Or perhaps, “Of Fear & Loathing—Overcoming It With Strength”.

2019 was an interesting year for me, and I’m sure many people can relate. There was a lot of up, and a whole lot of down, but the fear within evened out in a way that I didn’t think possible for me at this point in my life.

I’d settled a long time ago for mundanity—that is, resigned myself, thinking I hadn’t the talent, passion, nor strength to push forward and find that which is better for me; the courage with which to fortify myself when pressing on, amidst a staggering lack of support around me, and looking to make things ‘bigger’ in my life than they ever were.

I’ve lived a life of obscurity and shallow misgivings. Always surviving, never actually living, I tend to not rock the boat and just let things stay as they are. I was oft wanting to believe if I maintained the status quo, keeping those around me happy and content, the universe would reward me.

“It’ll work out someday,” I choke down the lie.

“Things will get better eventually,” I tearfully deceive myself, forcing back any inkling, any twinkle of an idea of making an effort.

Change is scary, and the thought of putting forth all that work for no—or perhaps only potential—gain was something that had me frozen as I passively let myself rot over the years.

I had enough. At the tail end of 2018 I started to make a conscious effort toward the changes I wanted. The sheer magnitude of life-altering adjustments was daunting, to say the least, but it was something that I absolutely could not compromise on anymore. After a lot of thought and reflection, I laid out some resolutions, as a lot of people are wont to do around the end of year, moving into the beginning of the next.

Without getting too much into them, I’ll just say I nailed 4 out of 5 this past year. First, I followed my passion and wrote for an audience that wasn’t myself. I wrote and wrote this year—a shocking 214,000+ words, between my numerous drafts and works in progress. This is huge.

Next, I got into better shape than I had been. I also reconnected with an old friend. And I made a new friend, the first in several years.

Among that, there were also things I absolutely will not share, but I will say that I have grown overtly tired of how I had been. After nearly a decade of tormenting myself, of waiting, of passively killing and stifling myself, I am making good on my promises. I have to apologize to those I let down, but I can now also ask “Where the hell were you?” at the same time. This is a stark difference to the passive me I usually am, and it’s a change that has been a long time coming.

I don’t really know where this newfound strength is stemming from. I also know, because of that, it wanes occasionally, amidst the crippling depression and anxiety I’ve grown comfortable with the last many years. All I can do is be patient with myself as I work through it, as I’ve always done, and refocus my attention toward the horizon which glimmers with a hope I’d not seen in a decade.

I will find my place in this world. I will do my damnedest to leave a mark on it; surely, to leave it better than when I found it. I will push forward and break through all the barriers I’ve put in place, finding people to share successes and failures with. There is someone I am in awe of, who has—very much unbeknownst to them, I am sure—inspired me to keep working ever harder.

This person had written that when every single wall comes down, leaving pieces of oneself scattered, it can be terrifying, but rewarding all the same. I find the idea of it strangely comforting, however, in a surreal sort of way. I’m not there yet, but working toward it is at the top of my new list of resolutions for the beginning of this new decade. I know I am not the strongest version of myself I can be, but I can say I am stronger than I have been in a long time.

The takeaway I have at the wrap-up that is 2019, inching into the new decade, is to never give up on yourself, your hopes, or your desires. It is never too late to begin—right now, in fact: make that resolution; fortify your resolve; find that which drives you with passion and urges you forth, and do whatever you can to breathe more life into it all. Yes, it can be oh so difficult. Yes, you may not even realize what it is that is making your feet move at times. But, you must take that spark of light within you and coax it into a beacon, using it as a guide toward the path to a better you.

Otherwise we’re not really living; we’re just surviving, and that in itself is a hell I never want to be in again.

Here’s to a happy, prosperous and pleasant new year, and the fresh beginning to a new decade of possibility.

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