When I look back at the year 2017, my head spins a bit. So much happened in a fairly short time. My life changed dramatically as I moved from Florida to China in 2016, settled there more in 2017, and then moved back to the USA.
However, I changed even more than my geographical location. Not understanding a word around me but having to find my own apartment and find directions taught me to ask for help even if I looked clueless. Teaching children and planning creative lessons taught me to trust myself more as a leader and artist. Working with children and feeling alone in a new culture taught me that I did want a family one day. Having a happy relationship continues to teach me that I’m lovable with all my quirks and faults.
I did so many things for the first time in China: rode in a taxi, hailed a taxi, used an ATM, took public transportation alone, bought an apartment, communicated (a tiny bit) in another language, took a 17-hour train trip, went out with friends with less anxiety, etc. The list could go on and on. Even the little achievements (waving over servers at restaurants to order food instead of waiting politely and never being served) made me a stronger, more confident, happier person.
Would these changes have taken place if I hadn’t gone to China? Maybe. Would they have taken years to occur? Most definitely.
I am still not perfect. Making phone calls, going out to parties, driving – the old anxieties creep back into my life so quickly. Yet, I have come so far since last year.
So here’s to 2018. Will it be perfect? No, neither was 2017. Yet, I hope to keep growing, dreaming, and learning. Even more so, I hope to never backtrack and lose what I gained from 2017.
May you all have a wonderful 2018!