2017 in Words: Inclusivity, Policy, and Representation.

2017 was easily one of the most challenging years. But that’s definitely a good thing because I would ask for nothing less. I think the challenges we face make us who we are and make us grow out of our bubbles. All in all, 2017 was one of the most precious years I’ve ever spent. The year started off with a bang (literally) with one of my BEST buddies at Time Square New York Ball Drop. Since then, 2017 was a rollercoaster but I held on tight and had a lot of fun.

The “featured image” for this blog post wraps the entire year perfectly. Sri Lankan flag in the middle (the country I will always love and come back to), my university representative, other flags and diversity around me and so much happy vibes in the air.

I gave back!

“Giving back” is a very cliché thing but it’s one of the most important things in my life. Being kind, helping someone out, letting the past go and putting a smile on someone are important to me. It helps me wake up in the morning and makes me happy so I do it because I’m selfish (because it makes me happy). But either way, I think that helps. I was able to support the community I live in through Rotary, contribute my time to Student Government Association for the betterment of my university and was able to do a lot more stuff through organizations I’m a part of. A year full of “giving back” seems to me like a year fulfilled.

Zipped through the oceans!

I dream to travel. I think traveling enhances my capacity to understand different problems we face in our society. Sometimes the “problems” I face are a part of their lives in other parts of the world. But getting a glimpse of it and understanding that we are all the same because of our differences is bold and hard to digest. I got to travel to about 7-8 countries this year — some of it including Thailand, France, Switzerland, Germany, and Italy. I traveled a little bit within the United States as well. Traveling doesn’t have to be expensive. I shared a bed and used public transport in more than half of these journeys. When we set priorities, we don’t make excuses.

I built a long and tall wall

Nope — not the kind of wall Donald Trump wants to build. But, I built a strong wall to identify the people who really care about me and to accommodate their personalities. I grew up to understand that my parents love me the most although my “millennial-ly annoying personality” always gave them trouble. I understood who to call for what and that sometimes your best-est friend is the friend you haven’t met in a couple of years. It’s a swinging pendulum, but it’s crystal clear. Keep your friend circles small and your beers cold.

The little things in life

I started living in the moment a lot. I think the most conscious feeling ever is “living in the moment.” Whenever I didn’t have a cold, I was thankful for not having one and reflected on how much of a disaster it would have been if I did. I appreciated the work people around me do to our community to keep it lit and alive. I empathized and tried to enjoy every moment of my life, knowing that this is all temporary and one day I’ll leave all this. Living in the moment is so beautiful, relaxing and tempting.

Learned to forgive and forget

2017 gave me a lot of responsibilities and with it came “upholding the best interests..” of someone. So I had to make some pretty hard decisions, let a lot of things go but I learned to not carry the “baggage” around me. I learned to forgive and let things go pretty quickly and in return, I got a peace of mind. I let go of things that looked and sounded personal, I forgave people who had done mistakes that can’t be undone and I learned to live the life to the fullest.

2017 was colorful. With that color came bright lights and dark ones too, but I think that’s the whole point of life. I look forward to 2018 and keep up with my new year resolution for the 3rd year rolling — “stick to the plan.”