Something that really made you grow this year. That made you go to your edge and then some. What made it the best challenge of the year for you?
The real challenge I set for myself this year was to re-become someone I like being. I think this was a challenge at which I succeeded. Not to say there isn't still room for improvement, but I have come leaps and bounds from this time last year.
I like myself in high school. I wasn't perfect, nor was my life, but perfection is an impossibility. I was in general happy, and that is what counts. I was academically stimulated; I had two amazing groups of friends, who I saw every day; I participated in a variety of activities, all of which I loved; I was physically active; and so on.
Then I came to university. I never stopped being academically stimulated, but the rest certainly changed. First year, everything just stopped. I stopped doing anything extracurricular. I stopped getting any exercise or eating food that could possibly fall within the realm of "healthy," and as a result felt tired and gross all the time. On the one hand, I made another amazing group of friends. On the other hand, the majority of both my high school groups were in the city too, and one group I saw occasionally, the other... well, we made pretenses of keeping in touch, but that's about it. And there was the drinking. Every time we got bored, we defaulted to getting drunk. Or because it was a Monday/Friday and we always get drunk on Monday/Friday, so we had to get drunk on Monday/Friday. I do not like that lifestyle, and never want to live it again.
So I came home and had that one amazing summer. Then back to university, and first semester of second year was when things got really bad. I was the only one of my friends to stay in residence, and I a) am bad at making friends and b) didn't want new friends, I wanted my old friends back. It took me a very long time before I got to know anyone well enough to even feel comfortable sitting with them at meals on a regular basis. Of course, there was also the problem where I was a horrible friend and never made time to spend with my old friends. I still wasn't doing anything extracurricular, still wasn't taking care of myself physically. I got involved in bad relationship situations. I was absolutely miserable.
And then over Christmas break I decided that I was sick of it, and I was just going to make things better.
In 2009, I:
-wrote and directed a play in Fringe Festival
-performed a piece of music (with a friend) in front of a crowd. Twice!
-started work as my student union's council scribe
-moved out of residence into a house with two of my best friends, where I no longer eat things like "tater tot casserole" and have to walk a good 25 minutes to and from school now (and about the same for work over the summer)
-had a summer job that I loved, for an organization that I feel like does good work in the world, and even became friends with my coworkers
-learned to see the good parts of living in the city, instead of just the bad ones
-took swing dancing lessons ("learn to dance" is an item on my list of things to do in life, so this is more significant than one might think)
-wrote a senior's memoir
-took a workshop to help me get better at something I find difficult
-am slowly improving at being a good friend
-learned how to be happy
It hasn't always been easy. You know that anxiety I was talking about? It was hard for me not to quit swing dancing, or the memoir project, or Fringe, after the first meeting, because the first time is always so scary. But I convinced myself that it wouldn't be as bad the second time, and I made myself go back. In all cases, I am very glad I did.
It's been a good year. A hard year, at times. But a happy one.