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2021 Was A Hard Year, But It Didn't Break Me

Photo: KieferPix / shutterstock
2021 didn't break me

By Larissa Martin

After the events that 2020 brought us, including a pandemic, I was looking forward to 2021. I imagined it would be a year full of growth and adventures.

I was so ready for that but, unfortunately, this year had other plans for me. It has been beyond hard, but it has not broken me.

This year, I have dealt with some life-altering events, like my parents separating. As an adult, you think it would be easier to deal with, but news flash: It is not.

It’s life-shattering as the family you thought you knew no longer exists, and that’s devastating. Heartbreaking.

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Some of my family members, along with some amazing friends, have passed away this year. I felt nothing but guilt for not keeping in touch with the ones I was so close to for years. I also almost lost a family member who lost everything.

So that, on top of other things, has nearly destroyed me.

This wasn’t all spaced out, either; these things happened one after the other. I felt like I couldn’t catch a break emotionally, no matter how bad I wanted it.

Did this life-altering year of mine break me? No, it didn’t. But it sure as hell changed me.

How could it not? It changed me in ways I never thought a year could.

It forced me to do some serious reflection on my life and practice self-care like setting some major boundaries for the first time in my life.

I also started asking for support from friends when I needed it instead of bottling everything up as I used to in the past. Back then, the fear of burdening them with my problems was too great so I chose not to do it.

But now, I’m opening up more. In addition, I started journaling, which has greatly helped my mental health during this life-changing year.

I’m not going to lie, though: I thought this year would break me and make me want to throw in the towel a couple of times. Since I’m a very positive and upbeat person, that rarely ever happens.

But this year, there have been days when I allowed myself to just feel all the feelings and try and process all that has happened. Without doing that, I would allow things to bottle up and eat me from the inside.

So instead, I allowed myself to break a little bit.

I think we all have defining points in our lives that try to break us. And, in some aspects, I think it’s good to let something break you down sometimes; as long as you get back up.

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Hear me out: If we don’t allow ourselves to break when we’re close to it, it will just build up and explode like a volcano when you least expect it to. By allowing this to happen, we can reevaluate our lives and figure out what’s not working for us and how we can change it.

I think not wanting to break down is a huge problem in our society. We are afraid to be vulnerable around our loved ones in fear of burdening them with our issues. We like to put on a brave face for everyone and be that strong person we always are.

And we want to fix everything for everyone. How do I know this? I am this person and if this year has taught me anything, it’s that it is okay not to be okay. It’s okay to do what you need to do to get a better grasp on yourself.

So, if that includes letting something knock you down to gain a better understanding of who you are as a person, then do that. But don’t stay down.

I believe if more people allowed this to happen when necessary, more of us would open up about what’s happening in their lives instead of hiding it.

This year was a hell of a year for me, and honestly, I’m happy to see it end in a few weeks. I’m incredibly grateful that it didn’t break me.

It changed me neither for the better or worse, but it definitely gave me clarity.

It has allowed me to take a look at my life and see the changes that needed to be made. So, in 2022, I plan to continue making these changes so that I can live the life I want and deserve.

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Larissa Martin is a writer whose work has been featured on MSN, Yahoo Lifestyle, Thrive Global, Unwritten, YourTango, and The Mighty.

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This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.