There is one sentence that describes my year 2013 very well. I can't really say it, because I am Finnish. But I'm going to be brave and say it anyway:
I am very grateful to be me, the kind of person I am right now.
I'm going to spoil it by saying "of course I know I'm far from perfect". "Of course I know I have many qualities I dislike and would like to be different". "Of course I know there is plenty of work to do to get where I would like to be".
This year, for some reason, I have been reflecting on who I am and how I have become me as I am now. I have been amazed what a long journey I have taken. There are so many things I have forgotten about what I was like and what I thought. I'm glad I have journals to remind me. In the beginning of this year, if anyone would have asked me, I would have said I have been like "this me" always. Part of it is true, of course. There are things that have always been part of me and most likely will always be part of me. But so much have changed. For the better I think. And I am grateful for that.
Some of the things I have learned while looking back are about those things that have made me what I am. Naturally a lot has to do with my parents. I am very grateful for all they have given me and done for me. I've changed (not only this year, but in the past 20 years) from the teenage perspective of "parents can't do anything right" to hoping I could somehow reach even remotely the level of good parenting they gave to their children.
I can identify certain experiences that have made me what I am now. They tend to be the hard ones. Haven't had really hard ones ever, but even those little experiences have had enormous consequences. There are also those experiences that have been just so wonderful that they have had an effect. They've given hope of being a better person.
But what I've come to realize, which I probably hadn't before, is that there are so many people who have in one way or another been there along the way to make me who I am. It may have been their example, their support and friendship, their pushing me out of my comfort zone, a moment of feeling someone understands me, even them making bad choices, perhaps hurting me, all of it. So many people have played a role in who I am now.
I am very grateful for all of you. Thank you.
We people really do need each other. As much as we want to think we have accomplished something by ourselves it rarely is true. Other people affect us and we affect others. Let's let that effect be a good one.