I’m going to tell you something you already know: nothing is perfect. But every single situation holds an opportunity to learn.
So many people are saying what a terrible year 2016 was, and it has been in some ways, and so was 2015, and 2011, and 2001. Each year, shitty things happen. And each year, the more distance that is created between the present moment and those shitty things, the bad memories fade and we are greeted with new challenges. It doesn’t mean, necessarily, that the challenges we face today are harder, but they are HERE, so they feel harder. Humans have an amazing capacity to forget and move on from bad things–thank Goodness! Thank you, 2016, for helping me gain further perspective on myself and the world.
This year, I gave myself permission to forget about the bad things from my past, but not to forget the lessons I learned from each of them. I have learned that I am not a victim, and that I will make every effort to not be a bystander either, though that has proven to be very difficult in some situations. Even in situations I once found myself in, and with the strength I gained personally from those situations, I have a very hard time standing up to the bully, so that is something I’m going to keep working on. Thank you, 2016, for the reminder to always keep trying.
I travelled to 6 countries in 2016, including the Vatican City and Monaco, and in each country I visited I felt more connected to the spirit and history of the world. If I am lucky, I will go back to Rome and Pompeii to fully experience all the wonder those cities have to offer. Each time I visit a new place, I am inspired to visit another. Thank you, 2016, for strengthening my resolve to see the world and learn as much from it as possible.
I started a blog, and edited a book! I have gained more clarity on the practice of writing, the wounds that it heals, and the potential it has to teach. I strive to unlock that world for my students and friends. Journaling can give a person so much clarity. Thank you, 2016, for giving me plenty of paper and ink to continue writing.
Not many people in my circle expected the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election, but like all things, there is something to be learned from it. Today, a young man said to me that he believes the biggest risk to humanity is tradition. Thank you, 2016, for showing me that people are ready to abandon tradition and look for new solutions to our problems. I am inspired and know that our world is getting closer and closer to seeing and achieving amazing, unifying, peaceful change, though I also know that sometimes things do get worse before they get better. Thank you, 2016, for the opportunity to go into the next year with a beginner’s mind–to learn all I possibly can from the situations with which the world and I are faced.
Finally, thank you, 2016, for all of the wonderful, talented, inspiring, funny people you brought into my life. I have learned so much about humanity, and myself, through each of the unique exchanges I was privileged to have. From the 93 year old woman, Marti, I met on my way to the job fair in Boston last January, to all of the amazing teachers and teachers to be I’ve met this year, to the porteros who keep my apartment building safe, I have been surrounded by so much wisdom and kindness this year, and my faith in humanity has been strengthened. Thank you, 2016, for bringing so many amazing people into my life. And thank Goodness that there are so many different people in our world from whom we get to learn.
You weren’t perfect, 2016, but neither am I. May we both be better next year! Cheers to you!