The best we can

December 31st. The day that most of us stop for an extra moment to reflect on the year that’s about to end. Since i’m a naturally reflective and curious person, today has been spent doing just that.

This year seemed to go by in the blink of an eye (don’t they all). And while I could give a detailed list of the milestones that occurred, instead i’ll say this: I did the best that I could.

With everything.

I tried really, really hard at my career. And I continue to do so day in and day out. I left a job in Chicago that I absolutely adored so that I could be closer to my family, and when I started my new job in Rochester, I had to adapt to a completely new environment. It wasn’t always easy, but when it came to my career this year, I do know this: I did the best that I could.

Now that i’m closer to home, my family and my relationship with my boyfriend (and subsequently his family) are a top priority. It can be exhausting, but working to bring two families together has been one of my greatest joys in 2016. We aren’t perfect. There are arguments and inevitably stressful times. But when it came to family and love this year, I do know this: I did the best that I could.

I also put a lot of thought, time, and energy into my friendships this year, as I try to do every year. Some flourished. Others dimmed. In hindsight, I would have changed a few things. I would have stood my ground a little stronger and communicated more often. I think I could have been a better friend. I guess there’s always room to be a better friend. And i’m going to try to do so in the days, weeks, and years ahead. But when it came to friendships this year, I do know this: I did the best that I could.

Every year comes with its own set of challenges. And that’s because life is tough. It kicks you in the ass and it makes you cry and it leaves you bruised and banged up with mud on your knees and a confused look on your face. And it never stops.

It always forces you to learn, reach, grow, transform, and stretch in the direction of goodness and kindness so that you can hopefully become a better version of yourself. It does this every damn day. It’s no easy task, and there are no breaks.

But don’t forget that just being alive and well is a blessing in and of itself. And although the lessons we must learn are tough, they’re worth learning.

Whether 2016 was a joy or a nightmare for you, just remember this: we’re all just doing the best we can. And may we continue to do so in the years to come.



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In the books 

It’s almost 11am and I’m still lying in bed, which is a sure sign that yesterday was Thanksgiving. 

As many of us stop to reflect during the holidays, it’s no secret when I say that this is a time for gratitude, joy and happiness. But if you’re like me and millions of others, they can also bring a daunting reminder of the loved ones we’ve lost who aren’t here with us. 

You think of the empty chair they should be sitting in. You think of the leftovers they should be eating for you and taking home. You think of the extra laugh in the room that’s missing. You think of the absence. 

Maybe feeling that absence so strongly and vividly is a part of growing up – where you become acutely aware of how things change with the passing of time. It seems to be an inevitable growing pain that hits hardest on the holidays. 

But that growth also gives us the wisdom to take each moment for granted just like we should. To take those valuable old memories and weave them into something new. To intertwine the past with the present so that the two halves make a new whole, no matter how bittersweet it can be. 

And once you embrace the change, all of the sudden you realize you got through another important day without the ones you miss most. More so, you actually enjoyed yourself and did make new memories. 

And just like that, you’ve put another holiday in the books.

Just like that, you’re still breathing in and out. 

Just like that, you’re okay. 

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