Over this past Christmas weekend, my mom, sister and I were talking about 2017 and whether it was a good or a bad year. Before even thinking about it too much, I said that it was definitely a great year this year — sure, there were some bumps in the road; but overall, it was pretty amazing.
But if you look at the fabric of what happened from month to month (some of which I’ve mentioned on this blog; some that I have not), it’s the perspective that gives me the confidence to call it a great year — not necessarily what happened.
One of my most popular posts from this year was published early in January, titled “the bad shit.” In case you haven’t read it, here’s an excerpt that summarizes most of my thoughts:
One of the things I was thinking about was the bad shit. Yes, the stuff that hurts and causes pain and just isn’t really that fun to deal with. No matter who you are, you deal with some bad shit in your life. Not everyone gets dealt the same cards, and I’m not quite sure why some people seem to have more of the bad to deal with than others — definitely doesn’t seem fair, but I guess you can say that’s life?
Cancer, death, divorce, car accidents, job loss, drugs, abuse, affairs, health problems, murders, etc., etc. I feel like there’s more to the list than I have there, but that’s about the gist of it.
Anyways, we all have bad stuff happen to us in our life. I think the thing I struggle with the most is figuring out how to recover from that. Obviously, it becomes part of your life story… and it defines you in the future. But it doesn’t have to be you.
Yes, when bad things happen, it becomes part of the fabric of our lives. It defines us as human beings, it changes us — most likely, hardening our soul a little bit and making us a bit more cynical. However, that being said, it doesn’t have to be your future. It doesn’t have to be your battle, day in and day out. You can’t change the bad shit, but you can change how it’s woven in your future story.
Looking back on this year, there was plenty of bad shit. My job at my company was eliminated. My grandmother passed away. I had to pay thousands of dollars in taxes. I replaced my windshield on my car, only for it to crack again a few days later. I lost a freelance client. I found out my cat is deaf, and most likely has cancer (which I haven’t yet tested).
The list really could go on and on. And once you go down that rabbit hole, it’s easy to stay down there. You know, the old saying that “misery loves company.” It’s so very true.
Instead, I like to look at all the great things that happened this year.
I met an amazing guy, who I’ve been able to make some great memories with in a short amount of time (long weekends at the cabin, fishing up north, hiking and adventuring in Canada).
I PR’ed in the marathon…
I ran my first ultramarathon.
I went to Canada for the first time.
I caught my first muskie. (!!)
I got to spend a lot more time with my family (more than I have in the past few years combined).
I found an amazing new job that fits my strengths and me as a person.
I spent a LOT of time outside: running, enjoying the sunshine, spending time with my favorite people, you name it.
I branched my musical horizons and went to quite a few amazing concerts (and didn’t take pictures so I could enjoy the show… :)).
I set a new-old PR in the half marathon.
I went to ABQ with Brooks to immerse myself more in the world of running.
I met up with old friends, made new friends.
…seriously, I could go on and on with this list. Some of these things are major, some of these things are not. But the thing about the bad shit, is that it can be like a cancer. Once you start to focus on how terrible something is, it feels like the terribleness just continues to grow and replicate and become worse.
Sure, terrible things will continue to happen. But the terrible things won’t impact you as much if you can celebrate the good that you have in your life, too.
So, as you look back at this year, recognize the bad shit that happened and how it’s impacted you as a person, but also celebrate all the good that has come about too — small and big.
What were some of your favorite moments from this year?
How do you go beyond “the bad shit”?
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