Off years. We all have them. But are they really truly bad? Loss of life, love and jobs, ends of marriages are really all terrible and devastating things - but even when these happen to us or to those near and dear to us, surely there were also moments of happiness, glimmers of sunshine too. It seems to me, as I listen to people at the closing of every year that I hear more negative than positive. I wonder why that is. While the year prior may not have gone swimmingly and might have presented itself with some definite challenges and obstacles, isn't that what life is all about? Even through the most unfortunate of circumstances do we not take something with us? A memory, a valuable lesson? The same year I lost an uncle my first child was born. The same year I lost my grandmother my oldest son was born. The same year my marriage unravelled I found myself. The same year I got divorced one dream died but a new one was born. In all my years amidst all the terrible storms, the sun did shine.
I tend to do a great deal of reflecting this time of year. As we bid farewell to one and welcome in another I tend to look at the past not to dwell but to learn from. I look at events and mistakes of yesterday and put them to good use. All of life's experiences - the good and bad - are all lessons to be learned from. As I approach the final year of my 40s I can indeed say that I've had many years and many lessons to learn from. I hope to have many more.
The past few years have been challenging and bumpy to say the least. Despite the many daily struggles that I must face head on, I can't not see the good, the hope and the promise... The good and the bad. That's what life is about.
Some of the toughest years have been the greatest years of personal growth. From all the challenges I have become the person I am today: Stronger, kinder, more compassionate, more accepting. Those challenging years have made me a better person and, more importantly, a better parent. I've discovered how to put the needs of my children ahead of my own without sacrificing what's important to me. I've learned that the struggle makes the end result sweeter and that some things are really worth fighting for.
As I get ready to write on the blank pages of the brand new book that sits open in front of me, I will absolutely seek out the books that I've scribbled in over years past much in the same way I pull out and pour over old photo albums, filled with the precious moments that have helped to mold this amazing gift called life. When I look back I will say those were difficult times but not bad ones.