This year, though, has been different.
2016 ended with relief, and not with celebration. It ended with fear, anger, and apprehension over what is to come, grief over what has been lost, and deep sadness over personal setbacks. It would be an easy thing to let myself be lost to despair....to give up and lose hope.
2016 was also a year in which many truly good things happened. It's important to remember that, and it's important to show gratitude for all of the blessings that did come. I made myself sit down today and focus on the good...and wow, 2016 truly did have some great moments.
With gratitude, I want to take a moment to celebrate these things today:
- I earned my 13.1 sticker in 2016.
- My husband and I were able to finally participate in a Halloween half-marathon that we've wanted to do for years.
- I ran, and I ran, and I ran...and I tapped...and I discovered that not only did I love all of this crazy exercise, but that I thrived on it...that the benefits went so very far beyond the purely physical.
- I took to heart the lessons taught by two separate, and very different injuries. I think those lessons will help make me be a better person.
- I took to heart the lessons taught by those races...lessons about setting goals and reaching them, about being flexible, about my own capabilities. I think those lessons will extend well beyond my running shoes.
- My weight and other health markers remained blessedly stable....meaning that all of my hard work over the past couple of years has helped me to find stasis in a positive place.
- And by the way, I ate some chocolate, and the world didn't end. (That may be a post for another day.)
- We were able to make a significant upgrade to our home by replacing our kitchen floors.
- And I found that after all, I do love my corner of the basement and can happily find peace there.
- We celebrated my beloved Grandma's 90th birthday.
- We celebrated the pregnancy of some beloved friends, and are looking forward to welcoming their baby in the coming year. They are family.
- We bore witness to the miracle of life, a gift from the farm....and when I say miracle, I'm being quite literal about that in at least once case.
- I spent so much more time outside, and found nourishment in all that the world had to give.
- I found ways to eat out and enjoy myself again.
- So very many of my relationships deepened this year. It's a beautiful thing.
- In dark moments, I was surprised by who reached out to me...and that kindness and love gave me hope for the world.
- In dark moments, difficult conversations were had, which taught me valuable lessons in how to communicate.
- I took some important first steps towards returning to the workforce, all of which were confidence builders.
- SPEC was a revelation this year in so many ways. The last 10 minutes of our last class will be in my heart for always, and I continue to give thanks for the community I've found there.
- I watched as my girls continued to blossom. They have so much potential, and we are starting to see some of our hopes and dreams for them bare fruit. I would say more, but that is their story, not mine.
- My commitment to social justice deepened, and I began to find some clarity in how best I can prioritize and support causes that are near and dear to me.
- I was reaffirmed in the values that my family holds dear, which allowed me to let go of some petty jealousies that have been plaguing me.
- I made some beautiful things....and some of them found homes with people who love and appreciate them.
- I was inspired by friends and loved ones who are chasing their dreams, and I celebrated their successes.
- I was inspired by friends who have shown grace in the face of great difficulty.
- The balance that I've sought for so long became more of a reality as I learned how to push myself gently while also giving myself what I need...even when that meant doing the hard thing by standing up for myself.
- Mostly, I've felt loved and seen...and that's all that really matters.
This afternoon I pulled out the journal that holds the goals that I set forth for 2016. They weren't resolutions per say, but were a list of about 20 or so things in 4 different categories that I wanted to work on. Some of those goals I achieved to great success, others I made progress on, and a few, of course, went completely by the wayside. That's just the way that life works, and overall I'm pleased with what I was able to accomplish. I'm glad I have that list...we should always have a concrete list of things that we are working for, just as we should also have some compassion for ourselves and a sense of humor about it as well.
I'll sit down this evening and make up a list of goals for 2017. Maybe - just maybe - I'll even share some of those goals with you. It will doubtless be a list of goals both mundane and lofty. Next year I'll look back and roll my eyes at some while celebrating success over others, and I will remind myself of the lessons of 2016: That life is complex, and can be heartbreaking...but it can also be beautiful, and as long as we are striving to be our better selves there is hope for the world.
May you all be blessed with a Happy New Year.