Just as your eyes were about to close completely, you see a permanent shine of light. There it stood in the middle of the pitch black sea, and you fixate upon it—the golden arches. You scramble to sit up straight, eager for a clearer glimpse for fear that your eyes had tricked you, but there they were—unmoving, shining warmly in the dead of winter, welcoming you home.

I think when we allow ourselves to hurt freely and fully is when we finally grow. Perhaps that is the greatest lesson I’ve been taught this year. We cannot choose happiness; that awfully overused Tumblr quote doesn’t exist. If it were that simple, everyone would just choose to be happy with all sunshine and rainbows. You can’t know what happiness is until you’ve been at the opposite end of the spectrum.

This year, I’ve gotten into the habit of writing down what people have said to me – words that lit up the dark places I’ve been in. Their words (while they think mundane) are more spectacular than anything I’ve ever written. This is for the best of the best;

I am a writer. Which is why it’s absurd that I cannot comprehend how I fail to find the words to explain how lucky I am to have been on the adventure I have been on. I cannot wait to see what my friends and myself will amount to in life, but I know it will be as spectacular as the fireworks on the fourth of July.

It’s such a question that never rusts, just transferred from generation to generation, like ocean wave after ocean wave. For as long as I can remember, my mind has vacillated between numerous options; teacher to lawyer, swimmer to artist, guitarist to businesswoman. Yet, to this day, I fail to set my foot upon a destined path. It feels as though everyone around me has found their future, grasp who they want to be. Me? I’m stuck at square one—nay, the game hasn’t even started for me.