I think most people will agree that 2016 hasn’t been the best year. There’s been a lot of crazy stuff, a lot of loss, a lot of confusion and pain, but in all of that, there are also a lot of lessons and life changing moments. I’ll be taking a lot of the good with the bad from 2016.
We lost a LOT of big named celebrities who contributed so much in their lives and careers, and inspired millions of people. We had a nasty election that showed just how divided this country is, and that we have so much work to do. A person who scares the crap out of me was elected President and will “lead” this country for the next four years. There have been fires and floods, earthquakes and tornados.
On a very personal level, we lost my mother in law, Doris, in March at the age of 86, and I had family members going through life changing events that haven’t been easy or without pain.
As I’m writing this, a former classmate of mine is in the hospital in critical condition. They say it was sudden. Just yesterday she shared a post on Facebook about the Huskers. Before that she had only been suffering from a cough for a couple of weeks.
So what will I take away from 2016?
Life is short.
It is so, so fragile.
Tomorrow is not guaranteed.
We must make the most of every. Single. Day.
It may all sound cliché, but it is so, so true. And that is what I hope to do more of in 2017. Actually, that’s what I’ve been trying to do the last couple of months, but then I just feel guilty.
But I feel guilty because I’m not out living a life of adventure and travel. And isn’t that what everyone is talking about when they talk about making the most of every day and having no regrets? Maybe for some, yes. But that’s not me. And I’m learning that’s okay.
I’ve been thinking a lot about, what is important to me? What makes me light up? What brings me joy? Participating in Jess Lively’s “Life With Intention Online” class helped me uncover and figure out those things. And it’s not skydiving or mountain climbing. While I’d love to be able to traveI, at this time in my life it’s not feasible, and honestly it’s not really a top priority.
What does bring me joy?
Being with my people — my family and friends. Self-care and self-awareness. Love. Kindness. Making small differences in the lives of those around me and in my community. Reading. Writing. Making lists of things I dream of doing. Setting goals I want to reach. None of its “thrilling” or adventurous by society’s standard – a lot of it I can do from the comfort of my own home – and I’m learning that that’s okay. I think the whole point is just don’t put off the things that bring you joy. If its jumping out of an airplane, do it. If it’s traveling to foreign countries and seeing the world, get out there. IF, like me, it’s loving your people with all of your heart, reading a good book or writing a blog post with a glass of wine, taking walks with family, or meeting up with friends for a drink or coffee to make new memories or reminisce about old times, that is amazing! The point is, there are no guarantees and we may NOT have tomorrow, so live your life in a way that makes YOU happy and brings YOU joy. It may not be someone else’s cup of tea. So what!?!
Don’t judge yourself and your choices by how other people find their own joy and happiness. And don’t judge THEM on it either. Adventure might not be your thing. Leaving the house and being around a bunch of people may not be your thing. It’s ALL good! It’s all about no regrets and doing what truly brings you joy.
Also, please don’t give into the guilt that Facebook and Instagram can bring. In 2017 and beyond, YOU DO YOU!
And I do want to add that while a lot of bad stuff has happened this year, 2016 wasn’t all bad news. The Summer Olympics gave us a couple of weeks to smile, to forget about the election, to feel the pride of watching those amazing athletes represent our country, to watch all of their hard work pay off, and to watch new heroes being made. The Cavs won the NBA Championship giving Cleveland its first major sports championship since 1964. The Cubs ended a VERY long drought and won the World Series.
For the first time ever, America nominated its first female candidate for a major political party AND she won the country’s popular vote. And, after months of demonstrations, in early December the Army Corps of Engineers halted the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline near Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota.
For me personally, it was the year that my mom finally moved to Kansas City. Having my mom here has been a true blessing for the whole family. There has also been some personal development stuff that has been a big positive for me, including finding and attending a new church – The Cause Church – which is giving me a new perspective and a renewed excitement in expanding my knowledge and faith.
My wish for you in the New Year – and for me — is that you will find and live your joy. You will do what makes you happy. You will experience good health and good fortune. And that you won’t let guilt or pride or fear hold you back from your Best. Year. Ever.