A Year in Review Vol. 2016

It’s that time of year again. The time of year where Christmas music has officially been blasting in all retail stores for three months, temperatures have dropped below freezing, my warm fuzzy socks hide the fact I’m no longer shaving like its summer (#sorrynotsorry), and the Facebook Years in Review are rearing their superficial, only-choose-pictures-with-the-most-likes heads.

If you look at social media such as Facebook and Twitter, 2016 is being hailed the Worst Year of All Worst Years. There’s a lot of talk that 2017 has to be better because “it definitely can’t go worse!” Well, to show my merriment and own hopes for what the new year will bring, here’s my personal review of what 2016 was to me and what I’m looking forward to in the new year…

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I’ve been saying it for twelve months now, but let me say it again: I have never had a more difficult year than what 2016 brought to me. Not even the most upsetting broken heart could have prepared me for the loss I felt this past April. To this day, I still have nightmares where I wake up and have to comfort myself from the crippling weight it is to have a mentor, friend, and idol ripped from your life. I have not been, and doubt I ever will be, able to make sense of why this woman was taken from the world at such a (seemingly) important point in her life. This world doesn’t make sense sometimes, and 2016 was the year this Life Lesson truly debuted to me.

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Thankfully, though, even with such a tough lesson to work through, 2016 brought far more good to my life than it did evil. In February I was blessed to be able to take a family vacation with my parents to one of my favorite places on this Earth: Disney World. And not only did I enjoy my time with my closest loved ones, but I also completed the largest race I’ve ever attempted, the Glass Slipper Challenge. I ran a 10k race with my dad followed by a half marathon through the streets of Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and surrounding roadways. And, due to being so ill during the months leading up to the races, I really took a lot of pride in becoming a Finisher of both races and being able to wear my medals with a shining smile. It was an amazing opportunity and one I will always treasure! No one is ever too old for the magic of Disney!

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Aside from my family, 2016 was much easier to swallow due in large to the people I met through my church group, House. Never have I ever had a more caring, supportive group of friends. It’s amazing to realize what you were missing when you finally are granted what you needed! These people are such a central part of my life now, I don’t know how I functioned without them. I attend church with them every Sunday, I compete in trivia every Monday, we hold Bible studies on Wednesdays, we play Ultimate Frisbee, attend concerts, go line-dancing, play paintball, host game nights and movie marathons, dig volleyballs, and most Fridays and Saturdays involve one or two outings together. And during any downtime, there is usually banter, chatter, and sometimes even tears. I can go to any of my friends for advice and know that they’re honestly looking out for me with no strings attached. I’ve never had such people in my life before and I am eternally grateful that God dropped me into their little corner of the world.

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I’ve mentioned tears and crying a few times here, but don’t get me wrong! 2016 brought much more laughter and busyness to my life than any other year I can recall. I attended several events throughout the year including four weddings, the Pink Tie Ball, and the Little Black Dress Party. I took on more responsibility in my community involvement by acting as Secretary for Paint Our Towns Pink and becoming a board member of 100 Women Strong. I also picked up a bit of leadership with House by taking on all communications for the group as well as assisting with most event planning. It’s a blessing to be able to use my talents of organization, focus, and high energy to better my community and bring praise to God. I may not be exactly where I want to be long term, but for now I am content.

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As with most years, I had some wonderful new experiences in 2016. As I said, I ran the Princess race through Disney, but I also was able to revisit Florida with Wilbur’s family this past October. It was my first time vacationing with a SO’s family and I was incredibly nervous. The entire trip was a blast though! And so relaxing. It was by far the most rejuvenating trip I have ever taken. I also experienced my first hurricane (Matthew) while in Florida, which is not something every Michigander gets to say… Apart from vacationing, 2016 also introduced me to the art of making dumplings, the beginning stages of venturing into home-ownership,  revisiting my childhood at the Fantastic Beasts premier, road tripping to a new state (for me) of Minnesota, watching my Cubbies win the World Series, standing up in my best friend’s wedding and acting as mistress of ceremony in my other best friend’s wedding, and a number of other little trinkets to store in my memory.

keep1Overall, 2016 was a pretty great year despite the sadness that still arises when thinking of those I lost. As I’ve come to say, I’ve lost some but gained so much more.

Looking to the future, I continue to try to live each day positively, curiously, and passionately. If I could survive 2016 and still look at Life and think is it beautiful, then 2017 has no fears for me..

To 2016, I’m thankful for what you taught me, but it does not break my heart to tell you good-bye. And to 2017… Bring it, New Year, I’m ready for you!

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