In preparation for tomorrow’s post announcing my “word” for 2017, I was looking back over similar posts from previous years. In doing so, I was struck by an interesting commonality – each was positively focused on the year ahead, but also quite dismissive of the previous year as “not great” or “uneventful” or (worst of all) “unfulfilling.” I love the fact that I could manage the positivity for the new year, but I’m also a bit distressed by my lack of appreciation of growth, no matter how spectacular the previous year may or may not have been. This observation was particularly poignant given that I had every intention of repeating the pattern again this year.
I believe I’m not alone in saying that 2016 was not a banner year – personally or globally. I did not accomplish all of the goals I set for myself and somewhere along the way I lost sight of my wordy reminders I’d so cheerfully set in January. But taking a deeper look at 2016, I can see a lot of personal growth that makes me proud.
I learned a lot this year. I took classes that taught me new skills, but more importantly, exponentially increased my awareness of the world around me. I faced physical, mental, and emotional challenges and lived to tell the tales. I persevered in activities that, in my youth, I would have tossed aside in favor of a new distraction the second they lost their shine. I find, in truth, that overall I’m much less inclined to seek out distractions. And just typing that sentence brings tears to my eyes – it wasn’t all that long ago I could not have imagined being comfortable just being. I’m not 100% in that yet, but I’m grateful I’m on my way!
2017 is going to be the year that all those changes I’ve longed for and lamented in prior years come to fruition. I can’t tell you how I know it, but I do. Looking back, I can see now that there were lessons that needed to be learned, skills that needed to be acquired, and confidence that needed to be rediscovered. 2017 scares me…but it excites me even more.
So, perhaps I won’t look back upon 2016 as “my year,” but I also won’t bind it up and put it away on the shelf. It’s a year to be remembered, even if those memories come hard. Good things happened and need to be appreciated. Bad things happened and need to be learned from. Each lifetime is so finite, it seems a shame to purposefully forget or live only in the future. I may have a long battle ahead with reconciling with my past, but I find my present pretty okay these days, a proper balance of good and bad. And as many enlightened beings will tell you, that’s the best achievement you can strive for – the present as a present.
Good-bye 2016. You’ve earned a lacking reputation, but I’ll forgive you for it. May you rest in peace.
2017, I look forward to our time together. (smile)