Top 5 ways I grew in 2013

Harmony Reilly
Harmony Reilly

I haven’t done much in my 16 years of life. I haven’t traveled the world, I haven’t saved a kitten from a burning building, and I most certainly haven’t done anything worth praise.

But I have learned. I’ve learned things that make my mind travel if I think about them long enough.

1. Want vs. Need

I grew emotionally when I sat down and thought about what I had, and didn’t dwell on what I didn’t. I might not get the Blu-Ray five disc combo pack of Season 8 of “Supernatural,” but that’s fine. There are people in the world who don’t get to see their parents, or don’t know where their next meal is coming from. To remember that I’m blessed because I was born into wealth is amazing. When I say ‘wealth,’ I don’t mean Queen of England wealth. I mean the standard American wealth. We don’t consider ourselves wealthy when we can’t afford the latest iPhone or the newest car. In truth, we are. We have so much more than we realize, and just thinking about how much we have is shocking.

2. Who Am I?

When I thought about myself, about who I want to be, what I want to do with my life, I grew emotionally. I don’t want to be someone that the world forgets, I don’t want to die without having done something, having given back to the world. I want to be proud of where I am and what I’ve done in 20 years, not struggling to get by and hating myself for what could have been. It’s important to do things that make me happy, and not just do things for other people simply because it’s what they think is best for me.

3. To Believe or Not to Believe

I grew spiritually when I thought about what I believe. It’s hard to define my ideologies, because I believe in everything and in nothing at the same time. I believe there’s a God, I do. I just don’t know to what extent. In a way, all religions, including atheism, are right in some aspect. Religion is a hard thing to talk about without someone getting offended, and it shouldn’t be like that. Believing in God or not believing in a higher power in no way defines you as a person. You are not better or worse than someone who identifies or does not identify with religion, and that’s something I wish other people could see. There’s no need for shaming someone based on what they believe in; are we such petty creatures that we judge people based on their personal beliefs? Sitting down and coming to terms with what I believe and do not believe has helped me in my everyday life.

4. It’s Not Me, It’s You

When I was surrounded by anger, I grew intellectually and emotionally. It’s hard, being in a house with arguing adults. I can’t tell them to stop; it’s not my place. I’m the child, they’re the adults. And yet, when I sit alone in my room, surrounded by my sea green walls, clutching my pillow to my chest, and hear the conversation leaking through the vents into my ears, I can’t help but think this is not how it’s supposed to be. I will not be like this when I’m older. Everyone has their struggles, some we aren’t even aware of. Being in arguments or simply being surrounded by them has helped me grow as an individual. I am not the anger that ebbs throughout the house sometimes. I am my own person, and I can defeat the emotions surging through the hallways, trying to tear people apart. In the end, they always get over it. Everyone argues, everyone fights. But I can still learn from it, and I can better myself.

5. Everyone Has Problems

When I talked to someone very close to me about very personal issues, I grew more passionate and emotional. My friend has been going through a tough time, emotionally, physically, and mentally. She’s one of the people I hold most dear to me in my life, and to see her so broken, so fragile snapped something in me. Talking to her, sympathizing and empathizing with her, just talking about life and about daily struggles helped. We both went through tough times in 2013, and being able to talk to someone without filters was amazing. To realize that underneath the people you think you know is a whole other layer that sometimes only 2 a.m. sees. I’ve become more compassionate for people, realizing that everyone is going through something in their life.