2018: A Year of Epiphanies and Change

Updated: Jan 7, 2019

I remember ringing in the new year with my family. We sat in our cozy home, wrapped up in love and plush blankets while the wood in the fireplace crackled like fireworks. As we counted down that last minute of the year, I had a feeling that this year would be something for the books. It was surely a year of many stories, experiences, and epiphanies that I could write novels about. Yet, as I lived through all these things, I've learned things that have sparked growth in my character, changed who I was, and inspired who I want to be.

Never Become Un-teachable

Growing into who you want to be results from letting your guard down and being vulnerable enough to be taught. When I refer to the idea of being "taught," I don't mean being cooped up in a classroom all day learning about "the facts of life." In my opinion, experience can be the best teacher. Over the past year, I've learned to be strong and confident enough to be vulnerable. I had to allow room for mistakes and failure instead of shielding myself from them. I was stuck in the idea that in order to be strong, I had to neglect the weakest parts of myself. Yet, my biggest epiphany was finding out that embracing my faults and building a backbone from my weaknesses is what truly made me powerful.

Oftentimes we find ourselves with our guards near the tips of our heads because we're scared to learn how to deal with something that broke or can break us. We shove it into the back of our minds--fully confident that it is the way to build who we are again. But what happens when someone or something pokes at what we've keep hidden underneath scars and folds of fear for so long? Do we break on the spot, run away mentally out of uneasiness, or lose who we've been building---do we experience all of these things? We spend all this time focused on growth to realize we aren't growing at all, we were just covering ourselves in dirt.

If we plant a seed in bad soil, how can we really expect to see growth? We can't let the fear of being vulnerable enough to learn from something eat away at our potential. Walk in your power, and remember that just because you fall doesn't mean that you are incapable of learning how to get back up again.


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Between bad breakups and expired friendships, I can't even count the numerous times I've been forced to reevaluate how I gave my time and company to others. I waisted time this year on companionships that stemmed from my fear of having to spend time alone. There were even times that I compromised who I was because I was so scared to utter the words "I am alone."

Yet after I while, as I repeatedly hurt myself through trying to latch on to others, I had to have a heart-to-heart. I had to look in the mirror and remember who I was, what I was capable of, and why I couldn't just give my time or myself to anyone. I had to think about what I was really afraid of. Was it actually getting to know myself---being that getting to know someone (especially yourself), can be overwhelming. Was it the fear of feeling empty---even though I couldn't have felt any emptier in relationships that didn't fill me.

It could have been the fact that I was afraid of who I could be if I cut off everything that didn't benefit me. I was afraid because I didn't know who she was. I didn't know if I would like her or if I'd be happy with her. Yet, how could I ever know if I didn't try? When I let go of my fear of being vulnerable, I learned how to be alone and how to be happy with that. I went on to learn that I'd never want to be so desperate again for company that I shut myself out in the process. Getting to know me played a crucial part in my growth as a person, and reminded me daily that desperation will never get the best of me again. I don't have the tolerance to put up with the things I used to entertain. The things that served as fillers between the gaps in these relationships no longer satisfied me.

When you demand more attention, care, and love from yourself---you don't expect any less from others. Learning to be okay with being alone has created a spirit of independence in me that only accepts light to partake in my growth.

Be the change you want to see

I know we go into the new year with a list of resolutions that we draft an hour before in the iPhone notes app. Or, we decorate vision boards with glitter, colorful markers, and magazine clippings--ready to spark change in ourselves. We then hold on to those resolutions for the next week and a half and then box them up with our Christmas decor, never to be unpacked again until this time next year.

I was one of these people. The type of person that would buy planners, fill them to the brim with cute stickers, draft out things I wanted to accomplish, and never set out the actions to achieve these goals. It wasn't until this new year came around that I realized that I was guilty of this. I would come up with these wonderful ideas and goals and never did anything with them. At a certain point in my life, I had to think about my purpose, and what I'd been doing to live in that purpose. I came to terms with the fact that I was doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that at times, but hadn't really moved any weight. It was then that I decided that I had to really be about my dreams. I had to be the change that I wanted to see in myself and commit to that. If I wanted to live out this big picture I'd been working so hard visioning for myself, I had to work twice as hard to get it. I soon became a go-getter for the things I really wanted and was okay with learning new things, and spending time with myself so I could grow.

I used the things I learned this year to fuel my drive in achieving my goals and growing into the young woman I want to become. Even though this year was filled to the brim with epiphanies and change, it was one of the most beneficial years I've experienced yet. So, cheers to new growth and a new year just right around the corner.

-Ashley Lauren

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