This was it. This was the year that threatened to finally break me.
The things I’ve gone through before were nothing compared to the storm I endured in 2016.
There were moments when I was on my knees, drowning in pain so intense that I couldn’t breathe.
It was in those moments I prayed to be anyone else, to have any other life than mine, because I couldn’t see a way through.
In the end, however, those are the moments I’m most thankful for.
Like many people, I started the year with high hopes for the future. I thought I had everything, but it all fell apart at once.
The man I loved utterly shattered my heart and the future I had been planning with him was gone in a single night.
From there the dominoes fell one-by-one.
Eventually, I was fighting depression while job hunting in a new city where I knew no one, all because my carefully-made plans were laid to waste by a reckless person.
I never felt so hopeless or alone. Other, even more, painful events soon made the crushing weight of the endless year almost unbearable.
Everyone goes through things like this, I told myself. If that were true, why did I feel so isolated in my struggle?
All I could do was trudge through each day, praying the next one wouldn’t be worse.
I felt trapped in my own life, and there was nothing I could do to get out.
Something better had to be coming. At least, that was the mantra I repeated to myself just to keep moving, day in and day out.
I knew this couldn’t last forever; I just didn’t understand why it was taking so long.
Then, at the end of the year, the light began to break through the massive dark cloud. Within a month, my prayers were answered.
A dream job in an amazing city promised infinite possibilities, instead of pain, for the first time in far too long.
All I could think was how grateful I was that the year was ending, and how promising the new one seemed.
It’s finally 2017, and I set forward in the new year with renewed optimism.
I realize, however, that I wouldn’t feel this way without the pain of 2016 as a reminder of how far I've come.
Would I ever want to go through a year like this again? No, absolutely not. Am I grateful I went through it? Surprisingly, yes.
This year taught me not only that I can survive, but that I can do it with grace and strength of character.
It also taught me to slow down and value those beautiful moments when life is calm.
I found my faith once again and learned to take the little things less seriously since the big events were so much harder to endure.
I also found immense appreciation for the people who stood by me, who supported me and loved me even when I was incapable of loving myself.
So yes, 2016 was the worst year of my life, but it also was the best year because I know who I am more completely and wholly than ever before.
For anyone going through something like this, all I can say is hold on. You will make it through.
Look for the little moments of happiness when you can, and take this time to get to know yourself as much as possible.
Don’t fear this hardship; it will pass, I promise. Don’t let it break you.
Instead, use this time to make yourself into exactly who you want to be.
For now, I’ll say thank you.
Thank you for the year that almost broke me, because I’ll always remember how grateful I am that I survived you. Bring on the next year!