When each new year comes, it is easy to favor the incoming year over the outgoing one. This is especially true if you have gone through hardship over the past year. You feel like you just want the old year to be over with already, and you greet the new year with new hopes and plans.
In many ways, the year 2016 was an eventful one for me. I trained for and ultimately joined the Marine Corps, shipped off to boot camp in July, then was medically discharged in September. (See the October and November 2016 issues of the Town Sound for more about that.) Not long afterward, I was rehired at the same gift shop where I had worked for about four years previously. And then in December, I met a wonderful man. So this past year has been full of surprises.
This past year has been a mixture of joy and sadness, and suspense and unpredictability... just like life itself. There were hard times. There were also good times I wouldn't trade for anything. I met some fine young people in the course of training for the Marine Corps. Their dedication and determination was inspiring to witness. Many are now Marines, and I am happy for them.
Looking back on some of the toughest things I went through this past year, I am full of gratitude, both to God and to the people who cared about me when others didn't. And there are many good memories. There were my fellow recruits who taught me far more than my drill instructors ever did. I will always remember Recruit Bailey, who made it her business to check on me during the time I was suffering from pneumonia.
My platoon had recruits from many different backgrounds. Some had been in foster care, or had roamed the streets, prior to joining the service. Some had come from more comfortable lifestyles. All of us were forced to work together, and during the stress and shared suffering we endured, some people wilted and others shone. I will never forget some of the amazing moments I witnessed in boot camp.
Although my time in the Marine Corps was mostly painful, I am very grateful to those who reached out to me when I was going through one of my lowest times. You know who you are, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
My family deserves special thanks for their unwavering love and support. They do not always agree with my life decisions, but they care about me and through both words and actions, they show me how much they love me.
Even though the year 2016 had its dark moments for me, I will always feel thankful to have lived through it and to have made it through to see a brand new year.