In keeping up with one of my lesser admired qualities of being an excellent procrastinator, I’ve finally gotten around to looking back on 2017 and forward toward the year ahead — just, unsurprisingly, three weeks late.
It’s no secret that last year was a complex one for me. It’s hard to define it with one word. 2017 was a medley of high points and low points . . . some of the highest highs and lowest lows if we’re aiming for cliché.
I haven’t gone into depth about the more difficult times, but in short, I experienced loss like I never had before.
I became entangled with the complexity of secondhand loss through a friend, who unexpectedly lost her older sister on what should have been an ordinary Sunday morning a couple weeks before Thanksgiving. A little over a month later, I felt deep heartbreak of my own when my grandfather passed away.
These tragic moments happened within the span of two months at the very end of the year, but they easily cast a shadow over all of the months that played out beforehand. When looking back, it would have been easy to call 2017 one of the worst years of my life with a heavy wave of the hand. But that’s just not the case.
Yes, 2017 was one of the hardest. But it was also one of the best years for so many other reasons.
I traveled to countries I had only ever dreamed of going to. I got promoted at work. I took a creative leap and started this blog. In small and big ways, I ventured out of my comfort zone. The protective layer I had built up around myself over the years had begun to finally peel away, and with it I discovered a new me — hungry for adventure, for creativity, for love.
The last couple of months were emotionally exhausting, but they opened up a compassionate, selfless side of me that I didn’t know existed. I’ve loved harder than I have before, been kinder than I’ve ever been, and all without expecting it in return. I’m hoping that this newfound empathy is the catalyst for a year full of goodwill in every corner of my life.
A week after the new year, I wrote down my goals and intentions for 2018. They include things measurable and tangible like investing in moments rather than things and moving to a new state, and others that are more abstract like the simple hope of being inspired.
The most important intention that I set is to create a better me. This broad idea can be narrowed down into different, more specific aspects of my life — health (both physical and mental), gratitude, resolve. I know that with designing a better version of myself might come more of my intentions and goals falling into place.
I’m certain I’m not the only one who is hoping that this new year will shape and mold a better edition of who I am. And, as always, I’m looking to words to inspire this newly named “Year of Me”.
So bring it, 2018. I’m ready to see what you’ve got.