The Year of The Most

There really is nothing magical about the flip of the calendar to a new year. Yet, midnight on New Year’s Eve is a unique kind of magic where, just for a moment, the past and the future exist at once in the present. When we countdown to the new year, we are sharing the burden of our history and committing to the promise of tomorrow.

Flipping the calendar from 2021 to 2022 was a ceremonial act for me. 2021 was one of the most challenging years I’ve had to live through. It was filled with unimaginable loss and grief. As much as I would like to forget 2021 even happened, the fact is, it did. It is another year, added to an accumulative list of other past years. I can’t ignore it. I need to acknowledge it. I need to appreciate 2021 for what it is – another chapter added to the narrative of my life story titled, “The Year of the Most.”

Life can change in a second. Finding yourself under new circumstances without any forewarning, good or bad, can be scary, overwhelming and a major source of stress. But change itself is a constant in life. It will happen whether you want it to or not.

Embracing change this past year helped me to grow, learn new things and discover new insights about myself and my life. Change has brought new beginnings, new experiences, new relationships and new opportunities and in ways I could have never imagined.

Change is inevitable in life. You will never come out as the winner if you fight it. My best advice is you just as well as embrace it.

Going through bad times happens. Experiencing bad times can help us fully appreciate the good times we will also experience in life. And while we are living through the bad times, some of life’s most important lessons are being learned. It is then that we are being prepared and trained to grow up to the next level that our life is about to demand of us.

The preparation and training I endured in 2021, taught me that:
• Courage is not something you have; it is something you do.
• Letting go creates the space for healing to happen.
• Dawn always follows the darkness.
• Building new circles of relationships is just as important as nurturing the old ones.
• Gratitude leads to happiness and it’s not the other way around.
• Nothing is coincidental in life.

The most important lesson I learned is that good times become good memories and bad times become good lessons in life.

One of the statements I heard most in 2021 was, “You are a strong person, Kathleen.” It was hard for me to accept what was meant to be a compliment or an empowering statement because I didn’t always feel strong. And, if I’m going to be honest, 2021 brought me to my knees many times over. And yet, the statement made me wonder, “What makes a person strong, or at least, appear to be strong?”

“Being strong” can manifest itself in different ways with different people. For me, I learned that I am most strong when I am the most vulnerable. I made a conscious effort this past year to be an “open book” with myself and others – sharing my grief story, revealing my deepest and sometime darkest thoughts and questions, feeling all the feels no matter how ugly and uncomfortable it was, admitting my shortcomings and weaknesses and risking being hurt and rejected. And yet, while in this fragile and weak state, I also found strength. The strength to still have faith and hope.

I have come to understand that being vulnerable is not a sign of weakness, but rather, a sign of strength.

As human beings we thrive on predictability and pride ourselves on being the fortune-tellers of our own futures. In truth, life is unpredictable, unknowable, and impossible to control. As a result, we are many times blindsided and hit on the back of the head with the 2×4 of life’s randomness and thrown into a future of unknowns.

2021 took me on a journey of uncertainty. It was a journey that made me scared, apprehensive, anxious, stressed and sometimes, angry. But the journey also transformed me in ways I could have never imagined. It made me more open to new possibilities, willing to adapt to new and changing situations, inclined to let go of what I can’t control and confident in what is yet to come.

Being thrown into a future of unknowns isn’t all bad. So, buckle up and go on the journey and know that at the end all will be fine. You will be fine.

2021 was “The Year of the Most” for me, but it is only one chapter in my life and not my whole story. My story continues into 2022. I trust that no matter what happens in this new year, or how bad it seems at times, life will go on and tomorrow will always be better.

And, this is what I know and believe to be “THE MOST” true.