By Lauren - December 24, 2016

Wow. 2016. What is there to say? I feel like it's been a rough year for everyone. Going into 2017, I decided now would be a good time to discuss some of my own struggles this year but also my accomplishments. 

For me, 2016 pushed me out of my personal comfort zone (like waayyy out). As many of you know, I ventured out to Los Angeles this spring to try and pursue film, which is not easy at all to say the least. The first time I was in Los Angeles, I knew no one (aside from maybe like two people) and I flew into one of the biggest cities in the United States by myself at only age 20, and yeah, it was terrifying. 

2015 and into summer of 2016 I was dealing with many broken relationships and a lot of loneliness spawned from that. I ended up returning home this summer to work on some personal goals and assess my financial situation more since I had stepped in way over my head going there without really having a good grasp on how much more expensive the cost of living was compared to the midwest.

I came back to the city at the end of the summer and worked my tail off to be where I am now. To give you an idea, it took me over six months of searching and submitting resumes (from April to October) to find my first production assistant gig and even longer to find the internship I have now. While it's not the final destination I have in mind, where I'm at right now is a true blessing. I have a job I actually look forward to going to every morning as well as co-workers and supervisors that I enjoy being around. I've gained a lot of experience already in the film industry and am excited to see what opportunities open up for me next year. 

While 2015 was rough, 2016 was even more trying for me. 

I struggled on many occasions this year with my self-worth. I am slowly coming to the realization that I can't make everyone happy and finally learning to learn how to love myself again, imperfections and all. I'm learning to live my life the way I want, for me, and not letting anyone slow me down. 

On top of all that, I also dealt with a lot of bullying and toxic "friendships". This year has really been a wake up call for me in regards to who my true friends are and who were only using me to further their own agenda. As a result, I struggled with learning to trust people again (and still do) but I'm also trying to heal and remember that not all people have bad intentions.

Coming out of those horrible experiences and looking back on them, I've realized that even in those difficult moments, I still had enough. Even though I still struggle, I'm beginning to see that it wasn't what material things I had, but the few strong friendships that I had been blessed with that really made a difference in my life during the heartaches and trials. I've learned to be grateful for what I have, even if it doesn't seem like much at times. Even though this year has been incredibly rough for me, I can honestly say it was the people that made this year what it was, both the toxic ones and the amazing friends who helped me to pull through.  

I'd actually been putting off this post a lot, but now with the New Year up ahead, I thought I should finally say some more, even if this was out of my comfort zone to write. Part of that is because I'm a very private person. I also have the view that the whole world shouldn't know every aspect about your life. . and most of the time privacy is a good thing. I'm also trying to remember that it's okay ask for help and not to be so embarrassed to share my story, because it's shaped me into the person I am today. I hope this write up will be an inspiration and source of encouragement to others.

Needless to say, I think 2016 took a lot away from everyone in some form or another. I feel we all had our fair share of difficulties and this year really pushed us in ways beyond what was comfortable. But with every rough patch in life there's always usually something good to come out of it as well. I'm sure if everyone dug hard enough into those memories you could find more than several things to be grateful for or what lessons you'd learned from your own personal experiences. Going into this next New Year, my prayer for humanity is to learn to love a lot more and to try and grasp an understanding of everyone you run into before passing judgment. 

Will 2017 throw some hurdles at everyone? Of course, that's life, but life doesn't have to be all bad and we don't have to wallow in our self pity every time something goes wrong. Learn to pick yourself up, make the best of that situation and move forward again because that's sometimes all we can do. . . Recovery is worth it, trust me. 

Whether it's the best of times or the worst of times, it's the only time you've got. Make the best of it.

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