Happy 2019! I am sitting at home doing laundry and preparing to go back to the office tomorrow. Amid a list of things I need to accomplish and feeling rejuvenated from finally closing the chapter that was 2018, I wanted to take a minute to write a thank you letter to the year that changed my life.
I know that a lot of you feel similarly in that it was a year of difficult moments and hard decisions, but I am here to perhaps put a spin on that. I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions anymore – I am proud to say that it is a New Year and I am the same me I was going into it.
That person I was last year, at times for better and at times for worse, is a part of who I am today. The lessons, laughter, tears and trauma you yourself may have faced were necessary to bring you to this moment. So I am choosing to embrace who I am. A flawed man who made mistakes, but who chooses to see them as opportunities to learn and listen to what the universe is saying. A man who still believes that love is the most beautiful thing. Who still sees good in others, even when they opt to show their negative qualities. Who understands that I deserve to be happy. Who loves love and everything that it once meant and will one day mean for me.
I know there is truth in admitting my faults. And yes, I have to admit that last year I was sad a lot of the time. I did my best to keep my emotional dam strong, but even I can admit sometimes it cracked and I couldn’t stop from expressing some pretty intense things. I faced extremely difficult transitions. A lot of people I never expected to grow apart from walked out of my life. Several of them leaving a pretty big scar – funny enough (for lack of a better term), adding to the inspiration of writing my first book. Not about them, but learning from them and #TheScarsWeShare in life with others that come and go.
All that being said, the importance of those moments is that I realized how strong I was on my own. That doesn’t mean I don’t miss them, and probably always will. Once I love someone with the ferocity of my whole being, they are a part of me forever. It’s a promise I made with my heart to them all. But every morning I wake up, and I try my best to understand that things can’t always go the way I want them to.
No matter how hard I fought, the growth of 2018 came most from losing.
From falling. From getting back up. And from just trying to understand that we are all human, trying our best to recover and find happiness. I was several versions of myself over the year.
I was angry. I was depressed. I was chaotic. I was irrational. I was a gatekeeper. I was happy. I was fighting for something. I searched for answers in places I would find none. And it was only when I was able to accept that some days I look in the mirror with tears in my eyes, but more often than not with a smile on my face, that I found my truest self.
I love the man I woke up as today. Because he is willing to listen, learn, grow and is still someone who sees the best in those around him. Some might say that’s naive. But that is their choice. And mine is to be the best me I know how, one step at a time.
Maybe this turned into a thank you letter to myself. Maybe that’s where I have always tried to go. A place where I can look back with fondness on what I had vs. what I lost.
Do I wish some things were different? Absolutely I do. I’m human. I lost a lot in the process, but I am proud of myself for giving instead of taking away. For the most part, meeting anger with compassion. For holding true to the obligations I had in light of the chance to throw them away like I felt thrown away. There are so many things I still need to tidy up and move forward from. But I don’t regret anything I gave or did for others because in my heart that was the right thing to do.
There are a lot of uncertain moments ahead of me that I wish I didn’t have to face. But I know that no matter what happens I did my absolute best (mistakes included) to just be understanding. I chose to remember the good, because it is overwhelmingly the best path for my heart and my head. And there was so much more good than there was bad.
If nothing else 2018 was the year of I miss yous. Of I love yous. Of texts I shouldn’t have sent. Of sharing things I shouldn’t have shared publicly. Of begging for answers I never got. And that will be something I remember as a strength, not as a weakness. Because I had to learn the hard way how strong I am alone. But I also learned how strong my heart is when it knows what is right.
So to you 2019, I give myself entirely. Without expectation. Without premise. Without reservations of what I deserve or who I want to end the year with. Because I am only in control of myself. My actions. My ability to give. My words. My heart.
To you reading this, I wish only health and happiness this year. BUT, knowing that life isn’t always easy, I also wish you strength in the challenges that it will present. You are a beautiful person who will – even if it doesn’t feel like it – persevere. I believe that the universe only presents us with the things we can handle.
If today you woke up sad, I promise that happiness is not gone forever – cry if you need to cry. Happiness will come into your life in ways you cannot yet know. We all learn to appreciate the things we have in so many ways. Sometimes we have to lose. But this year I hope all you do is win. And remember that being kind to others is valiant, but don’t ever forget to be kind to yourself.