I don’t know about you, but 2016 was a rough year for me. I can’t remember any other time in my life that had so many consecutive days of dry-heave crying.
This year I’ve loved and lost, more than once, and more than one person.
This year I’ve watched friends lose dear, dear loved ones.
This year I’ve gone with a beloved friend to her appointments, made protein shakes and watched movies when she was in too much pain to get out of bed.
This year I’ve driven home and back thousands of miles – never really sure which place is “home” and which place is “back,” each time leaving bits of my heart where I left.
This year I’ve worked hard and been tired. I’ve run on the hamster wheel, expending all my energy, and have eventually looked up to find myself in the same place as when I started.
This year I’ve given all of myself – to patients, to friends, to co-workers – at a time when I felt completely empty with nothing left to give.
But this year I also met people and had relationships that changed my life. That never in a million years would I have expected. Sweet loves who swept me off my feet and helped pick up and piece together the broken parts of me.
This year I fell into beautiful community who accepted me where I was, simply walking with me on my journey.
This year I climbed mountains, hiked with friends and by myself, and ran my first half-marathon. I pushed myself beyond physical limits I didn’t know was possible.
This year we drank tea instead of wine, because of the little life inside her.
This year I learned how to photograph food, because I have the most amazing, talented friends.
This year I lived by myself for the first time in my life.
This year I rode 30 miles with my friend, then chained our bikes to the rack to stop and grab a craft beer on the way home, making it an ideal Saturday for the hipster that I am.
This year my friends fit a couch in the back of their 4-Runner to make sure I had a place to sit on one of the hardest days of the year.
This year I played clarinet in our local concert band.
This year I adopted my first adult pet (Sally Pancake the robo dwarf hamster is incredibly adorable).
This year I went on our first mother-daughter trip with my mom where we hiked in the Redwoods and found gluten-free clam chowder. Then we came home and she made me chicken and rice soup to cure my strep throat.
This year I hosted friends in my home, who came from across the country, from Fort Scott, KS to Philly to KC to Miami.
This year I hiked the most beautiful trail with the most beautiful person in the Colorado Rockies as the Aspens dropped their autumn leaves.
This year my best friend flew across the state with me to help another best friend throw a baby shower for my other best friend. Then the next day my best friend and I ate my favorite breakfast of Eggs Benedict at my favorite brunch restaurant.
This year I co-hosted my first-ever Halloween party and bought a real costume.
This year somebody loved me more than I ever thought was possible.
This year my friends made all the difference in the world.
This year I branded my website, I wore my own t-shirt, and I started my business.
This year I helped somebody.
So suck it, 2016. You tried to bring me down, but you didn’t. And no matter how many days I had tears streaming down my face and my heart was full of sorrow, the laughter and love still overcame.
This year I learned that love and beauty and acceptance of one another’s differences matters more than hate or indifference or pain.
This year I learned that together we are stronger.
So if you need somebody to walk with you in 2017 and you have yet to learn these lessons, then find a community, or come join mine.
Because you are worth it. Your life is worth it. Your heart is worth it.
Hey you, 2017. I’m all in.