At the end of every year, I’ve always been the first to think that the previous year had been tough, but the following will be great – because I’ve earned it, right?

As we fall upon the eve of a new year, I have officially retired the phrase, “2014/2015/20etc. was a hard year,” because I realized that this life is hard.

This life is really hard.

I know that I am not alone in this – feeling like there are times when it is just one thing after another and life’s struggles aren’t going to stop anytime soon.

 After angrily asking God, ‘why do bad things happen to good people’ for so long, I realized that this life isn’t meant to be easy.

I was raised in a very safe way. As a child, my mother would never let me spend the night at friend’s houses, much less let me walk down to the end of the street by myself. I never really had to experience any pain growing up. My parents very much wanted to keep me from danger – which inadvertently made the pain or struggles that I had to face on my own a hard pill to swallow.

Immediately after moving over one hundred miles away from the only home I’d ever known, I lost complete sight of my own identity and who I was.

It took the first two semesters of college to wreck my world and learn uncomfortable yet invaluable life lessons. I learned more through those struggles than I did inside the classroom.

I saw my mother go from healthy one month, to telling me she ‘may not make it’ to the next. She spent that month at the hospital in critical condition.

I fell deeply in love, and then nine months later had my heart broken by that same love.

I struggled with crippling anxiety and severe depression that interfered with my daily life.

After a while, struggling became the norm for my life.

When I recently received the news that my grandmother, Mimi passed from her battle with breast cancer, my world shook. The thought couldn’t help but pass through my mind more than once:

‘Here it goes again.’

Then I remembered something my Mimi left with me on this earth in one of our last conversations.

“Meggan, whatever you did to make it back to the happy and genuine you, you can’t stop.”

Those words of our last conversation resonate with me everyday.

As the new year draws closer and closer, I can hear ‘10-months-ago-Meggan’ dwelling in negativity about how hard this year was for her, but ‘today-Meggan’ is rejoicing in those struggles.

It was struggle that caused me to see my own strength.

I can rejoice today because I am someone who is strong because of those struggles.

Ten months ago, I would have not been able to handle the death of my Mimi. Sure, the initial shock overcame me, but it didn’t destroy me like past struggles did – which is why I am glad that I had to go through those trials.

That thought ‘here it goes again’ turned into ‘you’re strong and more than capable of getting through this’ – something ’10-months-ago-Meggan’ would have never allowed to cross her mind.

There isn’t anyway to go around life – and the only way to get through it is to actually, well, go through it – in the middle of it and getting your hands dirty along the way. Life is meant to be hard, but I believe that’s exactly what makes it so worth living.