Dear 2017

I’d like to thank you. You helped me grow in ways I never could’ve before and pushed me to become accountable for my actions, my values and my life. I had to stop fighting my feelings and running from fear. I had to accept the things I could not change, and at least try to change the things I can. No drinking, no dating, less day dreaming and more doing. It hurt. You took away my comfort, but gave me courage. And while I couldn’t see why sometimes through the blur of tears and ache of bruises, all of your roadblocks and resistance were for a reason — and I’m grateful for the pain. It made me surrender. It made me smarter. It made me stronger than I ever thought possible.

And to your less enthusiastic fans who labeled you for all negative events of this year, may they find in your next version, 2018, the same power, perseverance and purpose I found in this one. While I can relate to the sarcastic humor labeling you as a total loss, I can’t agree despite the allure. Blame is a much easier game. It would’ve been a narrative that fed into a false idea that they way I had been was fine, no changes needed, and somehow things would all work out. Of course not, and thankfully you reminded me this was no my longer my luxury. I had seen the other side and there was no going back. By sacrificing the self-pity and “should’s,” I started to see a collateral beauty in the broken expectations. I could no longer be content with a weaker me — because if I settled, I knew it would simply be passing time until I hit another point in five, ten or twenty years. A point where I’d be left wondering where I went wrong, even though I would know it started with you and my first wake-up to do things right. Not easier, not faster, but true to myself and with meaning.

So when I think back to you, 2017, the 365 days of the new, old and confusing in between, I know what I’ll say with my head held high and a knowing smile: It was a hell of a ride. You were the year I picked up the pieces of a broken fantasy and found myself again. I don’t know where the next year leads, of course I have some wishes, and it may be more painful — but at least for today, I know it is has more potential and purpose than it did yesterday. I’ve already made it farther than I could’ve planned thanks to you, and know this a chapter I won’t soon forget. I look forward to the next version of you — and hope the next version of me rises to meet the occasion.

It’s been real,

AG

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