A Year of Grieving – of Healing – of Living.

2017 was a year of grieving. I spent last New Year’s Eve unable to leave my bed, hurting over the loss of our dad. That night my mom was my NYE kiss, and luckily tonight, she will be right by my side again as I ring in 2018 with family. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

2017 was a year of healing–a year of transferring any ounce of self-loathing into self-loving. It was a time to ask for help after years of holding back, and getting that help when I needed it most. I learned who makes up my support system. I learned how special the people in my life are, and how lucky I am to have them beside me in the years to come.

2017 was a year of life’s biggest moments. I graduated college, became employed, and moved out. I will soon move into New York City–a city I’ve dreamed of since I was just a kid visiting the Big Apple. How long will this be my home? Now, that’s just something we’ll have to re-evaluate when I look back at 2018.

2017 was a year of family–of bonding together in a time when we all needed this support the most. It was a year of continuing to fight the adversities that life throws our way. It was a year of adding a new brother, husband and son into our little family. It was a year to celebrate, to dance and laugh, and enjoy the best part of this crazy life: love.

2017 was a year of living. These twelve months reminded me what matters most in life, and from this, reminded me of what does not matter–to take a step back when I am feeling everyday stresses and pressures, and to recognize that what I’m worried about may not be worth the stress at all.

2018 will be a year to remember. I know it. I don’t know what it will bring, but I know as long as I’m surrounded by the same people that kept me going through 2017, then this new year is going to be perfect.

Cheers to the year ahead.

-Rachel

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Day 365.

Day 365 has come again. New Year’s Eve. Even though it’s just another mark on the calendar, today holds a lot of importance in many people’s lives. And a lot of emotions.

At the end of the year comes a chance for many people to reflect on their own year, and the chance to look forward to or predict the next year.

The emotions associated with this particular day vary from person to person and from year to year. I’m sure many people dread going on social media this week because you’re bound to get a glimpse (or more than a glimpse) into what your followers and friends have felt about their past year. Some are positive–sharing their memories, bragging their past year’s achievements, explaining their New Year’s goals. While others are not as positive e.g. “I can’t wait for this year to end.” “Maybe next year will be good to me.” or the always favorite “New Year, New Me.”

As someone who has felt both positive and negative New Year’s attitudes in the past, I’ve recently learned that there is no sense in putting any pressure on New Year’s when it comes to expecting your life to drastically change.

To be honest, you never know what the next week, day or hour will bring you. Let alone the next year. And you should not disregard an entire year that was not great to you in desperation that the next year will be better. I have to admit that I am guilty of this. Maybe not so much this year, but there have been New Year’s Eves where I just could not wait for the year to end because there was so much negativity that I will forever associate with that particular year. I just needed a little hope that the bad was behind me and the next year would be an improvement.

The problem with this New Year’s mentality is that each year in our lives, good and bad, makes us who we are. Our experiences from year to year are what shape our following year’s actions. You are your experiences, and you should not hold such negative attitudes toward an entire year because who you are on December 31st is a culmination of every moment of that year (and years before, of course).

Although there are many things we don’t have control over, you do have control over your thoughts and actions. I believe that any single day you have the freedom to change those thoughts and actions if you want to actually change your life. At the same time, however, there is a certain spirit about New Year’s that gets you excited and motivated to take the actions in improving your life.

Whether your past year has brought happiness or hardships, we all have goals that don’t necessarily involve transforming ourselves entirely. After all, each year we should be maturing and embracing new opportunities–new life milestones. I do not think you should reach December 31st and feel hatred toward your past year; however, that doesn’t mean you cannot treat January 1st as that “step one.”

We all can improve each day–we all want to make minor changes and resolutions and the New Year’s holiday just gives us the extra push.

So I say, whatever resolution you have–big or small, life-changing or not–use tonight as your opportunity.

And when in doubt of New Year’s Eve, always remember one of my favorite Goo Goo Dolls songs:

‘Cause tonight’s the night the world begins again.”- Better Days, Goo Goo Dolls

-Rachel