My biggest take-away from Carl Sagan’s Cosmos all those years ago was just how brief human existence really is.
My life thus far has included some great years and some shitty years and as much as 2016 has included some big downer moments on the global stage (yes, I am casting a stink-eye at the outcome of the US election), it has also been a really great year for me personally and seems to be continuing on an upward trend.
Seeing Kiddo grow and mature fills me with pride and joy so often. Going “back to school” and taking a course was frustrating but ultimately gratifying. Getting the Victoria Tool Library ever-closer to opening has been satisfying. Watching my best friend find a new love at the close of the year has been surprisingly touching and heartwarming.
Speaking of love… these days, I feel ridiculously loved.
I am surrounded by people who push me forward, not down; who lift my spirits, and make me feel worthy and valued. I have amazing partners and my friend circles continue to expand and overlap as I open myself to new connections. This has happened through a conscious effort on my own part to not be a jerk.
In the past I spent time and energy defaulting to “no,” being negative, condescending, exclusionary, petty, impatient, combative, and so on. In short, completely toxic. I am embarrassed by the prejudices I once held about so many people for so many (stupid) reasons. Shedding those shitty classist and elitist attitudes has brought into my life some of the kindest, most giving people I’ve ever known.
Some of those toxic behaviors and shitty attitudes still bubble to the surface when I am stressed out and I am thankful to have people around me who will call me on it when they see it. I’m also happy that I can often recognize when I am being a dick and can own it now, and apologize, rather than let things fester.
I’m not so focused on Year of Yes anymore — defaulting to “yes” has just become part of me (which I think is kind of the point of a Year of Yes anyhow). I am showing more love to more people and just being positive in as many ways as possible. Gratitude is also a big shift for me, and patience — which is a work in progress (and progressing slower when I am behind the wheel).
I have also been giving more — charity, volunteerism, paying it forward — and finding that the world is just so much better this way. And I am not even criticizing myself for taking so long to get to this point, just thankful I am here now.
So, despite an ever-depressing news cycle, I’m not “happy to see the end” of 2016 because life is, ultimately, short. By my math I am statistically past my half-way mark although none of us ever knows for sure how many more circles around the sun we each have. However, at this point, I am in full-on carpe diem mode, living as fully and boldly and happily as I possibly can.