2016: Looking Back and Looking Ahead

Another year gone by. The passing of time always confounds me. Every year I ask myself the most obvious questions like how can I have two teenagers, how can I be 47, have we really had our dog eight years and where does the time go? Or the one that usually blows me away when I look at Hubs – We’ve been together how many years?

And yet. While most of life is uncertain, we can count on the passing of time and life going on.

Sometimes life goes on peacefully, bringing joy and abundance. Sometimes life gives us a bag of coal and a kick in the tush. This year brought me a bit of both. But more joy than tush kicking for sure.

So much went on in the world this year that broke my heart: Orlando, North Carolina, Flint, Orlando, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Dallas. Oh, Dallas. The election.  The loss of music legends Prince and Bowie and Cohen. There is so much more…

A few things in my personal life took place this year that hurt my heart: Potentially long lasting financial difficulty, a challenging medical diagnoses for a family member,  some bumps in our marriage journey, the loss of a good friend and a friend that has moved away. The need to try some medication for depression.

Let me stop short right here. Those challenges that hurt my heart loomed large over me – until I stopped short. Until I found some perspective. Until I accepted each situation exactly as it was. I’m not erasing these circumstances from my 2016 chalkboard – I can’t. They are real and they hurt and each have long term consequences in my life.

recite-3a9r00What I can do, though is accept them, live with them, learn from them and not let them take over all the good that came along in 2016. That list is so very large. And it so outweighs the heart hurting stuff.

We have a lovely roof over our family’s head, Hubs and I love each other and want to be married to each other. We are healthy, our children are healthy, there is so much love, so much love, SO MUCH LOVE all around us. Our moms are alive and healthy. My kiddos ADORE their grandmas. I have amazing brothers, amazing nieces and a killer nephew. My sister in law is so kick ass I can’t even.

My baby started high school. My oldest was accepted into college. My babies are growing into beautiful young adults. They are kind. They are funny. They make mistakes and then they get up afterward. My children need me less, but still need me. I experience a love so grand and deep and all consuming when I thank God for them at night I want to burst.

I have my sweet furry friend to greet me every day.

I have friendships that are rock solid and life saving. I get to write this blog. This year I shared my love of mindful living at several venues. I got to share my stories and become a cast member of Listen to Your Mother in Chicago. I met new people who would help me understand that everyone has a tribe.

So much is wrong in the world right now. There will always be something wrong with the world and with our personal lives. Always – but I think if we handle the wrong in the right way, we can live a glorious and great life. It all comes down to acceptance and finding gratitude in each and every moment that we get to be here. Like my Dad always said “What’s the alternative?”

The alternative is suffering through our lives. Time passes on. This is certain. It’s how we spend the time – the good times and the shit times – that creates the life we live. WE get to choose how we spend these moments.

I choose to remember the heart hurting times. I choose to accept them and move on. I choose to be in a constant state of gratitude for the abundant times. I choose to linger in them and remember them and let them guide my way into 2017.

Farewell 2016. You weren’t the best, but you weren’t the worst. I’ll miss you and yet I’m happy to say goodbye. Hey 2017, I’m on my way. Life is for the living, so let’s get this show on the road.

 

What are you reflecting on from 2016? Are you looking forward to the new year? Let me know in the comments below.

Previous post: Wait for it: Counting Down the Hours to Seeing Hamilton

Read the series #30DaysofGratitude 2016 right here.

Read the series #30DaysofGratitude 2015 right over here.

 

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