This year, my dreams and goals disappeared and died right before my eyes, but the cause isn't what I thought.

That sounds like the most self-deprecating shit ever, doesn’t it? There’s certainly a tone of depression in that statement, but the truth is, there’s much more acceptance to it than anything.

2016 has been a whirlwind of a year for most of us, and that’s been on all fronts whether personal, within society, or just in nature itself. If you’re like myself, then it’s been excruciatingly difficult to keep a positive attitude moving into the new year as we anticipate new demons that might be awaiting their unveiling within the cracks of our lives. While there’s a sense of peace knowing that this destructive year is moving into history, there’s also a permanent anxiety tainted on my heart.

It’s always common to take some moments to reflect on the year prior as we wind down in the last few days before we hit the refresh button. Some of us look at particular events and memories, both good and bad, and others take pride in their own growth throughout the previous 12 months. For myself, I’ve found that I’ve ended up in a worse place, both physically and emotionally, than I was just 365 days ago. Last year at this time, I was fulfilling multiple career goals, meeting all kinds of new and amazing people, constantly creating and brainstorming, and in a place of high hopes. While I made some extremely significant accomplishments in 2016 that I look back on with the utmost pride, I also fell down a well of rough patches, and have been struggling to get back on my feet ever since. With each turmoil, my sense of optimism was scratched away a little more, and my pessimism went into overdrive. Negativity soon consumed me.

This year, my dreams and goals were slingshot into a concrete wall without any pieces left to pick up.

All year I have been continuously complaining about why my former ideas and goals went into a vault I forgot the password to. I constantly sought out someone or something to point the finger at as to why I was pushed back down the ladder after climbing it for 5 years. I let myself pile on the rage, frustration, and self pity all while I continued down a path that landed me in an emotional dungeon.

A couple of weeks ago, one more hardship came, which felt like the nail in the coffin. I was ready to give up. I prayed for my disappearance. Deleting all of my social media without any intention of returning, I snapped and completely went off the radar. My emotional towel was rung out and drained completely. After some extremely caring and selfless friends gathered up a search party for me, leading to missed calls, voicemails, and dozens of texts, two mental alarms suddenly went off in my head.

The first reminded me of how far I’ve come in the last 10 years, the battles I’ve already dominated, and the strength I believe I have to conquer more of them. The second alarm, however, was much more puzzling, heartbreaking, and relieving all at the same time.

My dreams disintegrated because of me. All this time, I was the one holding the slingshot.

For every finger I tried to point, the universe was actually pointing it right back at me. Every failure or surrender I made was on my own merit. Yes, there were plenty of circumstances out of my control, but my reaction and actions following are all completely within my own reach.

I look back at my 2016 goals list that I wrote up on December 31, 2015, and I see some check marks, but the ones without accomplishments to match came from my poor attitude and unwillingness to take on the challenge. Whether it was “doubling my brand,” developing better relationships, being persistent, putting on artists, or performing poetry, I held my goals from coming into fruition hostage. There is no other way to see it. While I was fighting an emotional war and busy trying to gather materials to conquer it as a one-woman army, I wrote letters home to myself of excuses, complaints, pain, and frustration. There was a way to bring my dreams to life, and I was too busy being stubborn to embrace it.

Life will always get in the way and throw shade at your success, but it will only interfere to the point of no chance of a comeback if you allow it.

For 2017, I vow to fight for what I want and what I know I’ve earned, and take care of myself in the way that I truly deserve. It’s time we all look in the mirror of fate. Don’t blame the world for holding you back. Sometimes it’s your own hands grabbing your shoulders. Lend a hand. Ask “how are you?” more. Open up your heart, and accompany it with your words. Appreciate the ugliness that blinds you. Accept that your lifelong plan is not always the right or best one for yourself. Roadblocks might be more helpful than harmful.

My life has done a complete 180 in the last 12 months, but the pilot seat is only fit for me to fill. Taking breathers is allowed, accepting a different route is permitted, but abandoning dreams shouldn’t be tolerated by any means. Get your shit together, Lindsey.

If you’re like me, make sure you stop in your tracks and come to your senses before it’s too late. Throw your tantrum, but don’t let it keep your down. People, love, and hope will lift you off the floor, but they can’t take the next step for you.

With that being said, good riddance 2016, and good riddance to my own bullshit.