There has been an awful lot of talk about how bad 2016 was. With the election a mere two months behind us, it’s completely understandable that we, as a whole, feel a bit bruised by the impact of what’s to come. The world is a mess and we’re pretty tired of it. There is a lot to sort out.
And sure, we lost a few significant celebrities. But they were… um, celebrities. Despite how many days I cried over David Bowie’s death, it’s not enough for me to toss the whole year in the garbage and call it a steamy pile of poo.
It was quite a year for me, though not for any of the reasons you’ve read on social media. There was a lot of good stuff and a lot of hard stuff. But I’d prefer to think of stepping into the New Year like closing a book and getting pumped about the next one I’ll crack open.
I’m an intentional kind of gal. I’m also wildly optimistic, so the New Year always feels like opportunity – a chance to reflect, realign, and set into motion a series of kick-ass plans for general awesomeness. When I sat down on the 31st to do all the reflecting and serious thinking, I was struck stupid. I didn’t know where to start. Because all that good and hard stuff mixed together is messy.
Prompted by Danielle LaPorte, I asked myself the following three questions: What didn’t work? What did work? And what were the highlights? Here is what I came up with.
What didn’t work?
- Moving forward on creative projects without having a totally clear idea of what I want or what my end-goal is.
- Hustle. This isn’t the way I want to do life at all.
- Staying home and hiding from life.
- Reminding myself of all the ways I suck at being a good human.
What did work?
- Getting out of the house and doing life beyond the routine.
- Writing my truth. Just writing.
- Sharing the hard life lessons I’m learning.
- Going with the flow.
What were the highlights?
- Moved to Chicago.
- Had some real conversations with my kid about life.
- Embraced my completely flawed and utterly human approach to parenting.
- Learned that profound loss is not meant to be endured alone.
- Became a college instructor.
- Saw snow fall outside my living room window, office window, kitchen window—I mean, every freaking window. It was gorgeous.
- Fell in love with Chicago.
- Lived without painted toenails. (Who even cares about this bullshit? And I don’t teach yoga anymore, so NO ONE is looking at my toes. Truly, no one.)
- Faced my monumental fear of one particular learning institution.
When I look at the whole of what I’ve learned, gained, and experienced, I can confidently call 2016 a year of growth. There was a lot more hutzpah and a lot less self-criticism. There was loss and acceptance. There was some hard shit. But there was also a rainbow over Lake Michigan the day we arrived in Chicago. There were fireworks (which became Judah’s favorite thing ever). And there was enough love to levitate the White House. (In fact, I’ll get to work on that later this month.)
For all of this, I am truly grateful.
The other day I was spouting a bunch of negativity at myself for messing up. I don’t even remember what it was anymore. “I suck at all this human shit,” I complained to Jeremy.
“We all do,” he answered. “That’s life. Finding the shit and then cleaning it up. Kind of like potty training.”
Potty training is hard. Last year we learned that our country is not as well potty trained as we had thought. We’re finding steamy piles of poo everywhere. But I’m not giving up on us. And I’m not giving up on my toddler. Complaining, lamenting, or being a downer about the past won’t get us anywhere. I’d rather think of this moment as a time to problem solve, talk about what’s working, what’s not, and how to make better choices in the future. You know, like going potty on the potty.
There is something cathartic about saying goodbye. So, do it. Say goodbye to all the things that didn’t work in 2016. And say goodbye to all the beautiful things we can’t bring with us into the New Year. As for my intentions for 2017, I’m just going to keep on doing what works. I have a feeling it’s going to be another amazing year. As Jeremy reminded me on New Year’s Eve, this is the year our kid will finally get the whole potty thing down.
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