Looking Back

By Allison Stein

As we anticipate a new year and a fresh start, we find ourselves looking forward to the goals we will tackle in the 12 months ahead of us—but even more powerfully, we look with newfound perspective at the 12 months we have just left behind. Time has a way of deepening the impact of moments and coloring the stain of memories.

Likewise, after years of entries, my journal has illuminated the relationship between my past and present—where my story belongs, where the past ends and the present begins, and where these two plot-lines intersect.

I would like to share with you the words of my past self, words that penetrate my heart to this day. It is my hope that you, too, will be inspired.

1. I learned.

  • December 14, 2013: “What if I look back years from now and wish…?”
  • December 21, 2013: “[K]nowing that I struggled will satisfy me all the more if my dreams come true.”
  • June 9, 2014: “I want to remember the times I was strong but also the times I was weak.”

2. I changed.

  • April 17, 2014: “…I have found what I’ve spent years looking for: my voice.”
  • April 18, 2014: “I have gone through some kind of stage, I feel, and entered another.”
  • June 18, 2014: “I’ve changed…and that took courage.”

3. I loved.

  • March 4, 2014: “I hope that someday I can help someone like you helped me.”
  • March 15, 2014: “[R]eading my book is like reading my heart.”
  • March 18, 2014: “It was…one of those now-or-never moments.”

4. I dreamed.

  • December 8, 2013: “I dream…anyway…”
  • March 27, 2014: “I wonder what will have happened one year from now.”
  • March 31, 2014: “Dreams always seem both impossible and inevitable.”

5. I discovered.

  • January 16, 2014: “I want to be myself and my own…”
  • February 15, 2014: “We really are all connected…”
  • March 18, 2014: “[J]ust knowing that I could…do my best was encouraging, just for me.”

6. I believed.

  • February 1, 2014: “I like to think that…maybe I’ll someday positively affect the world.”
  • March 10, 2014: “The world seems full of hope…”
  • July 1, 2014: “It isn’t that I’m not afraid. I am.”

7. I smiled.

  • January 7, 2014: “It’s the cold days when I’m most thankful for home.”
  • April 10, 2014: “[E]very day is…joy…”
  • September 9, 2014: “I’m lucky.”

8. I cried.

  • January 15, 2014: “I was counting on someone who let me down.”
  • June 9, 2014: “[T]hose weak moments seem like things I’ve overcome, not things that have overcome me.”
  • June 18, 2014: “…I’ve learned that…God will help you through anything.”

9. I struggled.

  • January 5, 2014: “I’m afraid of growing up.”
  • April 17, 2014: “I regret my silence.”
  • September 8, 2014: “Well, I had done my best…that was consolation, at least.”

10. I prayed.

  • May 24, 2014: “You stayed with me…through every defeat and every victory.”
  • June 30, 2014: “I think I have faith in myself, too—at least deep down.”
  • July 10, 2014: “God…thank you for giving me the courage…”

I hope that you enjoyed this post—and that we all spend 2017 living out our dreams with no regrets. Happy New Year!


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