Opinion: Challenge and growth in 2019, looking forward to 2020

Last year may have been a rough year, but I’m stronger for it

By Kevin J. Sabo

For the Advance

The last year has been equal parts challenge and growth for me.

Of the challenges I’ve faced, none have been harder than dealing with the sudden loss of a family member and the effects of that event on my mental health.

My mental health has continued to give me problems, forcing a couple of short admissions into hospital. However, the emphasis should be on short.

Not all challenges are bad either.

The grief and challenge felt by the loss of the family member weren’t the only new challenges brought before me in 2019. I started school again. I began developing my skills as a photographer, and I’ve been trying to dip my toes into graphic design.

All of these challenges have pushed me outside of my comfort zone, and toward growth.

Something I’ve learned in 2019 is that in order to grow, you need to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. It doesn’t matter whether its mentally or physically, growth doesn’t happen if you stay in the status quo.

Mentally, I’ve embraced the work I’ve done with my therapist, and I’ve pushed myself by beginning to speak about the struggles I’ve dealt with in regard to my mental health.

I’ve further pushed myself by starting school for my English degree and photography courses. Physically, I’ve started a workout regime that I am following most days as well.

I will admit when I started taking more on, I was nervous.

I was nervous that I would overload myself. I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to manage the additional stress. The thing is, despite the bumps in the road I’ve hit, I’ve thrived.

I’ve been finding a new balance in my life. I’m mentally and physically stronger for the work I’ve done. Last year may have been a rough year, but I’m stronger for it.

The New Year is going to see more growth in my life.

More courses, more photography, more work, and more dealing with my mental health. I may be stronger than I have been in a long time but I know that there is still much work to do.

Despite the positives of the last year, my mental health isn’t “cured.” It continues to be something I have to be aware of and manage, though I don’t see it being as big of an issue moving forward.

If it is? I’ll deal with it when and if it happens.

Last year may have brought forward its challenges, but I can’t deny the growth it brought with it.

I, for one, can’t wait to see what 2020 brings with it.

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