As we reach the end of another year, a lot of time is being spent in reflection over the events that have occurred in our lives.

For me, I have learned a lot of crucial lessons about myself and life in general.

I am 42 years old and I have been living with learning disabilities for most of my life. It's who I am. It's how God made me. I don't have any complaints about it, and even if I did...what good would it do?

I guess I could moan over the horrible bullying and harassment I dealt with in school. I guess I could whine about being discriminated against by society.

But like I said... what good would it do?

I didn't like living in constant fear walking down the hallway at school, not knowing what kind of cruel teasing I would receive.I didn't like being discriminated against by prospective employers.

For years I was royally messed up! I lived like a scaredy cat. I was too afraid to do anything. I didn't trust anyone. I built an invisible bubble around myself for protection.

I had a very hard time letting anyone in. Even though I knew deep down there were decent people out there, I was too afraid to take the chance.

Yes, I missed out on lots of good opportunities both personally and professionally, but I was too scared to risk any more hurt.

I spent years reading numerous self-help books trying to find the cure from all my hurt and pain. I would finish one and think I was healed... but it was only temporary. I literally wasted so much time trying to fix myself.

As I got older and as I lost loved ones, I began to realize that no amount of books would save me. I would have to do that myself. And quite frankly, I was really getting tired of reading all of them!

I have come to understand that people with learning disabilities are considered second class. Society would prefer that we would all disappear. And I tried to because I believed that their voices were correct.

I thought all of the voices of all those people who bullied and discriminated against me were God himself. I had to do what they said.

For over 30 years I had the bubble up, but this year I discovered it has been getting harder and harder to keep it up.

I noticed that some of my loved ones had done the same for various reasons. Like me, they have good excuses for it, but I don't want to keep mine up anymore.

It wasn't easy, I am not going to lie but I'm glad I did it. This past year has been very memorable.

After "popping the bubble," so much has happened.

This spring, I finally worked up the courage to quit a job working for a longtime client in my dog-sitting business because of a toxic work environment. I joined LinkedIn and met wonderful people who have provided me with numerous opportunities to grow in my writing career.

I have also gone on to pursue other writing opportunities and now I write regularly for several websites nationally and internationally, with more chances to grow in my dream to become an inspirational writer.

I would not have been able to do any of this if I still had the bubble up.

Before I wanted my parents' protection from the big, bad world. But now I want to get out there and see what it looks like.

I want to make enough money to be out on my own.I want my own place.I want to be more social and make more friends.

I want to be confident enough in myself to start talking to anyone without fear or anxiety.I want to travel.

Overall, I want to do the things that I was too scared to try.

Of course, my loved ones with their own invisible bubble have tried to stop me and will continue to do so. They mean no harm. If you knew their stories you would completely understand why they have one.

But I am hoping that by making these necessary changes, I can inspire them and anybody else who has been too afraid to improve their lives.

Yes, there are evil and wicked people out there, but I choose to focus on the good because it is out there. I don't want to have a bubble around me anymore. I want to live free — free to live the life I was meant to.