I look at social media and listen to my friends all comment on how happy they are to see 2016 end and how ready they are for a new start in 2017. Well, I am all about optimism and having a positive outlook on the future, but I can’t say I am thrilled 2016 will be ending. As I find myself reflecting on 2016 I see the vast amount of change the year brought to my life. The change brought about many laughs, tears, and heartache; however, there are numerous reasons why I love 2016 despite its losses, changes, and struggles.
Now, this past year brought about many struggles; I mean MANY struggles. I struggled, but through the struggles I grew. I matured and I leaned on my faith. I became closer to God and with each problem I became a little smarter, and a little wiser when I had to come up with the solution. I also found that there were no solutions to certain problems, but that was okay too because not every problem can be solved. As mama always says, “Stop worrying, everything will happen exactly as it should.” Perhaps I should start listening to her more often. I let go and I let God lead me. I worried (that is my middle name) but I did a better job of worrying less and in 2017 I intend to continue to worry less and I plan to celebrate more. I want to learn to celebrate the everyday victories in my life and let the problems (which many never occur—I just worry) roll off my back like a duck as Grandma says. I want to wake each day thanking God I am alive and healthy surrounded by family and friends that love me regardless of the mistakes and embarrassment I made the prior day.
Thinking back on the few embarrassing moments I have lived through in 2016 (okay…lots and lots of embarrassing moments) I know I didn’t die from any of them and although quite awful seeming at the moment, I am able to look back and have a good laugh now. I also reflect back on the loss and heartaches I experienced in 2016. Sometimes through heartache over losses that I thought would kill me, I see that each morning I woke up ready to face whatever the day brought me. Loved ones died this past year, but I knew and felt their love. They took a piece of me with them, but because I had loved them they also left pieces of themselves inside of me forever. I learned that though life throws you curveballs, as long as you move forward there is nothing you cannot handle. I received a painting this year for Christmas that had the saying, “Faith as small as a mustard seed will see you through.” Moving forward puts the mistakes, the bad days, the embarrassments and the trials in my past and allows me to live in the present and create my future. 2016 taught me everyone has a past, but that it becomes just that: his or her past. People forget my mistakes and even I forget many of the mistakes I make. I am able to forget the pain, move forward, and laugh at life and myself again.
How could I be so ready to see 2016 end knowing that this year also brought enormous amounts of joy to my life and the lives of my families? Four days after 2016 began, our family was blessed with a tiny miracle. This tiny blue-eyed baby has brought so much joy and love into our family. In a lot of ways, I think Cleo has helped in this year’s struggles. She completed the missing piece of our family’s puzzle and now Maddox has a play date for life. Watching the two of them play together and grow makes my heart happy. Cleo was not the only baby to join the family in 2016; several family members also expanded Shallow Walk. There are babies everywhere and this family could not be more excited. Our gatherings are filled with children’s laughter and squeals, which seems to brighten everyone’s mood. Those babies seem to be a reminder of God to me that He is listening and loving us from above. Those little Shallow Walk tots are crazy about me and they need me to be strong and to be a role model for their futures. I want each day of 2017 to remind me that I want to be that role model they need in today’s world.
So, the highs of 2016 by far outweighed the lows in my eyes. I am blessed with a wonderful family who I lean on constantly. I have friends who would drop anything at a moment’s notice if I asked them to. My dreams are finally within reach and I plan on seeing them through in 2017. I feel like 2016 has changed me in a lot of ways. With its changes, I also feel like I am prepped and ready for what 2017 has in store. I needed 2016 to be ready for 2017. With that being said though, it is now time to say goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017. Here is to a new year, new me, and new experiences and changes. I wish the same to each of you also. May 2017 bring hope, happiness, and love to you and yours!