My 2019 Reflections -Lily Tun-Brown

What an eventful decade! It’s hard to believe how far we’ve all come. Ten years ago I started kindergarten at El Marino Language School, the beginning of my life journey. Back then the world felt so, so big and I was small. I was used to living feeling like I was nothing because what was so special about me anyway? I was ashamed to be different because that was what society had taught me. The overall concept of the world was overwhelming to me—grades, new people, new places—and I chose to hide from it all. I hid from the people because I was afraid of being hurt. I hid from the places because why would anyone want to go anywhere else but home?

See, back then I was small. Life was small. But somehow, somewhere along the way, I found my purpose. Maybe I didn’t have the most friends or the prettiest hair, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t make a mark on the world. I fought back. I embraced change. I created a version of myself that I could be proud of. Every day I’d think to myself, “what’s one thing i could do better?” Little by little I turned my life story into something worthy.

Now, as this decade comes to an end, I can proudly say that I’ve turned hopeless to hopeful. The world’s obstacles may be difficult but I am stronger. I once saw myself as bland and ordinary, but now I couldn’t disagree more. Like Elon Musk once said, “it is always possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary.” Over the past ten years my hard work and determination has most definitely paid off, and I’ve created a version of myself I can be proud of every single day.

Recently I’ve learned the value of remembering the past, including one’s worst memories, since everything that ever happened helped make you who you are today. Be proud of your flaws and accept them, because they are just as important to you as your strengths. Let your mistakes guide you on the right path and remember to never ever give up.

Another thing I learned was the importance of embracing change. Even though change can bring new challenges, the process of overcoming those obstacles will make you grow as a person. After all, which would you prefer—the pain of staying where you are, or the pain of growth?

But at the end of 2019, the one most powerful lesson I’ve learned is to never underestimate yourself. Never allow another person or situation to undermine your worth. The world and its endless possibilities can be yours. You have the ability to change your life. You are stronger than you think, and capable of much more than you believe.

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