Sometimes, as I read through my old blog posts, I curse myself for being so creative, for writing so well. Though this may sound like a blessing in disguise, I am sad to confess I’ve looked at many things through a negative mindset in the past year. Instead of thinking, “I wrote breath-taking posts, and I still write wonderfully!” I think to myself, “Damn it. I am one year older than I was at that time, and I can’t even compare my writing today to then. All momentum is gone. There is no sun. I cry so much. Why am I like this?”

Alright, this may be a bit of an exaggeration, but some days this is my complete train of downward spiraling thoughts. I was trying to correct myself just an hour ago as I read my New Years post from 2016: I visibly cringed as I read: “My advice to you in this upcoming year is to take control. Grip that damn steering wheel with both hands and white knuckles, because this is your life. Live it on purpose.

Reading my own obliviously cheerful advice put me in the worst mood, because do you know who never listens? Me. I don’t even take my own advice, and I feel like this is a major betrayal to all who read this.


But I’ll let you in on a little secret: sometimes, writers write for their readers. And this causes us to turn a blind-eye to the words we preach. However, I don’t look at this as a waste of my breath. Because as long as what I’ve written, said, or shouted at the top of my lungs is heard and received by one other soul, my goal has been accomplished. Even if 99% of the time that soul is not mine.

One year ago, I summarized 2016 as five words: “I got my shit together.”

Today, my 2017 can be summed up to just two: “Just kidding!”

I hate to sound pessimistic in public, because generally I reserve the sass for closed doors, but I had a bit of a collapse at the end of this year. Too many months of worked up stress, anxiety, worry, nerves, and new adjustments brought my tower, the strong foundation I had been building endlessly for so long, came crashing down in flames. I began crying for no reason, my stomach aches lasted for weeks, and I craved nothing more than to be alone and sleep.

Unfortunately, my once-sharply focused vision line of my career, my hopes for the future, and my writing goals became blurred. I lost interest in writing for others, and eventually interest in myself. The endless tears ruined my eyesight and made my sadness to center of my life. In 2016, I decided that I would live on purpose, but on 2017, I defaulted to just trying to make it through the day, week, month, semester, and finally, the year.

And here we are.

But I forgot that in 2017, I published my second book.

I celebrated my one year anniversary with my high school sweetheart.

I went to the gym nearly every day.

I got two tattoos.

I graduated high school.

I raised and owned five chickens.

I sat in the audience for a TED talk.

I donated and cleaned out nearly 50% of my possessions.

I left toxic relationships behind.

I did a lot of yoga.

I attended church every sunday

I went to a Twenty One Pilots concert.

I went to a Coldplay concert.

I made a new best friend and long-lost sister.

I visited Arizona twice and California once.

I stopped eating red meat and chicken.

I tested my limits.

And most of all, I survived.

2017 may have brought down a few levels from the woman and writer I once was, but as I sit here and look out at the color of the sky, I am thankful. I am thankful for my lowest points, because it made the high ones oh so much sweeter. I am thankful for my weakness, because it showed me my strengths.

And most of all, I am thankful for the opportunity 2017 gave me: a new beginning.

Because if I only keep one resolution, it’s to take my own advice and write for myself as well. With this in mind, I’d like to speak into existence the focus of 2018: reawaken what you thought was gone. Refresh your mindset. Redirect your thoughts. Revive your life, because you’re only nineteen years old once.

Best of luck to you, and me.

Yours with truth,

Madeleine Rheinheimer


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