If, on January 1st of 2016, I had had a chance to look ahead in a crystal ball and see the events of the coming year in my personal life, I think I would have withered in fear and amazement.
2016 was powerful and defining, and devastating and painful. It taught me some of my harshest lessons and brought me some of my greatest pains, and it gave me tremendous resolve and drive, freeing me from shackles and opening me up to new horizons.
In 2016, I learned a powerful lesson about failure when a professional venture I put a lot of personal stock into failed for a handful of variable reasons. I learned how to pick myself back up, be smart about goal achievement, and plan accordingly, a lesson that anyone who wants to succeed must learn. I learned about the importance of consistency, and about slow and steady growth over time. I learned about doing what you love because you love it first and foremost.
In 2016, my best friend Kurt was tragically killed in a car accident at the peak of his happiness. From him, I learned about reaching out to others, about practicality, about passion, about seizing the day, about planning and achieving, and about self-acceptance. I learned about grief, pain, love, and loss.
In 2016, I saw all of my personal values, most related to social justice, brought to the forefront of the political spectrum and the national consciousness. I spent months outraged over the election, and then weeks afterwards devastated over the results. I learned the skills of perseverance, of rebounding after setbacks, of activism, and of clarity to the world around me.
In 2016, I also saw a tremendous amount of personal gains. I got completely out of debt and made solid financial goals for the next several years, something I’ve been unable to do in years prior. I spent months researching ideas for a book, and I’m seeing my hard work come to fruition in the coming months. I’ve put in steady work at the gym and have lost 15 pounds and lowered my body fat percentage by nearly 10 per cent. I’ve improved my nutrition and sleep habits, my self-care skills, and my own inner peace and balance through meditation and writing.
In 2016, I travelled. I started the year in Palm Springs with a wonderful friend I was dating at the time. I healed and mended on the streets of Los Angeles. I wrote and researched in Las Vegas. I walked miles through New England with my sister Sheri, and then embarked on incredible adventures in New York City. I found undiscovered secrets in small Utah towns. And I took a wonderfully contemplative trip to Washington DC, where I was inspired by history and reconnected with old friends.
In 2016, I read the biographies of powerful people, I watched piles of old movies, I created memories with old friends and new friends, and I found my inner sense of independence and strength as I set and achieved impossible goals, always firmly grounded on the present and with my eye to the future.
And as always, my greatest measure of success and happiness lies with my children. My sons turned 8 and 5 this year, and they started 2nd grade and kindergarten respectively. They are strong. They are bright and imaginative and prolific. They are confident. They listen to their hearts and share of themselves. They play, and embrace the world, and love with their entire beings. And it is in their eyes that I can see I’m living right and doing well.
And so I begin 2017 with a look out at the bright world around me. I have a pen and notebook in one hand, marked out with a list of goals, and I have a walking stick in the other. I have my good suit on, my walking shoes tightly tied, and my eyes on the horizon, ready for an entire world of possibilities ahead.