On this the final day of 2016, while John and I sipped our coffee and watched the morning news, he skimmed the newspaper and I scrolled through Facebook. I commented, “It’s disheartening to read and hear just about everyone say that 2016 was ‘one of the worst years ever.’”
“If you highlight the negative, you can make any year horrible,” John replied.
Then he added, “Or you can highlight the positive…like CUBS WIN! CUBS WIN!”
To that remark, I laughed and laughed, and so did he. Because he’s a St. Louis Cardinals fan, while I’m a die-hard Cubs fan(atic).
But it’s true. Every year has its negatives, its disappointments, its regrets, its sorrows, its pains, its losses.
Yet, every year (if you choose to discover) has its positives, its joys, its celebrations, its wins.
Some years have more milestones than others: personal physical mental professional relational emotional financial spiritual. Some years prayers are answered; some years there is more waiting.
While 2016 often seemed like a year that many want to forget, for me, the year had some pretty awesome highlights, milestones to remember:
I turned 60.
I quit a job.
I accepted a new job.
I taught an English class at Ball State. (And met incredible students.)
I directed the 43rd Midwest Writers Workshop.
I celebrated my husband’s retirement.
I saw my grandchildren, heard them laugh and talk, and felt their hugs.
I supported my parents and the challenges in their lives.
…and to repeat, I cheered and cried that THIS actually happened: “Cubs win …The World Series!” Seriously.
Six years ago, I began a practice of posting a “Happy Day Moment” on my personal Facebook page. Writing something every day that I was “happy” for, something to be grateful for. It has changed my life.
The daily practice, the discipline, the routine of choosing to look for the positive, not always focusing on the negative, has changed me. Forever. Strengthened me to face … anything.
It’s impossible to think negatively when you’re focusing on the positive.
It’s impossible to have an attitude of lack when you’re embracing abundance.
It’s impossible to be judgmental, resentful, or quarrelsome when you’re thankful for your relationships.
It’s impossible to miss the lessons when you give thanks for your difficulties and obstacles.
It’s impossible to miss the moment when you’re present and grounded in each one as it comes.
I know I can keep my humor, my perspective, and my patience regardless of how my day (or life) evolves.
The key is gratitude.
So, be thankful for 2016, with everything it contained. And be thankful for 2017, for everything it will hold.
Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the dry lands. ~ Isaiah 43:19