A Year in Review: Not A Dumpster Fire

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Before I write this, I have to admit that I just ate four Jeju tangerines rapid fire and I don’t even care because them mo’fuckers are delicious. I bought a whole bag of them and if there are still any left by this time tomorrow, I will consider it a personal victory. Even the Korean lady who owns the mart saw me staring at them and was like “THOSE ARE SO DELICIOUS!” And, because my Korean is still bullshit, all I could do was fake drool, say “yes,” and put my hand over my stomach like some weirdo who was about to go into a tangerine-induced coma.

Anyway, as it is almost the end of 2016, I figured I would start the process of reviewing what I have accomplished and looking forward to what I wish to accomplish in 2017. For many people I know, 2016 has been a year of absolute bullshit. I mean, if you look at the state of the world, the tension, the loss of some very talented human beings, and the black hole of abyss we seem to be hurtling into faster and faster every day, I can see how 2016 would be a year that people wish to erase from their memories.

But, honestly, this year has been one of the biggest years of my life growth-wise. I have learned so much about myself and other people, as well as started to really figure out the trajectory of the rest of my life. Yes, there were days where I wanted to dig a hole and leave myself there until spring, but the fact that I didn’t, and the fact that I continue to learn from my various mistakes, just shows me how far I’ve come in my life.

The growth has not been without its hurdles. In fact, the last few months of this year have felt like one challenging clusterfuck that would never end, and honestly, looking back on it, I’m not sure what triggered it. I’ve felt a lot like this lately

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Like, my ability to care about things is temporarily stunned. I’ve had a solid few weeks where my concern for other people has been at an all-time low, and for the first time, I didn’t feel guilty about it. I didn’t want to give people any part of myself. I didn’t want to affirm, justify, or make people feel better and I know how shitty that sounds, but I understood after a few days of harrowing emptiness that I was, in fact, just that– I was empty. I hadn’t cared for myself in a few days and I was drowning. Self-care is so important, but sometimes, I think it is easily forgotten in the hustle and bustle of the world we live in, especially around the holiday season. But, there it is. I just didn’t give a fuck. I was irritated with people I cared the most about, and honestly, felt a lot like this

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Mostly because I wanted corn chips, but also because I just felt this anger that I hadn’t felt in a long time. I wasn’t caring for myself. I was trying to be everything to everyone else while not being anything for myself, and if you’ve never experienced that kind of drained, emotional fatigue, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Well, maybe I would for a corn chip. I kid. Kind of. The important thing that I learned here is I cannot, under any circumstances, forego self-care and I need to come up with a good regimen that I can stick to, that makes me feel good, and aids me in achieving my goals.

This year, I’ve lost around 20 pounds, give or take, depending on the day. I started running again. I started cooking more, and experimenting with different kinds of foods. I started hiking mountains, really fucking hard mountains, including one at 4:30am to watch the sun come up. I started playing soccer with a bunch of girls and fell in love with it. I wore a two piece bathing suit on a crowded beach, full of other expats. I ran my first 5k race in three years and finished under the time I wanted to finish under. I moved in with the love of my life. I joined a gym again. I hosted my first, real adult Thanksgiving dinner and cooked my own turkey. I helped stage a production of the Vagina Monologues in Daegu, a city where it has not been performed in many years.  I took countless trips throughout Korea, watched the sea part in Jindo, and looked at the Green Tea fields of Boseong. I saw a mural village in Seoul. I went to beer festivals. I helped a garden grow on the roof of a building. I watched paper lanterns release into the sky over Duryu park and went to a chicken & beer festival. I went camping multiple times. I smoked hookah, I drank good beer, I pretty much quit smoking (eh, not completely) and I haven’t bought a pack since July.  I dressed up, stayed sober, got drunk, had hangovers. I went home. I said goodbye to some important people. I said goodbye to Kentucky.

2016 wasn’t perfect, but it fucking showed me just how good my life is, and how good it can be. I am on the way to becoming the person that I want to be, even if, as I’ve said before, it feels like my progress is small and negligent. I want to lose more weight. I want to leave Korea. I want to backpack through Southeast Asia with Rob. I want to get my CELTA. I want to run a half marathon again. I know all of these things are possible and they’re not only possible, they are things that I CRAVE. They are successes and victories that I desire more than anything.

I’ve been standing in the way of myself, I’ve been prone to self-sabotage, and I’ve succeeded at times. These are not battles that will go away overnight, or maybe ever. But, as a few people I’ve been consulting with have said, I just need to “Show up.” I need to show up, do the work, and fucking get it done. I ran tonight for the first time in over a week because I’ve been sick, and my god, that run sucked. It was hard, my lungs were angry, and my legs felt tight. But, I won’t suck tomorrow. How I do today does not determine every other workout. My emotions today do not determine what I can achieve tomorrow.

If you’re reading this, know I probably love you. I probably love you more than you can ever begin to understand. I will keep loving you. Thank you for loving me and for being there for me this year.

2017 is our year.

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P.S. I just ate another tangerine.

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Kara

trying to get by in this wonderfully difficult world

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