year felt different somehow. 2011 really kicked my butt, but I came out stronger in the end. So when I found myself cornered by question-askers, I felt more confident in my answers. It wasn't the usual, "Yeah, school's great" sort of answers this time. Instead, I found myself delving into deeper, more philosophical discussions with my relatives, and learning to ask questions in return. It's surprising how much you can learn about a person by just reflecting their own questions back at them.
By the time the night was over, I had not only recounted my year in a paragraph or less on various occasions, but I was also told repeatedly that I seemed much more relaxed and confident than I had at past Christmas dinners. And even though 2011 was by-and-large a real pain, I realised that I had accomplished so much despite my struggles. And so I could take pride in my work and feel encouraged to keep doing 'what I do,' even if I can't sum it up into a single word. Sure, sometimes I had to explain how YouTube works, but the responses I got reassured me that what I do is appreciated by the people I love the most.
So here's a challenge for you: post in the comments below the summary of your 2011 in a single paragraph. See how much a year can sound like a lifetime.
My 2011: I started off the year strong, finishing my first novelette-length story to test out my novel writing skills. But when the new semester began, I fell ill to a lengthy bout of mono that took my out of school for two weeks and triggered the depression I'm currently battling. While I was still struggling, my four best friends 'broke up' with me in an extremely brutal fashion, leaving me alone to deal with my problems. I was relieved when I was able to leave it all behind as I began the new semester studying abroad in London. Just before I left, I found a request on Tumblr for a screenwriter to help on a film project. To my own great surprise, I answered the stranger's request, and a wonderful new friendship sprung up. We continue to work together to this day. Along the way, I was recognised for my efforts, receiving queries from others to work with me on various projects, as well as being offered a small income for my work on my YouTube channel. And with the new HD camcorder I received for Christmas, I intend to make 2012 a year to remember.
It's amazing what can happen in a single year. I never thought I'd make it through the first half, but the rewards have been incredible. I've not only found my calling, but a way to make it happen without having to bow down to the pressures and expectations of others. I've found a way to turn my dreams into reality, something I didn't even know was possible until this year. There is always hope, even when things seem unrepairable. There is always a way out. I didn't think so then, but I certainly do now.
"This song is ending, but the story never ends." (Doctor Who) May 2012 bring great opportunities for you to seize. Cheers.
Causes Maria Badillo Supports
Foundation to Decrease WorldSuck