20. Making a friend
Gaining a friend and talking to said friend. Up to that point in my life I had lived on the internet and became something of a space exploration fanatic dead-set on pushing humanity into the cosmos. My plan in life was to work as hard as I could toward that goal, without any room for anything else.
Until I met my friend. She was much more normal than me (normalcy was something I disdained at the time), but not any less dedicated academically. She wanted to excel in life, but also enjoy it. It was the latter part that I had been missing.
21. Rediscovering yourself
Had my first real breakup last year. For a while, I was devastated and truly depressed. However, after a while I began to discover more things about myself and what I wanted and what I liked. I began to appreciate things and people that I took for granted before. 2016 was one of the worst years of my life, but I can confidently say that so far 2017 is the best year of my life. I'm still single, but I'm truly happy with that and with myself.
22. Take charge of your life
I was dating a girl for 2 years and was so damn certain she was the one. She was passionate, confident, and could light up a room when she entered. At the same time, we were very different in that regard and I struggled to stay balanced in something that I wanted so badly to work.
Anxiety and a lack of motivation were a serious pattern for me. She pushed me, tried to say that it was important to her that I got a grip on things but I just couldn't come to terms with it. In the end one day while driving back to her place she told me she couldn't do it anymore and that she felt I wasn't ready for a relationship. I needed to learn to believe in yourself or I would always leave people staring at a wall of nerves.
The experience hit me like a bombshell and for a long time I felt like I wasn't going to make it through. I just wanted to do anything to stop feeling defeated. One day while sitting there and thinking I realized that I let my fears rob me of someone I deeply cared about. It had to stop and I needed to get help.
I reached out to my folks, explained to them what I was going through and got help. After spending some time planning what I wanted out of life I began committing everyday to building back to a place where I could be proud of what I was doing. I never forgot what she said to me, and while it hurt a great deal it made me realize that I was defeating myself out of enjoying life.
Last year I saw her for the first time in 5 years. She was engaged, had moved to a new city and was happy as ever. I thanked her for helping me to realize what I was doing to myself and wished her the very best.
Every time I struggle, or start to doubt myself I remember what that experience taught me. If you are going to lose something, don't let it be because you defeated yourself. Take charge, do your best and accept the outcome - but don't sell yourself short.