#11 TRENDING IN Mental Health & Self Love 🔥

Dear Diary: We Made It Through Another Year

Mental Health & Self Love

December 28, 2023

Dear Diary,

It’s me again, after another year. Last December I wrote to you, hoping for a fruitful year. I appreciate the things that happened in 2023.

I never could have imagined the eventual successes that occurred since my last letter to you. However, the successes from this year don’t matter as much as the rest. I realized that no matter what I do, it won’t be enough for me. So, I embarked on my self-discovery journey.

Through 2023, I met the happiest and saddest version of myself, and I appreciated learning more about them. I know this year was rough, especially with friendships, loneliness, insecurities, and some more that I don’t want to get into. And, to be honest, I don’t believe that ‘everything happens for a reason’. I think that some things just happen, and life is just meant to be chaotic.

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I used to avoid crying, venting, fear, anxiety, and anger, but I can’t run away from it. If anything, my escape attempts leave me more miserable. Now, I accept it.

It’s a part of me, and I try to love it. It's a work in progress, and next year it’ll be better. Speaking of accepting, I’ve been working on my insecurities and focusing on the positives. Every morning, I look at myself in the mirror and say an affirmation. I forgot to practice for a couple of days, so let me catch up now.

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I like how my energy radiates in the morning. I'm starting to appreciate my smile more. Whenever I smile, it looks like my entire body is smiling.

Additionally, I love how my perseverance is developing. I recognize how I’m not giving up on cello songs, and I appreciate the dedication I set towards the spelling bee. I've lost a lot of bees before, but I kept going at it. I love my body for what it is, and not for what I want it to be. For instance, I love my acne because it makes my face look like pizza, and at night it looks like a giant pepperoni slice. In fact, I started to love everything that makes me imperfect, because my imperfections don’t define me; they’re just a part of me. I love the birthmark that delicately gift wraps my belly. I love the dimples that flicker when I smile, and my sideburns that twist and writhe throughout the day.

I guess that counts as conquering my fears. I’ve been working on this self-awareness journey, and I realized how messed up I am. I felt scared a lot this year.

Every time I interacted with someone, I replayed dozens of scenarios in my head, constantly fixating on my perfectionism. When I approached the microphone at the spelling bee, I feared failing. When I published an article, I feared royally screwing up. Any time I was enjoying the moment, I made sure not to enjoy it too much. I was afraid of the ups and downs life had in store for me.

I’ll be honest...I don’t like to fail, but now I appreciate failure a bit more. I know my failures strengthen me, as they do with writing articles, spelling bees, competitions, or my self-awareness journey. I've established that I have to live through the bad parts to appreciate the good parts more.

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Thankfully, I learned how to endure the bad parts better. But first, I apologize that I wasn’t there for you at your lowest. I know many people left in these dark times, and I foolishly left you.

But now, I am your number one supporter, and I’ll stick with you no matter what. I want to strengthen my connection from within, and I’ll start with that.

Now, I want to stop panicking during tough times this new year. I’ve already set up my internal support, so I must implement that. I know I’ve made a few friendships this year, and I love them, but they don’t feel real. I know this sounds whiny...but they just don’t.

Sometimes, I feel disconnected from life. It’s like I wake up and run through my day, but it all feels like an illusion. And what’s worse is I worry about my worth. I lose track of my identity when observing accomplished prodigies on the news and stunning models on Instagram.

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It’s so weird. I’m this tiny speck on this giant rock we call Earth. And the Earth is a tiny speck in this universe.

Within a few centuries, I’ll be forgotten. So, why am I here? I hope I can answer this next year, or at least have a better idea.

That’s all the brooding I have for now, so let me end this entry on a good note. Specifically, on my good note. I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time worrying about what others want for me.

I know they just want the best, but sometimes, it’s not the best for me. That’s another thing I want to focus on for the upcoming year – my self-purpose. So, here goes nothing…

I am excited to end my first year of high school. I’m about 3 years from becoming an adult. That does scare me, but I can’t wait to drive...or at least try to.

I can’t wait to see the people I’ll meet, laugh with, smile with, and cry with. And I can’t wait to see the mistakes, choices, and decisions I’ll make. No matter how small or large, I’ll try my best.

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I know 2024 is going to be rough at times, but I learned a lot of lessons from 2023 that’ll make the ride less scary. So, I'll buckle up, because 2024 is going to be a wild ride.



Dev Shah
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Writer since Sep, 2023 · 24 published articles

Dev Shah is a freshman at Palm Harbor University High School. He won the 2023 national spelling bee and now runs a coaching business and blog. In his free time, he loves to read, play the cello, write, and play tennis. He has essays published in the Washington Post and Tampa Bay Times.