top of page

2016: The Year in Gins

At the end of 2015, I posted "It's been a hell of a year, yet as 2016 dawns I've never been more optimistic about where my life is headed. I've got so much to be grateful for, and I am, every day."

At the end of 2016, I still feel the same way.

Years don't define our lives; our actions do. Every year brings its heartaches and joys, its mundane routines and extraordinary moments. There's births and deaths and new beginnings and sad endings. We grow close, and we grow apart. Sometimes love doesn't overcome fear.

I read a post by James Altucher once about setting themes for your life, rather than goals. Goals are fleeting; themes become part of your daily existence. This notion of themes rather than goals stuck with me, and instead of making the usual list of New Year's resolutions last year, I set themes for my life: healthy living, healthy mind, healthy connections. Healing. In doing so, I established a new foundation for my life. Exercise has become a consistent element of my routine. I read more books this year than ever. I blogged a bit (particularly proud of this piece.) I reconnected with some old friends that I'd fallen out of touch with. I traveled a lot. I made peace with the past.

All of these themes will continue 2017.

Early in 2016, my optimism was tempered with grief. I'd had two major losses back to back, and then a relationship with a woman I loved more than anything came to a sad, sudden end shortly after our trip to Ireland (the memories of which are now a bit tainted for me, unfortunately).

There's no time limit on grief; it overwhelms for a while before receding to a dull ache that without warning can again become a throbbing pain. We each deal with it in our own way. The trick is not to let it take over. Because:

Life goes on. You keep living. You keep growing.

Even now, my father appears in my dreams almost every night in some capacity. Slowly, slowly, I've been cleaning out his house, and the memory of him lying in that hospital bed fading away is there each time. Yet as I clean out the house, bit by bit, that memory is replaced by the story of his life, told in all of the material stuff he left behind. His books, his records, his memorabilia...hell, even the 300 t-shirts he left in his closet, on wire hangers, are a reminder of who he really was in his life. The simple act of dealing with it all is a form of healing.

The end of 2016 has been a bit melancholic. Close friends dealing with some heavy family matters, others struggling through bouts of depression. My own foolish romantic heart duping me into believing the last dying embers of a relationship were instead the fresh sparks of a rekindled fire. (In truth, it wasn't just me blowing oxygen on those embers...).

(That same foolish heart that in one dumb moment cost me a potentially great relationship a few months ago, for similar reasons. I'm so sorry, R. You've no idea how much I regret it. You're a gem of a woman.)

Still, as I look over the landscape of the past 12 months, there's a tear in my eye and a smile on my face. There was so much good this year! I fulfilled a lifelong dream by driving around the country. I made some new friends. Casual friendships deepened. I loved and I gave, freely and willingly. I read a ton. I got a couple more tattoos. And PEARL! At a time when I was feeling quite low, adrift in loneliness, this amazing dog and I found each other. She's my constant companion, and she helped keep me from falling into that bleak dark space I used to occupy so frequently.

So as 2017 dawns, I remain as optimistic as ever about where my life is headed. I am grateful and emboldened. This life is whatever we make of it and I know what I'm making of mine.

With love for all, Happy New Year.


You Might Also Like:
bottom of page