Ilhan Aden - A year of truth

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Someone off-handily mentioned to me that this year, they felt like an octopus with their tentacles being pulled in every direction—a shared feeling deep within my spirit.

This year has been the hardest year I’ve worked with the least amount of return.

It’s strange, I’ve always known time was fleeting but never really could say I cared until I found my passion. Sounds selfish but this year has taught me it’s OK to be selfish so long as you can also be selfless.

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The pandemic gave to light the many underlying issues that we, as a Canadian society, have collectively swept under the rug — parallel to how we’ve been dealing with our personal problems for some time.

It’s been a year of truth; what kind of truth I’ll leave up to you.

In my life, I’ve seen both a heavy regression and tremendous growth. Its impact is yet to be seen, but its weight is absolutely felt.

With graduation around the corner, the closing of this chapter in my life is imminent and I don’t quite know what to make of it. What I do know, however, is that this year is one like no other.

I’ve changed for what I hope is for the better but could be argued for the worse.

I’ve become more fearless in my goals, commanding in what I want for and from myself, and impatient to the overflow of nonsense I see.

I’ve learned to unburden myself of my parents’ past and accept them, flaws and all. So much so, I am openly embracing—rather than running from—our similarities in behaviour.

I’ve developed a much thicker skin when it comes to criticism of both myself and my creative endeavours. It’s been illuminating to witness my progression of apathy towards matters that should not and do not concern me. It’s become much easier to let go and just be rather than constantly worry.

I realized—albeit in a difficult way—the importance of a healthy work to life balance. Most importantly, I realized kindness is not given to be reciprocated, and that’s a bitter pill to swallow.

These life lessons have been a long time coming but were expedited due to the immense time spent alone because of COVID. Regardless, I can confidently say that I understand myself much better than I did a year ago.

Working to run a biweekly newspaper and weekly podcast during a pandemic will be an experience I will never forget. The number of mistakes, adjustments and forced adaptability helped strengthen both my entrepreneurial spirit and mindset, allowing me to better plan my future.

It was a cathartic yet unusual experience earning money through the expression of my thoughts and feelings, one that I most certainly want to continue.

Overall, this year has been a tedious, yet tantalizing time and I wouldn’t change a single thing—accept the amount of people that died due to the incompetence, greed and bureaucracy seen through the handling of this pandemic, but that’s an article for another day.