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The Good and Bad of 2016: Why Next Year Will Be Better

December 31, 2016

This year, 2016, has easily been one of the top worst years in my life. However, the end of this arbitrary trip around the sun is still an opportunity to take pause and reflect. A friend (hey L!) pointed out how many people have had a miserable year, but encouraged people to share the moments from this year that we’re proud of, however small. I loved this exercise because it forced me to think positively about what I’ve done this year. This is what I felt I could share:

Despite depression, cancer and several other health issues, I dragged myself out of bed in the mornings and took on each day.

I stood up for myself at work when I needed accommodations.

I took time for myself without feeling selfish.

And been there for my partner through a tough year.

So although I’ve been looking forward to the end of the year for over a couple of months now, today I found myself reminiscing more constructively about this past year. I do believe that we never stop learning and growing, but this is a challenge to remember on horrible days. Every time I felt like I had reached my limit this year, I somehow found the ability to keep going. Where this ability for more compassion, more stamina, more empathy, more willpower comes from, I do not know. I do know that so many people – friends, family and strangers – all over the world have also had to do this. This ability of the human spirit to keep handling more astounds me. It also frightens me because there should be a limit to what someone should have to bear. But there isn’t. And so we continue.

This year, I have learned how to better cope with challenges, I have learned who my support system is, I have learned how to fully feel my emotions and I have dealt with more than I ever thought I could have … and I am still here. So I will take what I have learned about myself and take it forward with me. I will continue to strive to be in the moment – not regretting the past and not constantly planning too far ahead. I will remember those I have loved and lost and cherish the memories. I will remember that I love the work I do and be grateful that I can still do it. I will continue to listen to my body, work with it and not fight it and resent it. I will try to better myself. I will trust that I will figure it out.

I have been hoping that next year will be better. I now think it might be more realistic to hope that I’ll be better able to cope with what comes next year. I cannot control what happens to me and that can be scary and daunting. What I can control is my response, how I cope and what I choose to do. It places the control back with me, and that is comforting and liberating.

None of this means that what happened this year was fair, or just, or that next year will be better to us. We shouldn’t even have to be strong or keep overcoming challenges. But I’m glad I’m still here, and I’m glad you are too. May we be better in 2017. May we be able to better handle 2017.