2019 was the year I finally committed to building the highway towards authentic self worth and self empowerment. It was the year I finally began to take medication for my condition, and I publicly spoke about my history with mental illness on The Mighty.
I have had a year of powerful, important lessons I will carry with me for the rest of my life. 2019 was the year I turned 24, one year less than a quarter of a century old. I experienced a number of things on my wish list, reconnected with people from my childhood and managed to gain more experiences under my belt - a year’s worth of more experiences.
From the moments of silent connection with people I wouldn’t expect to the periods of pure savouring, in 2019 I redefined what it meant to be well and happy. Wellness was no longer about getting a good job, falling in love, or anything similar. It was now about kindness, social connection, savouring and gratitude.
In 2019, I finally realised that I had autism spectrum disorder, and began to recount a hidden part of my history. I connected with many hardworking, talented autistic individuals and learned more about what it meant to be a successful person and how our definitions of success don’t even remotely cover what success really means.
In 2019, I also began to reconnect with my culture and heritage. I studied my local language. I added heritage and traditional clothing items to my wardrobe. I learned how to cook a local staple food from my country and prepare tea the way it’s prepared in my country. 2019 was about accepting my heritage and culture as a normal, perfectly comfortable part of my life.
I witnessed my cousin get married this year, and two cousins graduate from high school. Another cousin’s daughter started elementary school. Another cousin settled overseas while a cousin near me transferred to another city.
In 2019, I participated in a mental health exhibition, and joined another mental health organisation. I shared my story with a local mental health organisation, and am awaiting the publishing of my story.
This year, I managed to begin painting, colouring and drawing after a long period of disconnection from the arts. I also began to write poetry and prose, as well as reignite my passion for photography.
The next year brings with it 365 new opportunities to make a new change in my life. I look forward to 365 new days of life experience, in the year I turn 25, witness my friends get married, my cousins begin university, my mental health and physical health improve, and my connection to this community grow.
To each and every person looking to find reflections in 2019, try looking at how this life changed for you this year. Share more about how 2019 has changed for you below.
Happy New Year!