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It’s that time of the year for my annual self reflection. Here is what I wrote in 2014:

Being alone in London has taught me so much about myself. I learned that sometimes I am way too nice, but sometimes it’s better to be generous and nice, than selfish and fake. I learned that I have to stop giving so many second chances to people. I am learning to let things go if they don’t work out. I’ve learned that if someone wants you in their life, they will work hard to keep you in their life. I’ve learned that love isn’t always reciprocated, no matter how much you show you care. I’ve learned that the world is so open for me to embrace and do good things – if and only if, I do the work to make it happen.

This time last year, I was traveling alone throughout different countries in Europe. I purchased one of those Eurail passes to travel essentially anywhere I wanted for two weeks. I couldn’t go home for Christmas because it was just too expensive and I didn’t want to be alone in my studio flat in London, while my friends went back to their respective countries.

For New Year’s last year, I was on the last leg of my trip exploring Stockholm. I made plans to visit my friend Lina and spend New Year’s Eve/Day with her and her friends in a summer home on the Archipelago. It was the best New Year’s I ever had. It was an exhausting effort just trying to actually get there – miscommunication, no reception, the usual – and I had to pay an exorbitant amount of money for a boat to wait for me and take me to the island. But I got there and I was exhausted beyond belief. I even fell asleep at the dinner table, which I have been told was super hilarious.

I thought it was fitting to be in Stockholm for the end of my 2014. For one, traveling alone was terrifying for me because I am notoriously bad at directions, but I was able to make it to the last leg of my trip relatively unscathed and with minor directional mistakes, albeit with hardly any money. I did something I never thought I would do.

I entered 2015 with heartbreak. It was the most difficult thing I ever had to deal with because I didn’t know how to deal with it. Heartbreak’s equivalent for me is a perpetual anxiety attack. I remember when I was at my worst, I had the most suffocating pains in my chest and would lie helpless in bed. I don’t want to ever get to that point again.

In 2015, I fucking grew up and got myself back. I traveled, I formed the most incredible friendships, and had beautiful experiences – experiences I never thought I would have in the past. I am working for an incredible news organization and slowly, I am making my way through this crazy, unstable world of journalism. I have a better sense of who I want to be as a person and as a journalist. I know what I am looking for in relationships and won’t settle for anything less. And for the first time in a long time, I love the person I am – all of it.

I have a feeling 2016 is going to be incredible for my career and personal life. I have a feeling this is the year everything is really going to fall into place now that I have set up the life I want back in 2015. Concrete 2016 goals: Live in DC longer working as a journalist, wherever that’s meant to be; do not relapse over my ex, never settle for anything less than I deserve in my relationships, be better to my mom, brother and sister, and retain positivity at all costs. Even if it gets rough, it’s those difficult and dark times that will help me grow, as a new friend recently reminded me.