2019: A Year in Review


I wasn't sure if I wanted to write a review post for 2019 because it was truthfully a rather heartbreaking year for me, but if I’ve learned anything over the past few years, it’s the downs that make you stronger. Or, as my old nursing professor would say, you can’t have the ups without the downs (like an EKG, get it?). And while I’ll share all I can about these downs with you all (not quite sure who reads this, but hope it may be relatable to you), I want to focus more on the positives, because there were a lot of those this year, too. 


This year was truly a transition year. I finished up my last semester of undergrad and graduated in May (see my grad post here). Afterwards, I spent a couple of months studying for my nursing board exam, the NCLEX, which I thankfully passed. To any nurses-to-be taking the NCLEX soon, study using U-World and during the exam, trust in what you know! Test anxiety was on a real high for me during that time, and music and Headspace meditation really helped me to keep calm.


I also left the US for the first time in my life this year, and was fortunate enough to visit four amazing countries.

In May, I traveled to Japan with my dad and brother, where we visited Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. I have always been very interested in Japanese culture, and it was a dream to experience it for myself. The people are so polite, the cities were so beautiful and bright, and the food was the most delicious I’ve ever had.

In late July, my dad drove us up to Niagara and Toronto in Canada. We spent only a few days there, but it was nice to experience a new city and Canada. I really fell in love with the coffee culture in Toronto. My favorite coffee shops were Versus Coffee, Sorry Coffee, and Safehouse Coffee.

In August, I traveled to London and Paris with my mom, and both were stunning. I was particularly drawn to Paris, because every inch of it felt like a dream (especially the part where I got to live out my fantasy of visiting the Bir Hakim because Inception is my favorite movie of all time). The architecture in Paris is the most amazing I’ve ever seen, and my mom and I got to visit all of the famous touristy sites together as well as take a day trip out to Versailles.

I'd love to write more detailed blog post on each trip I had one day, but I'll share some of my favorite photos from each trip here.


Back in New York, I moved into a new apartment, which was a big deal to me because I finally got to move into a room! I had been living in the living room of a three-bedroom apartment for two years prior, and it was about time I got a door. I also now have my own window with natural light, which is one of my favorite things since the sunlight affects my mood directly.


Now, on a more personal note, I'll share with you some of the tougher parts of my year.

2019 was also the year that a few of the significant relationships I had considered stable in my life changed completely. A few people I had considered to be my best friends walked out of my life, my parents finalized their divorce, and my grandpa passed away. This on top of the stress of passing my NCLEX and searching for a full-time job led me to turn to unhealthy eating habits and introversion. I started to develop feelings of self-doubt that would consume me from time to time. 

But a thought I held onto during those times is that everything happens for a reason. I’d like to think that each and every moment you consider negative leads to a positive in your future, whether it be in the way you expect it to or not. It can be difficult to see it when you’re in a rut, but nowadays I look back and think that I wouldn’t change any of my actions in the past because they’re what made me who I am now. I still have a ways to go before I ‘truly love myself’, but accepting myself now is a step towards that. I share this with you because I think that the hard times in your life are truly the times that shape you, and every single person goes through them. I do, you do, and we will both come out alright. 

But back to the positives, because my friend group changed, I found out which friends are truly friends to me, and also learned to value myself as a friend to others. In the past, I always felt that I wasn't 'good enough' as a friend (it's something I think I even brought up in last year's reflection). But what I learned is that others' actions and decisions are not always a reflection of yourself. And if you think they might be, ask. If you can't get the answers, don't assume. It's easier said than done, but it doesn't hurt to hear it again. I am so thankful for the friends I can now trust wholeheartedly, whether they be friends I see every day or once a year.


I focused on content creation more than I ever have before in 2019. I'm thankful for the time I had after graduating to take on more projects and regain my creativity from a funk I was in during school. I even helped a friend shoot content regularly for clients, which was perfect for me while I searched for a full-time nursing position, and I'm grateful for the time we were able to spend together because of that. I think that my heavy focus on content creation also helped me to realize that this isn't supposed to be my career. As much as I love it, I know my purpose is to be a nurse, and I hope to continue to create content and curate my Instagram feed on the side for fun. I'm interested to see how much I can balance it once I begin working in the new year.


So looking into 2020, some goals I hope to achieve are to:
  1. Become more proficient in a foreign language (I've started seriously studying Japanese in 2019)
  2. Eat healthier and increase my motivation at the gym to overall help me increase my mood
  3. Become more helpful to others and offer help more often (in NYC people are very independent, and I notice I've learned to not think twice to ignore when someone I don't know asks me for something. I want to think this way less in 2020.)

And with that, I think I'll end this little reflection. I think I like to write these most so that I can look back and see how I've changed over time. Hoping anyone who may be reading this may be able to relate to what I've experienced this year and feels the same way.

See you soon, 2020!

xx.
Maddie

Photos by Toyosi Oyelola, Christie Ghaw, Stephanie Oh, and Phoebe Wu.

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