Thanks to social media, 2016 will be a year that we talk about for many years to come. That being said, I believe that this mindset is worth examining, too! 2016 is the year that I lost my brother. If I were to tally up sad, stressful, or traumatic events for every year, 2016 would in fact, be the “worst” year in my life also. But, is this a fair assessment?? Many friends of mine are approaching or even surpassing 30, when life changes are common. We bought a new home towards the end of 2015, and the needed repairs still drowned us in 2016. We are older, and so are the people that we love. With an average life expectancy of less than 80 years, I believe that loss is expected now. Does that make it easier to accept? Absolutely not. Did I ever think at 29 years old I would be coping with the traumatic loss of my younger brother? Absolutely not. But, is 2016 to blame for all of the bad that we have recently experienced? Absolutely not!
Yes, 2016 is the year I lost my brother.2016 is the year that my debt rose above what I ever wanted it to be. It’s the year my favorite car died. It’s the year I watched my extended family slowly crumble apart while trying so hard to hold it together after losing Erik. But, 2016 is also the year that I finally found my path, my voice, and my purpose. 2016 is the year that I re-enrolled in college (and maintained a straight-A streak, too)! 2016 is the year that my now two-year-old learned to run, dance, jump, and hold conversations. 2016 is the year that I learned who my real friends and family are, for better or worse. 2016 is the year I got back in the saddle and rode a horse again. 2016 is the year I got off my ass, met an amazing nutrition counselor, and lost 25 lbs (and counting!). If I leave all of the bad things that happened in 2016 out of the equation, 2016 was -dare I even say it?- one of the best years of my life, too.
Don’t get me wrong. I, too, love the idea of a New Year. The path that I have been set on this year is setting me up for a great 2017. A New Year brings hope that you can change and start over. You can leave behind the bad and the hurt, and carry on with just the good. You can chose resolutions to carry with you throughout the New Year that will hopefully lead to a better life for you.
The ONLY problem I have with this notion is, why are you waiting? Why not let things go sooner? Why not set new goals sooner? If losing my brother has taught me anything, it is that the time we have on Earth is limited. Why wait to live a better and happier life? Why wait to seize the day? Why not live every day like it is New Year’s Day? It is, after all, a new day. Every day is a new opportunity to turn it all around. While I acknowledge that my whole life has been about progress, not perfection, that is what I will set out to do. Seize every day that I can. Let go of what I can, when I can. Do better, when I can. Really, I think that’s all that any of us can do. If you’re unsure of what to do with yourself in the upcoming year, then I would just encourage you to grow. Grow when things are easy. Grow when things are hard. Grow so that when you reflect upon your day, you can hold your head high. Here’s wishing you all the best in the coming year!