I encountered a FaceB0ok post a few days ago in which the author figuratively flipped the bird at the year 2015. All of the comments were in support of this flipping. 2015 was assigned blame for illness, job loss, and a plethora of other struggles. All were looking for better stories in the coming 365 days. The collective sentiment was goodbye and good riddance to 2015.
I could sympathize with their bitterness. 2015 was no picnic for me either. When I look back over the past twelve months, the most prominent memories revolve around the care of my parents as their aging process began to take a really serious toll. I can’t say I wouldn’t change a thing. It was one of the hardest days of my life when my dad passed away three weeks ago.
But there is a feeling … something along the lines of gratefulness for the experiences in 2015, even the really difficult ones, that helped me grow as a person. Just about a year and a half ago, I began to feel a personal shift. The path of my life had felt pretty stagnant for a long time, and this shift was so welcome. It involved a spiritual awakening, a feeling of strength to handle whatever life would throw our way. It brought an understanding that problems don’t exist to beat us down, but to make us stronger. I began to see that all of us here in this world are more alike than we are different. It brought acceptance and a sense of relief for the inner struggle I’d been battling for so long. Over the past year, this shift has continued to open my eyes exponentially to the reason we are all here, bumping into each other and doing this thing we call living. I have rarely, if ever, wished that I could go back to a certain time in my life and if this is what growing older is all about, I’ll continue to believe that forward is the only way to go.
My younger years always seemed to find me looking ahead in search of the day when there would finally be enough time, money, stuff and happiness. I was constantly on the lookout for the point when all problems would be resolved and life would be free and easy. But lately I have the sense that this is where “it” is at; right here, right now. And with that, I more quickly appreciate every experience for the opportunity it brings to grow as a person, to accept differences in others, to love more deeply, to be thankful for all that is good in my life.
2015 was a tough one. But it was also sprinkled with joy and fun and love. I guess I wouldn’t give it back if offered the chance. And I won’t lie. I hope 2016 goes a little easier on us. I won’t be making any of the typical kind of New Year’s resolutions. I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing. It seems to be working. Whatever lies ahead in the next year, I feel ready and capable of facing it. Bring it on!