2016 – A Year in Review

2016 was one hell of a year. From start to finish I never quite knew what was coming around the corner, and for some of that I am thankful.

I will start with the bad that the year brought, because I don’t believe it should be skated around. This year took 2 family members from us, and both were shocking. In late July, my late grandfather’s wife died, and the beginning of November took Colin. I lost others in my life this year, but in grossly different ways. This year was also the year I had to leave Colorado, a state I fell in love with.

The bad of 2016 was pretty bad. There is no way to sugarcoat it. It would be very easy to write the whole year off as a loss. Despite that, there were some great moments.

I completed a 10-week senior thesis with my sanity intact and I graduated college with University Honors. Course schedules brought a long-time Facebook friend and I into each other’s paths, and our friendship is something I am so grateful for. I got to spend a few short months with some people who made the bulk of my last semester in college tolerable. I got to stand by one of my best friends as she married her best friend, and I got to see a life-long friend get engaged as well. I got to meet extended family members whom I might not have otherwise met, and reconnected with others I hadn’t seen in nearly a decade. Better yet, a cousin that lives out of state got to visit because she wanted to, not because she had to. This year gave me a very real look at the people in my life, and I gained a new appreciation for those who are by my side. There were also a lot of new relationships that formed and opportunities that presented themselves, and they have paved a road that I am excited about continuing down. I was fortunate enough to travel quite a bit as well. I got to finally take my family to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. More than that, I got to go to Redwoods National and State Parks for the first time, and I got a Yosemite National Park annual pass which I have been taking advantage of.

2017 is sure to be another year with highs and lows, and I am ready to see what it has to teach me about myself and those in my life.

 

Changes

Thanks to Pinterest, I come across hundreds of quotes a day. Many of them I agree with, but few as strongly as this:

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I think back to what my life looked like a year ago, and it was dramatically different than it is now. One year ago, my dad was about to retire for the second time, and his long overdue knee replacement surgery had been completed (little did we know, he was going to be having a second one in the coming weeks). With all of this, I was looking for an advisor for a thesis topic I thought I was sold on. Thanksgiving 2015, Colin provided the turkey for our family’s dinner and we actually got to have our family gathering on the federally recognized day. Sounds like a lot of great things, doesn’t it?

Well, one year changed everything.

I watched my dad fight a horrific staph infection that required him to have a PICC line put in so he could receive Nafcillin on a drip for 20 minutes every 4 hours for 6 weeks, and (fortunately) make it out of that strong as ever without needing a third surgery. After seeing my dad flawlessly go through at least 7 other surgeries leading up to this, I hadn’t been more scared in my life with what happened (which was 100% not the fault of his replacement surgeon nor his orthoscopic surgeon preceding that).

I picked a completely different thesis topic than originally planned, and it turned out beautifully. My original thesis idea was not anything I was passionate about, and I would have hated every minute of the process with that topic. My advisors were tough and that entire semester was trying, but they pushed me to ensure the finished product was the best it could be.

This year, we effectively cancelled Thanksgiving. My Thursday, November 24 consisted of work for the bulk of my day, followed by pumpkin cheesecake and hard liquor.

I’m not meaning to sound tragic, rather, I want to emphasize the importance of being thankful for what you have while you have it. As difficult as some of it has been, I have learned so much about myself and others; I’ve had people walk out of my life I thought would be there, and I’ve had others that I was certain were gone unexpectedly walk back in, I’ve been blessed in ways that I can barely fathom, and I have experienced some of the greatest loss I’ve known in my life to date.

There is only one thing I can guarantee – my life this time next year will once more look completely different than it does right now.