2016 was probably the worst year of my life. It was also the best year of my life. I made a valiant effort to write an in-depth reflection that turned into exactly what you’d expect: a sad, incomprehensible ramble that largely ignored 11 months out of the year. There’s enough of that coming up, so I scrapped it in favor of a new idea.
I really can’t explain all of the ways in which 2016 changed me, so I decided to sift through the photos on my phone and computer to find some to represent my year.
A few self-imposed rules:
I couldn’t choose photos that had already been posted on social media.
I could only choose photos that have me in them (otherwise this would have ended up being a gallery of wildlife. And also this is all about personal growth or whatever.)
I had to include photos from each month (turns out, this was impossible, but I tried. Stupid June.)
I’m going in backwards chronological order, for reasons.
Ok, I don’t know what happened, but I literally took no photos in June. Oops. That’s okay, because May and July are awesome, right?
Okay, so I think I’m about to get…sentimental?
When I decided to do this photo recap for 2016, I didn’t really know what I wanted to achieve. After spending a day compiling and posting these photos, one thing was abundantly clear: I am incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by this many people who love and support me.
This year started off shitty. 2016 will always, first and foremost, be the year I lost my dad. January was by far the hardest month of my life, but 2016 still managed to bring me joy.
It was a year when I was able to bounce all around the country (Indiana, Illinois, Texas, New York, Alaska, Ohio) and then move to Nicaragua.
It was the year I swore in as a Peace Corps volunteer.
The year when I saw Beyoncé and Hamilton in the same week.
Looking through these photos and thinking about the many unphotographed or unrepresented moments throughout the year, I feel incredibly lucky. I have a huge extended family who loves me. I have friends from school and work who dropped everything to be there when I needed them. I have Peace Corps friends who continue to help me through the hard moments, no questions asked.
People who listen when I need it. Who repeatedly tell me they’re here for me. Who feed my sweet tooth. Who give good hugs. Who make me laugh even when I think it’s impossible.
I would be completely and utterly lost here without them.
In a year of loss and change, I’m grateful to have the best of the best standing by my side.