Dear 2017.

Last night I met up with one of my favourite people I rediscovered this year.

We had a bevy and ate some food at a pub where we’ve met up every few months.

About halfway through the meal she reminded me with a big smile on her face, just how far I’ve come from the miserable place I was in January when we had our first drinks of the year. She reminded me the juxtaposition of how low I felt at the beginning of you, with the excitement and genuine happiness, even I could feel spilling from me last night.

2017, sometimes you’re so busy climbing a mountain, by the time you remember to look up, you’ve gotten so high, there’s a stunning view sitting in front of you that you haven’t even noticed. I’ve been staring at it with awe this entire week.

As you know, 2017, you’ve been a bitch of a year. You were like that coach screaming at me to give more, to trust more, when all I wanted to do at times, was cry, throw up and give up. And let’s be honest at one point or another I did all three, sometimes even more.

2017, you made me question pretty much every choice I’ve ever made but allowed me to grow and stretch and see things in a different way that has expanded my life so much.

And when I look back to where I was in January and where I stand now, 2017, you bitch of a year, you’ve been a gift. And a good reminder to not take short cuts through the hard stuff because crossing finish lines after training hard always feels amazing.

2017, as you know, one of my favourite people and I, have sat philosophizing for many hours this year in my little homestead we’ve nicknamed “the treehouse.”

We’ve talked about so many things.

Connecting dots from our similar pasts of elite athletics and the similar journey we’ve been on since. Unraveling a lot of stuff that propelled us to the highest level of our sport, but spat us out and left us writhing on the ground searching for the meaning of it all. We’ve discussed at length where we could find the passion again that at one time in our lives threw us out of bed every morning with a sense of energy and purpose.

For me 2017, you helped me find myself and I think a path of energy and purpose that feels far healthier than the angst I wobbled through as a soccer player before.

2017, you helped me learn about what I want in my friends. You’ve shown me what I want in a partner. What I want out of this crazy thing called life if I died tomorrow. You’ve reminded me to live with the realization firmly in my mind that we all came into this world by ourselves with nothing, and that’s how we are all going to leave.

You taught me 2017, that there’s no scorecard, no checklist, and to limit my time on social media because in our weakest moments it really can be the devil. You’ve taught me to put my time and connection into real life moments with the people that matter most to me. You’ve shined diamonds of humans in front of me and presented them in the most random of places, turning strangers at my table in coffee shops into close friends and bringing friends from many years past, back into my life at the time I needed them most.

You’ve shown me that family, 2017, while they are the ones you push away are also the safety net that is always waiting there for you to put down your stubborn front and fall back on. 2017, you’ve taught me about humility and about forgiveness, of myself and of other people.

2017, you gave me the gift of wise friends, one that reminded me that at this point in my life to get deeply hurt, means that I was brave enough to put my whole heart out there, something most people our age, he said, are too scarred or scared to do. Sometimes we just need the kind of friends that teach us our to reframe the lessons we can’t see with our own eyes the first time, and 2017 you gave me some real angels to work through and make sense of things I couldn’t on my own.

Furthermore, 2017 you taught me that lasting love is sometimes not the flashiest or most passionate or the kind you scream from rooftops or splash over social media, but is far more quiet and steady, built on friendship, trust, respect and loyalty, and that it takes time to grow.

Thank you 2017 for reminding me that pain is lessons that the universe still feels we need to learn and to be brave enough to face them in a stillness I’ve never known.

2017, you’ve taught me that the only way I want to experience pain is by sitting in the fire of it and going through it. You’ve taught me that numbing it robs me of its greatest lessons. You’ve taught me that in stillness and silence, every answer I’ve ever needed is sitting there, waiting for me to hear it.

2017 you’ve taught me that there is a universe waiting to present me with everything I want, but I have to acknowledge that its there and trust that things that I think are impossible, you can make happen. You’ve taught me that my only responsibility is to ask and then to trust. And the only thing you ask of me is to give my best effort everyday.

2017, you’ve elucidated to me, through the hardest of times, what I like most about myself and taught me the importance of knowing my worth. You’ve taught me not to be so hard on myself, and to not need to know every answer now. You’ve taught me the gift of patience and to trust.

2017 in a crazy way, you’ve juxtaposed stillness, with more experiences than I have ever had. You’ve shown me that the gift we get every day waking up with a breath from our mouth and a bounce in our step is to try things and fail, and learn and then try again. You’ve taught me that if you put in enough work and believe that good things will happen.

2017, as I look back on you, I really can’t believe where I stand now from where I started 12 months ago.

But I am reminded of the biggest lesson that you taught me this year and that I will carry with me moving forward. No matter where we stand or how bleak things feel, gratitude will always make everything better and is the best place to start.

So with deep gratitude I say thank you 2017.

For everything.

Every little bit of it.

The good and the bad.

I can’t wait to see what next year, in this amazing wild ride called life, has in store.

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