2019 was probably the biggest year of my life. I left home for good only a few weeks after graduating and only one week after turning 24. I traveled for a period of time that was probably too long before settling down to live in a foreign country all by myself. I’ve spent over half of my savings, I’ve been to seven new countries, I’ve made new friends and lost some, and I’ve challenged myself in ways that I never really imagined.
Honestly, it’s hard to look back at everything I have done this year. I have eaten my body weight in noodles and rice. I have gained 15 lbs and lost 20. I have smiled at strangers and been stared at by many. I can’t recount all of the memories I have made or the emotions I have felt this year. I have taken tens and thousands of photos. I have lived extravagantly, and I have slept on floors. I have laughed, I have cried, and I have wanted to go home countless times.
I think one of the biggest things I have learned along the way is to stop comparing myself to others. Stop comparing myself to people I graduated with, stop comparing myself to other travelers who are doing so much more, stop comparing myself to other expats who live in Hanoi, stop comparing myself to people I grew up with. My life will never be like anyone else’s. No one will ever have my life either.
I have made a tiny life for myself in Vietnam. I got a job, quit the job, and gotten another. I have my own apartment that I pay for all by myself. I live a very simple life here, and I am continuing to work on myself on a daily basis. I am constantly learning more about what I am capable of as a person, as a woman, as a teacher, and as a friend.
2020 is going to be another big year, but I know that less is going to happen. No year is going to look as full as 2019. I am looking forward to 2020 because I am going to sink further into adulthood and hopefully improve on myself in ways never imagined. I long to be more productive with my days. I want to read more, write more, feel more, and love more.
2019, you were… indescribable. Nothing is ever going to match you. You were the first year I was ever truly on my own for the duration of it. You made me hate myself, love myself, accept myself, and be proud of myself.
A new year doesn’t really signify much. I will continue to grow and learn. I will laugh and cry some more. I will miss home and have more existential crises. It’s all apart of life.
Until next time,