Ashton RayComment

End of Year Journaling

Ashton RayComment
End of Year Journaling

Top 5 Best Memories

  1. Driving to Portland with my favorite people on earth.
  2. Seeing Bon Iver again (with more of my favorite people on earth).
  3. My capstone research at MC and all it's led me to do.
  5. Feeling at home in Birmingham, from school to my apartment, to church and my people.

Top 5 Hardest Memories

  1. Depression (again and again and again)
  2. Transitioning to life away from the college bubble, to life at camp, to a brand new season of brand new things in Birmingham.
  3. The plethora of paralyzing identity crisis I've had since starting grad school.
  4. Leaving my people at MC (Do not mistake this for saying that I miss MC at all).
  5. Going to umbrella a lot of them by just saying: grad school

Bonus: Biggest regret

Dying my hair brown. Bad move. Lasted a month. The end. 

Biggest Lesson Learned

I think the biggest, and hardest, lesson that I learned this year is that dreams, hopes, and goals aren't easily achieved. Life doesn't just happen for us. Transition isn't easy just because the transition is helping me get to where I want to be. I am confident that God has given me my dreams and that He will be with me as I carry them through, but that doesn't mean that the journey will be without mess.

A Word for the Year & Why

Growing pains. Two words, but one concept and that's really what I was going for here. I mean, damn y'all. I'm ending this year relieved that it's over, relieved that I've learned the lessons that I have. Growing pains were terrible for me (I was 5'6 by the time I was 12) but they got me where I needed to be. I'm choosing to believe that about this year's growing pains too. 

If I could go back to the beginning of this year & tell myself one thing, what would it be?

You're going to be okay. You're stronger, smarter, and braver than you think. Cling to truth, and everything will be alright in the end. Also, you don't have to have it all figured out. 

What am I most proud of coming out of 2017? 

My resilience. The last four months of 2017 were some of the hardest of my life. I wanted to quit everything, seriously, everything, almost everyday. I was exhausted, isolated, and overwhelmed. My body, due to stress and my poor decision to cut out healthy habits to make room for over-working myself, was more unhealthy than it has been in years. I had strep twice, some kind of weird stress-induced terrible stomach thing, and I was so tired I couldn't think. I finished my first semester of grad school while I unknowingly had strep throat. Self awareness wasn't at a high, but I was pretty impressed that I was able to do that. I wasn't taking care of myself, but I was resilient. Next year, I'm going to work to learn what resilience looks like in a healthy season.

Goals, hopes, & fears for 2018

My goals and hopes all center around my writing and my studies. I want this to be a year of words, both written and read.

  1. Get back into my healthy morning habits. 
  2. Write more (duh).
  3. Get back into all of my healthy everything habits.
  4. Get in community. (I am a very content introvert and this is a hard one for me.)
  5. Be kind to myself.
  6. Be proud of myself. 

 My fear is that nothing will change, that I will slip into my bad habits from this fall semester and it'll be bad. But, I'm not living in that fear. Nope nope nope.