Today marks the one year anniversary of the last day of the toughest time of my entire life.
During that tough time, I felt unbelievably hopeless. I felt that there was absolutely nothing going right in my life, and that nothing ever would.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life- small things, like messing up the spelling of “parallel” in my 3rd grade spelling be, and bigger things, like when I dented my dad’s car while trying to park it in the parking lot of my high school- but none of the mistakes I made were as drastic, or as impactful, as the ones that I made last fall. I lost a stabilized environment that I had been accustomed throughout my years in the public school system. I lost a lot of friends, and a lot of respect from many, many people, some that were close to me and some that weren’t. I lost a girlfriend. I lost most, if not all, of my happiness, and fell into a depression the likes of which I cannot properly describe in words.
Today, things are much different. I am currently enrolled at Babson College in Massachusetts, one of the top business schools in the entire country. I maintained relationships with friends and family that were able to stand by me during my weeks of turmoil. I was able to get a job at the Oakbrook Park District, which put me in more social situations and gave me a sense of purpose. I found a girlfriend, a sweet, stunning girl that I have stayed with in college, even as she finishes high school back home in Illinois.
I had to make a lot of changes in my life, in the ways I thought and acted, to get me to where I am today. But the people (and animal) listed below were the people that were the real difference makers in getting me back to be a functional member of society:
My parents, who, as most parents do with their teens, did not often see eye to eye with me, but were loving and supportive in whatever way they possibly could be.
My sister, a person that is, quite literally, my polar opposite, and never fails to bring me happiness with her unrivaled joy.
My dog, who is my best friend in the entire world- obviously, he will never read this, but the impact that my brother has had on my life might go beyond words.
My grandparents, who constantly spoiled me with food, money, and their presence.
My cousins, who I rarely get to see, but always manage to make me smile due to their unbelievable ability to quote movies and tell stories about the strange things that have happened to them.
My neighbors, who had some inkling of what I was going through, and were unbelievably kind and gracious towards me.
Alex, Annemarie, Audrey, Christa, Katie, Kelsey, Ike, Imad, Maeve, Natalia, and Ryan, the people who had the misfortune to talk to me when I was at my lowest point, people that are among the kindest and most patient that I will ever meet. I hope that I am still able to call them friends, and if I’m not, I was extremely lucky to call them that at one point.
Elsa, Bailey, Sophia, Kelly, Sara, and Jocy, my friends from Westmont. You made an unbearable time livable, and despite our circumstances, I am extremely glad to have met you and extremely proud to see how far you have come.
Jacob, Kealan, Kevin, Mac, and Zach, friends that, for reasons I will never be able to comprehend, stuck with me during my times of trouble and have remained close to me to this day. I have never had a lot of really close friends, but being able to count these guys as some of them is a true honor.
My soccer team, who, despite my lack of fitness, accepted me (somewhat) late in their season and allowed me to feel like I was a really part of something, like I had a purpose.
Ariana, who has been able to see through my biting sarcasm, mediocre looks, and lack of conversational skills to like me enough to call me her boyfriend. Wow.
My church, and within it, the members of my youth group.
The leaders: Lars, Coby, Caitrin, Drew, Katrina, and Megan, who have guided me to a relationship with God that is more exciting and more fulfilling than I ever expected it to be while also being some of the funniest and most kind-hearted people I know.
The Seniors: Julianna, Maddy, Julie, and Kerry, who greatly outdid me in terms of energy (they also outnumbered me gender wise, which my mom always insisted was a good thing), but were always there for me to have a thoughtful 1 on 1 conversation with. I’m amazed at the chance that I got to grow in God with 4 of the most passionate believers around.
The Juniors: Paco, Ryan, Syd, Nicole, Jimmy, Kate, Patrick, and the two Emma’s, for whom I always fancied myself to be a leader for due to my age, but who I know made a deeper impact on me than I will have ever had on them; they are all genuine, down-to-earth people with extraordinary talents, and being able to talk with all of them, and witness said talents, was a real blessing.
The Sophomores: Matt, Lizzie, Bridget, and Brooke, people that, due to the events of the past year, I didn’t get to spend enough time with, which was a true tragedy, because they are all funny, creative, and wild about God, characteristics of people that are, well truly awesome.
The many others who I had the fortune of talking to over my time back home.
My roommates, who are about as likely to read this as my dog, for making my transition back into being a “normal” person at college by indulging me in my love for FIFA and not pressuring me to drink.
Not everything is fine and dandy all the time- there are some times in my life when I feel sad, lonely, or depressed, times that bring me back to the darkest time of my 19 years. But those times come and go, quicker than I ever could have imagined that they could. I owe a profound thank you to God, and to the previously mentioned people, for making that possible. Thanks to them, I am in a better place than I ever thought I could be.
Writing about something this personal will not be typical, and if/when I do choose to write about myself again, it will not be this deep or as sad- I just felt that something like this needed to be posted.
To learn more in-depth details about my story, please click here.