Oh, 2016

What a difference a year can make. People always say that, but when you look at it in every aspect of your life, big and small, it’s astounding. Shocking, even.

Of course, there are the changes that affect everyone — a new president who will certainly modify the way our country currently works (that’s as much as I’ll say about that topic on here…), forever goodbyes to majorly influential people (the last week alone has been tough to swallow), crazy things happening left and right (Kim getting robbed, Brangelina splitting up). The memes alone about 2016 and all its horror go on for days, and I’ll admit, I find them pretty entertaining.

But personally, I can find so much to be happy about in 2016, and I think deep down, if we dig through the sadness and heaviness of some of the gunk that took place, each of us can find things to be grateful for last year. Whether it’s new family members, a much-needed change in your work or relational life, a different place to call home, or a pet or project that’s brought some light into your world, not everything from 2016 deserves to be scrapped.

But universally, the feelings toward this year are tired and bitter. At least according to social media. You’ve seen the posts and the digs, right? People are ready for this fresh start — and don’t get me wrong, I’m right there with you. I can always get behind turning a new leaf. But I also can’t help but feel like we’re kind of collectively cutting 2016 short.

If we had the ability to chop the year right out of our calendar and memories, what would you lose? I know I would be devastated. I may have never moved to Nashville and started a job I adore. I may have never became a non-vegetarian after 7.5 years (I didn’t realize what I was missing, living in the South and NOT eating barbecue). I may have never learned to get out of debt, reinvigorated my blog, or quit a job I was miserable at most of the time. I wouldn’t have had the personal growth and forward movement in my relationship that’s taken place in the last 12 months had it not been for this year.

Something insanely hard that I’ve been trying to teach myself for years is staying present. It’s freaking difficult. All these yucky things that happened in the past pop up to taint my current relationships and experiences, and all these stresses and “what ifs” about the unknown future crowd my brain with pointless worries. You know the feeling surely. It’s human to get stuck mentally or emotionally in one place or another that isn’t right here and now.

What I tell myself when the past and future meddle with my mind — or worse, cause collisions between one another, leading to one major mind-F — is this: I accept the past for what it is, unchangeable, transformational, and educational, and I acknowledge the future for whatever it might be, unpredictable, transformational, and educational. With that thought in mind, this shift from 2016 to 2017 takes on a whole new meaning for me.

Yes, 2016 had some big lows and some big blows. It also had some wonderful surprises, perks, and highlights. And guess what? 2017 might be WAY WORSE…or, it might be lightyears better. And honestly, it’s sorta up to you to determine which way it goes. Figuring out that you hold that big of power is a doozy of a realization, but continuing on into this new year with the intention of staying present, soaking up every ounce of every minute, will automatically put you on track for 365 days of goodness.

Happy new year, sweet friends. Let’s make it incredible, beautiful, productive, peaceful, gracious, grateful, and one of the best yet, yes?

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