I find myself writing my first blog post in many months in a brand new year. I took a long hiatus from A Hopeful Wander apart from frequent Instagram shots – not because I was tired of it – but because this past year of 2016 was a 365-day roller coaster that required both of my hands to hold on.
And I thought 2015 was meant for transitions. HAH. As it always does, life finds a way of laughing in my face and saying ‘Just kidding!’ So amid moving home, moving back to Europe, and then moving home again to an entirely new state and house by September, my head was spinning, and I wasn’t sure how to make it stop.
Transitions can kick you right in the hoohah.
I’m telling you they can be brutal. I had some of my best and worst life moments in 2016. Complete 180s. I kid you not.
From presenting research at a major art conservation conference and the long-awaited goal of completing the restoration of the Keith Haring murals at Necker Hospital in Paris, to an epic road trip from Vegas to the Pacific Coast Highway, the birth of my nephews, and weddings of my closest friends – there was so much to be thankful for this past year.
I did a count, and I’m pretty sure I was on the road exploring this great, big beautiful world 17 weeks out of the year in six different countries. Each adventure beautiful and unique in its own right, and I don’t take for granted how lucky I’ve been to have these experiences.
Yes there’s a ‘but’. Remember those lows? Yeah. Some of those lows hit really hard and deep in my soul. I’m not going to elaborate because negativity isn’t what I want the theme of this next year to be. But, suffice it to say along with the great artists and change makers we lost (which is heavy in itself), I lost relationships with people I didn’t see coming, made painful but necessary discoveries about myself, and was challenged so thoroughly personally and professionally that at times I began to question my own capabilities and self-worth. It wasn’t pretty.
I think probably one of the biggest lessons I learned in 2016 from both the positive and the negative was that of patience. I’ve always had a rough time waiting. My personality is one that wants to jump right in and go for it – with everything. I bring myself to a situation or relationship always at 100 percent, completely open and ready to share myself with others, ready to learn, and just eager to experience this life as fully as possible.
It’s a slippery slope to try and manage, and I won’t lie about it. People have hurt me without care or remorse many times, but despite the bad moments I’ve had being generous with myself (because bad moments are bound to happen), I’ve reaped rewards 10-fold of more love and support than I’ve ever deserved.
And I needed it this year. So first, before we get into the necessity of goals and objectives for the new year, I want to say THANK YOU to all my loved ones – family, friends new and old – who were there to celebrate when things were great, but much more for the times I needed you to carry me when I couldn’t go on alone. YOU ALL are the only reason I’m still moving forward. I love you with all of my heart. So very much. I have no idea where I’d be without you.
2017 — I will own you.
But I will do so with patience and embrace the uncertainty. If I’ve learned anything this past year it’s that sometimes understanding doesn’t always come right away, and sometimes the things we need most come from the most unexpected places. It’s also worth waiting to see how things unfold. There are so many new adventures that are around the corner this year, and most of them are things I never would have envisioned for my life.
This was uncomfortable for me at first, but I’ve also decided that relinquishing control where I will never have it will save me a whole lot of worrying in the long run.
I will not be afraid of paths I never thought were for me.
Perhaps one of the most important discoveries I made in 2016 is that parts of myself I had buried away long ago were still there just waiting to be reopened again. It turns out they were also necessary to complete the person I’ve become in the past ten years.
It’s a strange thing putting your present and past self back together. Somehow I didn’t think the pieces could possibly fit together, but to my surprise a great deal of things I needed to find suddenly clicked into place once I opened myself up to who I used to be. Why did I close off those parts of myself? I’m not sure I could completely explain it. I just know that some of it had to do with past heartache, but also fear – fear that I had changed too much to even come back to myself.
So I kept it locked away. The lock finally broke open this past year of its own free will, and I’m so grateful it did.
“Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.” – Erol Ozan
I will continue to embrace each part of myself, in every stage of life.
There are reasons we go through different phases of life, and why we meet the people we meet. They are constantly molding us into better versions of ourselves, but those versions will never be complete if we forget who we were. Embrace you. Love, YOU.
And, I will never stop pushing myself to be better.
I still struggle with some of the relationships in my life that ended in 2016. It’s often very hard not to be bitter, which cultivates feelings of hate. I refuse to let that emotion take over my life. Now more than ever, hate is what we need less of in this world. So, I will love and let kindness and compassion rule my heart even when I’ve been terribly wronged.
Judgement isn’t for me. Instead, I will choose love and treat others the way I hope to be treated. No matter what. 2017 has no room for bitterness and anger. A close friend of mine called herself Patty Positive the other day when I was having a particularly sad day and shared some silver linings with me. She had the right of it.
I’m shooting for Patty Positive in 2017, and you should too.
And with that, I’m out. The first blog post of the year is on the books. A bit more personal than I would have envisioned for the year, but life is always unexpected. Be on the lookout for a re-vamped site with even better content coming at you soon. Being in a better place personally makes all of this other stuff possible too. Thanks for sticking with me through all the transitions. Now go get your new year rolling too!
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