Reflections on 2017

As December comes closer to its end…

I find myself in a similar spot. Wanting to reflect on the year that has passed (especially this year), but not quite certain where to even begin. The logical planner in me wants to start right back at January and work from there, but that seems too rigid. There is also the idea of making a laundry list of every memorable thing that happened this year, but again, that just didn’t feel right.

So, instead, I decided to look into asking myself a few reflection questions, ones that tapped into how this year felt, what I learned, what challenged me, and what helped me grow. I look back on this year, and a LOT of different emotions come up. From heartbroken and devastated to hopeful and inspired. There have been moments where I wasn’t sure how I would make it through another day. And there were moments that I wished could last longer.

2017 was a year filled with challenges…

Personal, professional, and even on a grander scale with what’s happened in the world this past year. It’s been a very heavy year. In many of the conversations I’ve had about 2017, the general consensus has been “good riddance.”

What am I grateful for this year? What has been wonderful about this year?

My inner strength and my support system. I have never had to call on both as strongly as I did this past year. Having my entire life turned upside down in June had me leaning on those closest to me more heavily than I’ve ever needed in the past. I visited my parents more, I reached out to make plans with my friends more often, I opened up to those close to me about how I was feeling and how hard this was. I gave up my need to be the strong one all of the time and allowed my vulnerability to show.

There were days when getting out of bed was difficult. I didn’t want to face what the day held for me. But something always got me up, got me dressed, and got me moving on with my life. I did a LOT of soul searching and got back into writing in my journal on an almost daily basis. Getting back in touch with what brings me peace and a great amount of joy has been absolutely wonderful.

Our trip to California/Nevada/Arizona. Despite the fact that the relationship ultimately didn’t work out, I look back on that trip with nothing but fond memories. From driving in Death Valley to drunken wanderings in Vegas. From sunsets at the beach to exploring the Getty Museum and the Grand Canyon. I am so grateful for those memories.

What am I proud of? What am I celebrating about myself this year?

My resilience. My ability to make a decision and stick with it. 2017 was a year where my life was thrown upside down and inside out. I was pushed to my very edge, to the point of seeking therapy to help me manage everything that was going on in my life.

I see where I am now and I am damn proud of myself for getting here. I have a vivid memory of posting a picture on my Instagram on July 12th, 2017. I had just spent the last hour crying for what seemed like the 10th time just that day. I was sad. I was alone. I felt so low. I remember it being one of those moments where I questioned myself, the decisions I had made, the direction I was going.

And now I’m here, on December 21st, 2017, with a firm idea of where my next steps are going to be. The details are still muddy, as all big changes are in the beginning. But I feel excited and hopeful.

What challenged me? What helped me grow the most this year?

A breakup, a change in career, a major life decision. Starting the year going in one direction and having that get thrown completely around to the point that I’m now facing a COMPLETELY different direction. I was a fiance, a stepmom, an employee at a University with hopes of becoming permanent.

Now, I’m single, am no longer a part of that little girl’s life (and there is a whole lot of guilt there that I have been working through…not easy), am back at the same University but in a different position after having explored personal training again. Realizing, for the second time, that personal training was not for me, was an extremely challenging decision for me to make. It led to a full blown anxiety attack because here I was, 31 years old, and still not able to figure out what the hell I wanted to do with my life. I completely second guessed myself. In every aspect of my life. My relationship, my career, my integrity and authenticity. Who the hell was I?

But one realization that I came to this year was that I am not defined by things or people that are external to me. I am Melissa. I am caring, funny, active, quirky, spontaneous, prone to anxiety, an introvert who can lose time writing or reading in a coffee shop. I am a strong, independent, resilient woman who is no longer afraid to show up just as I am.

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