Reflections of a Soon to be 25 Year Old

2016. I think we can all agree that 2016 was one heck of a year…from the many celebrity deaths, the craziest election I’ve ever witnessed, tragedies, turmoil, etc.

Oh and that whole life thing where one day you’re doing great and the next it’s like nothing is going right and you lay there wondering what happened?! Yeah. I think it’s safe to say that will occur every year…

So let me get to the point of this blog: The whole purpose of New Years to me are the endless benefits of self-reflection. Maybe, that’s the teacher in me, but I think it’s hugely important-no matter what age-to continue to reflect, question, wonder, and thus, grow. Every year I learn something new about life, myself, and those around me. I typically can think of a theme for any given year, but this year is kind of a toss up for me. I feel like who I was at the start of 2016 and who I am now are two totally different people. I don’t know if that has to do with 25 looming in the coming month or if I just did a lot of growing up this year, but I don’t think the girl in January has anything on the girl who is sitting before her lap top right now punching at the keys.

2016 was not an easy year by any means. I finished up my first year of teaching, which was an incredible year of my life and an experience and a class that I will never forget.

Now, I’m in my second year of teaching. A dream come true, but never the less a difficult and exhausting career that I love with every inch of my being. It was harder than I anticipated to send my first class off to fifth grade and that made for a difficult start to my second year. I struggled to find my stride with my new students, I wondered if I was cut out for teaching, and if I was good enough for this group of kids. It took some inner searching, a lot of sleepless nights, long vent sessions, and many failures to find what worked with this group. It took teaching silently, it took courage, and it has taken everything I have, but these kids are so worth it and the relationship I still have with my old class hasn’t faded and won’t. It really showed me the value of my teaching. It unveiled to me what I can create and what good all of my students bring to my life. Will the rest of the year or the years to come be easy? No. I know that now and I know that it is part of the job and that I do have within me the ability and strength to figure it out.

I think many people know that I have been enduring an internal and external battle with a vicious mental illness. One that has made my body the enemy-while allowing food and exercise to control my life. I think we are going on 6 years of this battle as we head into 2017. 6 painful years of agonizing pain. Pain that is not visible or tangible to many who have not had to deal with this struggle on their own. An illness that I have been made fun of for, looked down on, gossiped about, and harassed. A personal conflict that has negatively impacted my thoughts and aspects of my life.

As I enter 2017, I can proudly say that I feel “normal” when it comes to food and exercise. I eat what I want and exercise when I want. I don’t stress about it or count calories or worry about what everyone else is doing. I just do what I want. I am in love with Zumba and have never laughed, smiled, or jumped around so much while exercising. I enjoy going so much! I wish I could tell those reading this how I got to this point and what the magic was that helped me out of such a dark time of my life. All I know is that I literally stopped worrying about my weight and it started to fix itself. I started doing more of what made me happy, I concerned myself with my own needs rather than that of others, I found someone who loves me for every ounce of my crazy and goofiness, and I have accepted that this is the body I was born with. It’s the only one I have and I need to love it as it is because it’s mine. Is every day easy? No. There are still days that I hate myself and my body, but there are more days where I embrace it and love who I am and what I have. For goodness sake, I’m the only me there is and that’s a beautiful thing in itself. If there’s anything I can tell you for this year its that we all need to practice more self-love, to assume good intentions, and to not sweat the small stuff. You know you give great advice so take it! What’s stopping you?

xoxo

Emily

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