On this day last year, I recapped 2016 and set out on a mission of sorts: to dedicate 2017 to me. To all the things I wanted to accomplish, without the influence of anyone else. And I followed through with this, due to pure necessity.

I felt out of control as I rounded January last year, completely lacking direction. As I attempt to reflect again, I find myself feeling strangely similarly to how I felt this time last year. I could not wait the start of a new year, I had felt tested in each aspect of my life on the highest levels, and was battling between my heart and my head.

Well, not much has changed in that regard. And yet, my entire world has transformed. Re-reading my “reflections” on 2016 was more so confirming the realities of life. That it’s not perfect. That it includes traumatic, heart-wrenching moments so that we may better appreciate the ones that take our breath away and have us asking for five more minutes.

2016 was not to blame for anything that happened to me 365 days ago. And 2017 is not to blame for the last 365. Every day is a new opportunity. A new choice.

I agree that a new year provides us with a {mental} clean slate. We need to find a way to compartmentalize the chapters of our life. But ultimately, I will wake up tomorrow with yet another 24 hours in which I must choose what to do with. That’s my choice. And it always has been.

The last 365 days taught me more than I could have imagined. I moved to New York City on a whim. I bought a plane ticket within two weeks of packing my bags and boarding a red-eye to the big apple. I lacked a job and an apartment, but I also lacked self-doubt. And that, my friends, is something I continue to be proud of.

I eventually landed a job, and moved into a lovely apartment with two women, originally from Boston. I joined a gym, I practiced a routine, and I started gathering my tribe. I had many, many visitors join me in the concrete jungle, and formed new, unexpected friendships in my new home. I had moments where I was on top of the world {quite literally and figuratively}, and moments of complete and utter break down.

I had mentioned last year, the 2017 was sure to be one of my hardest yet. I was challenged in a new way this year, that differed from the challenges placed upon me during previous ones. The challenges I faced in 2017 were all self-inflicted. I couldn’t blame them on anyone but myself, because I had taken the burden on at the start of the new year. Many of these challenges were intentional, in an attempt to discover my own capabilities, others were accidental and usually at the mercy of a wine bottle. But with each new challenge came a great lesson, and my personal education continued to grow this year.

Alongside the challenges, I had many rewarding moments this year. I was given a promotion after only a couple of months of ‘hard’ work {I was a receptionist so…}, I spent countless hours in the Hamptons visiting relatives I rarely get to see, I attended every type of sports event possible in the big apple {baseball, football, hockey, you name it}, I experienced my very own white Christmas {though a few days early}, I celebrated my best friend’s birthday in California {where I also attended more sports events}, I cross-dressed in front of all of my co-workers {don’t ask}, and marched for women’s rights alongside thousands in Washington, D.C.

I did not travel an awful lot this year, but the trips that I did endure were done so solo, which went along with my resolution of ‘the year of me’.

My trip to Belize and Guatemala {which I have yet to share on this space}, was one of the most life-changing journeys thus far. I learned to trust again while in Central America. Locals became my lifeline and strangers turned into friends. I had to trust my own judgment when agreeing to an ‘off-the-beaten-path’ jungle hike with a local I had only met hours before. And again when told to jump in shark infested water without protection of any kind.

On a less dangerous trip, I made my way to our Canadian neighbors, and visited Montreal. With only a few days, I scheduled my own itinerary and made the most of the European influenced city. I shared sangria with new friends from Scotland, England, and local Canadians, as well as formed bonds with fellow New Yorker’s who had the same idea as me when it came to their Memorial Day plans.

And finally, I returned to my beloved London. My home away from home, reminding me of the beautiful moments I shared nearly two years ago. I recalled my excitement as I packed for the UK back in 2016, and the nerves that followed upon arrival {though, those could have been due to being detained for five hours}. It made me want to feel all those feels again.

Traveling to these destinations this year, completely alone, empowered me to make big decisions that will impact my 2018, in a big way.

There will be suitcases, passports, and hopefully all the feels. My feet are happiest when settled on foreign soil, so it should come at no surprise that I will be venturing out of the country again.

As for 2017, I am eternally grateful for the opportunities I was granted this year. The people in my life are some of the most generous, hilarious, and incredible human beings I could have ever asked for in my corner. They are the ones that make it possible for me to live the life I want, and to believe in myself the way that I do. They inspire me to be a well-rounded, non-judgmental, open-minded individual. They also order chicken nuggets with me at 4:00 AM, no questions asked.

I welcome 2018 with arms wide open.

I have a great feeling about this one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *