Positivity: A Year In Review

It’s curious how Time seems to pass faster the older I get. I wonder why that is. Could it be because as an adult I don’t live In The Moment like when I was a child – when activities and days seemed to stretch on forever?

I find it interesting my Word for the Year was Positivity, when this year has been one of the most wildly tumultuous years I’ve experienced yet. 27 was definitely NOT the picture perfect, rose coloured life my 11 year old self imagined. But maybe one can gain a better understanding of Positivity when your life is in upheaval; when things don’t go “right” or smoothly or even well at all! Because then what is your basis for Positivity – if everything is always only ever peachy-keen?

The year started in Ireland – sick from the Chinese air and a long haul flight, a veritable battle w/ border control, plunged into an insidiously damp Irish January and circumstances I did not expect. My three month plan working at a seal sanctuary took many turns for the worse (another story for another time) and I immediately found myself questioning what Positivity meant. Was it just putting a happy face on a shitty situation? Was it pushing myself beyond my boundaries in an effort to appease others? Why couldn’t I just DECIDE to be Positive in the face of adverse conditions and circumstances? And it was here that I realized something that would continue with me through the course of Positivity 2018:

Positivity is a Silver Lining.

Honestly, over the many ups and downs this year threw my way, it always kept reinforcing this concept, much to my chagrin. I kept getting (perhaps irrationally so) upset that I was finding myself always looking “on the bright side of life“, or if not exactly the bright side of life in that moment, I would cling to the hope of a brighter future.

I’ve always enjoyed connecting the Dots of Life – seeing how I ended up where I am by looking at what brought me here. The first month in Ireland was an insane time – I was constantly battling myself and my unpleasant situation, and making certain choices were some of the hardest things I have EVER done. BUT – if I hadn’t made those choices, I would never have met some of the most lovely and wonderful people, gained a deeper understanding about self care, come across books I could share with family and friends, created some truly SPECTACULAR memories (coughcoughLATINNIGHTcough), learned about snails, seen wild horses, become closer to some truly special people in my life, or even taken my first wine course (yeah, I know – in Ireland of all places!). Not to mention, the impact I had on the lives of those I encountered, however brief or lasting.

A lot of soul searching has happened this year, from all around Europe and back to the States, and it hasn’t always been pretty. My depression and anxiety sprang to life with a fierce vengeance which, among all the other joys they bring, brought a huge sense of defeat. I’d been doing so well. But this time, something was slightly, but monumentally, different. This time, even in the midst of un-nameable despair, a voice in my heart reminded me that I have had incredible experiences. And that those days WILL come again. And that, my friends, is Positivity.


About juliamenn

Performer. Artist. Author. Lover of food and travel. Animal enthusiast. Avid reader. Globe-trotter.
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3 Responses to Positivity: A Year In Review

  1. grandpatim21 says:

    Hey there – so sorry you had a rough year. If there’s a gene for depression/anxiety, I’m afraid it runs in our family. Just before she passed away, my Mom confessed to having battled chronic depression for most of her life. I have as well, though I concealed it until my late 30’s. That’s how it was back in the day – it was too shameful to admit. It’s not anymore, so I hope you’re getting some professional help. It really does make a difference! Love you lots! 🙂


    • juliamenn says:

      Yes – I’ve been seeing a therapist and on/off medication for several years. One reason I’m so open about my struggles here is because this conversation needs to be had! Let’s end the stigma!


  2. Hi Julia! One reason life seems to go more quickly now that you’re older is that each year is a smaller and smaller percentage of your entire life than it was when you were younger. (So expect that trend to continue and increase.) “On the bright side” (whistles), all the events combined to get you into a great place, with good roommates, and the beginning of the next phase of life. And who knows what it will bring? The is hope, adventure, learning, new experiences, and new people in the offing. And you have the support and love of your dad which and whom you can count on. i love you, and I’m proud of you for the path you’ve chosen and how you are negotiating it. Dad


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