About the time when the tree branches are bare and my windshield is consistently (and annoyingly) covered with a layer of frost each morning, I make myself sit down and think about the year that has passed. Reflecting over where I have been and how I want to change it in the following chapter. I place my things in a pile of good and a pile of bad, weighing them on a scale that determines the success of my last 365. This year, however, I don’t feel like sorting… because I wouldn’t even know how to. Twenty-seventeen was transitional, eye opening, terrifying, freeing and easily, the best year of my young life.
This year started off…less than mediocre. I wasn’t in the best place, I wasn’t the best person and I definitely didn’t have the best outlook on life. (And that is not saying that I do now…but I can at least say, confidently, that it’s better.) A year that could have easily been defined by a divorce and dishonor brought upon my family (she said remembering now that she is Asian)…wasn’t. There will always be a couple of black marks on my 2017, but it will never come close to overshadowing the beauty that I saw on more than my fair share of days. And honestly, without those blemishes, I probably wouldn’t have appreciated the bright spots as much as I did.
Since the birth of 2017, I have seen and done more than I could have ever hoped. A stupid amount of downright wonderful people have entered and added to my life. In a string of seven days, I almost died in a flooded Arkansas, saw my nephew enter the Earth, and then almost died again jumping out of a plane…and I have never felt more alive. I believe in a lot of things again that my cynical self had put aside for what I thought was the more naive crowd.
A lot of people question my methods. At any given moment, more than one person is legitimately concerned about my well being. And some people would probably (would definitely) call this year of mine selfish and reckless…and they would probably be right.
It took me 26 years to figure out what I wanted in my life. It took countless hesitations. Far too many poor choices. And it took a lot of waiting. Waiting on myself to realize what I intended to get out of my small amount of time on the planet.
I want to do 2018 and every year that follows, faster and stronger and more…alive. I want to stay on this trajectory that I am on and get better. I want to be a better person. A better family member. A better friend. I want to add to a world that keeps giving me so much to be thankful for. I have a lot of room for improvement and my only fear as this new year kicks off is that I’ll accidentally slide backwards…so the biggest resolution or goal or whatever you want to call it is that — to keep moving in a positive direction (a goal that can’t just stay in place for the next two weeks, before I decide to drink and eat like sh*t again.)
So my advice to everyone… if you know what you want in your life… Who you want. Where you want to be. What you want to do. Do it. There really is no time for hesitation or over planning. And there really is no better feeling than to be headed in the direction that you finally know you want to head. And while it is cliche to say, every night when you fall asleep, you are ending one entire day that you will never get back. One 24-hour period shaved off of your life at a time, dwindling down until the very end. But every single day is also an opportunity to make your life better. To make life for everyone else better too.
I realize that not everyone needs to chase a thrill. Not every person needs to hop onto a plane or out of one to feel alive. I just hope that whoever reads this…or whoever doesn’t…finds whatever it is that makes them get out of bed in the morning with a smile on their face. Don’t settle for an existence that is dreaded, because you only get one.
And when the next 365 are torn from the calendar and 2019 gets ready to make its debut, I hope I’m as happy as I am now…or happier. (I have nothing against extra amounts of happy) And I sincerely hope you are too.