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  • Alexandra Hillenbrand

leaving 2023 in the past

The year 2023 was like a grapefruit. It was bitter and tart, but it was ultimately ripe enough to be eye-opening. It invited good, swept in the bad, and called for change at every corner I met. I look in the mirror and don't see the same person I once was. The year of the grapefruit sweetened my perspective on life.

I have always searched for lightness in friendships, crushes, books, and televisions. I have looked for distractions, I have begged for relief, and I have hoped to be brand new. For ever and always, I have searched for the better in everyone else and looked at the worst in myself. For the first time in my life, 2023 let me see the good in that I hold without reservation.

I never wanted to be a person who carried darkness with them, but I was. Sometimes, when you're living in that clouded mindset, it's incredibly impossible to escape it. It is even harder to acknowledge that you are begetting your own misery by focusing on the heavy. More greatly than anything, all I ever wanted was to be a fountain of warmth for other people to cling to. When I failed at that, I was flooded with guilt and a sense of failure. When I succeeded, I felt more validated than ever. Which, like any high, becomes less effective each and every time you receive it.

You want to know the honest to god truth of what I learned in 2023? That I am lovely. That the lightness I was searching for in every piece of external validation, I already carried in myself. And while it is impossible to convince myself of that everyday, I feel closer to believing it than I ever have. Here's to 2023 - a year of growth and a period of change.

Here's to 2024 - let's try keep the life lessons to a minimum this year!

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