The talk around town is that 2016 was pretty awful but I refuse to overlook that moving forward or backwards still means you are moving; movement is half the battle. Moving with intention and effort is life.
I have been summarizing the past few years with these little reflections and I have learned to find comfort in this annual recall.
I learned that marriage is a privilege but not a cake walk. Everyone says when you find the right person, marriage is effortless. But I don't buy it. Coexisting with another person with a different set of needs and quirks does take work. Anything formative and worthwhile does. We celebrated our first anniversary in October and our year was filled with both elation and dissapointment. I learned that when it comes to relationships, it is ok to dislike a moment and not dislike a person. Hell, you can even hate a moment. I welcome that rise and fury in my belly. It means I still care. Hate isn't the worst thing. Apathy is.
I learned how to be matronly as my sister married her Mikey. I learned I could sing Ave Maria at her wedding and not throw up all over myself with nerves. I always did have stage fright. I learned gladiator sandals are the way to go for wedding footwear and everyone loves a dessert bar.
I learned a boat load about food thanks to immersion in gorgeous books by Molly Yeh and Sarah Kieffer. I started using tahini and marzipan and made coffee, yes coffee buttercream.
People come into your life. And some will leave. If they are meant to be there, they will find their way back. If they don't resurface, you are probably better off.
My nana's cat was very sick and I thought he would die in my arms. I learned I had the courage to hold him and encourage him to breathe and drink water despite being very afraid. My pal Adrianna, a veterinarian, helped me over the phone all the way from the Cayman Islands.
I learned a man with no political experience could mobilize enough people in this country to get elected to the highest office in the land. Politics aside, it made me wonder if perhaps I should try something far away from my comfort zone or area of prowess. Bird calling, carpentry, maybe join the Police Academy? I'll table this.
I spent an hour in the car with three colleagues, all women of faith and women of color. I learned more about race, tolerance and empathy from this dialogue then I could have bargained for. They heard me. And I heard them. I have faith we as a people can and will make progress over time, together. We belong to one another. There is simply no other way.
I learned intolerance is ugly. Truly ugly. I learned that hurt people, hurt people. I learned a smile can change the course of your day, maybe even your life.
I have learned an exorbitant amount of patience as my husband teaches himself guitar.
I learned from others how I am perceived. Some of the realizations hurt me, but they were food for this journey. I also learned I am not living for them or their approval. I am living for me.
I learned I need to develop a more firm resolve and sense of self assurance. I need to trust my judgments and have faith in my choices. To loosen up and laugh a little when I want to retreat, clam up or cry.
My dad taught me the world isn't made of just circles and squares. It takes all kinds of shapes.
I learned friends that are dear to you need not be at your side for you to feel their warmth and their love. Days, weeks even month may pass, and the kinetic ties that bound you still remain firm.
I learned you cannot please everyone. It's exhausting to try. You can care about someone deeply and not have the ability to improve their mood or status. But you can still show up anyway.
I saw James turn his dream of teaching into a reality and then exceed that goal as he stands today the Director of a culinary school. I learned his commitment to taking progressively lower paying jobs in pursuit of his dream, working too many hours, and shouldering many responsibilities can and did amount to the realization of his sincerest aspiration.
I am still learning how to say no without guilt.
I am hoping we as a people continue to learn and exercise empathy.
I learned moving with intention, even if you land in a place other than you envisioned, is life.