Forewarn the Madness: A Look Back @ 2015

Mid-December. The point in time where we, as a collective society, begin drafting up our resolutions for the coming new year. Oftentimes they’re about the things we didn’t do, the aspirations, the lifestyle changes. Some might say that making that list is easy. “1) Get a 6-pack. 2) Visit Peru. 3) Call my mom once a week.” But it’s the big ticket items we have a harder time coming up with, if we even think to focus on them at all. How many times have you thought: “You know, I just want to be a nicer person next year.”

The world around us is tumultuous, to say the very least, and I’m not going to go into any more detail than that because we’re all very aware of the lives we get to look forward to living. This year, I’m all about the planning. Something tells me that the next twelve months are going to be even more of a whirl than the last twelve and I want to be prepared! I want to forewarn the madness. It’s not always about “new year, new me.” In fact, we wouldn’t even be able to figure out who we want that “me” to become without the subconscious assistance of all the things we just went through.

So rather than a list of resolutions for next year, I’m going to reflect back on the things that happened to me throughout this one: the wonderful and the most painstakingly terrible. Not in any way comprehensive, but just a quick brainstorm of the major impacts. Then, let’s see if they can can help me find 2016’s big ticket.


The Worst

  • Lost my raison d’etre, my main man, the core of my life in October and it’s been hard but I keep on moving cause I know that he’d expect nothing less.

The Best

  • Survived an entire year living by myself
  • Made it to the age of 22 without a single… okay, with minimal scratches
  • Walked a marathon

My lifetime bucket list included running the Boston Marathon but the older I get the more I realize that I just hate running. In September my mother lost her friend, coworker, and Just Wings team captain Vicki to the battle against cancer so I agreed to do the entirety of the Jimmy Fund Walk with her. The Walk follows the same route as the Boston Marathon and wow – this was easily the most mentally and physically challenging thing I’ve ever done. I’m a huge fan of walking, I prefer it to any other method of transportation (driving around in the summertime with a frappuccino not included), but this was tough.

So proud of myself for making it 26.2 miles, but more importantly I’m proud of my mom for her own physical endurance and for inspiring me to get to that finish line for us. Andddddd I’ll never do that again. See you at the 3-mile marker next year, Mom!

  • Studied abroad at the University of Cambridge

The thing that made this experience so powerful for me was that it was the first time I got to study something I love. It’s a sad reality that this must be what life is like for people who picked passion over practicality. I won’t go into my time abroad too much, but you can read all about it in past posts.

  • Got a “real job” in the Spring, which made going through the Fall semester a lot more relaxing without that added stress. I’ll be moving to Charlotte, NC next year so Welcome To Adulthood, Cass!
  • Took the creative plunge and shared this blog with the world. Still amazed anyone cares to read it.
  • Went to see Cinderella in theaters four times this year (it really affected me, what can I say?) and the message is still stuck with me to promote to you now: Have courage and be kind.
  • Completed my undergraduate degree

W H A T ? ? ? Absolutely reeling from the fact that my college experience is over. Bittersweet doesn’t seem like a strong enough adjective to encompass the feeling of knowing that these past 4.5 years flew by and yet there are still so many years of adventure ahead of me.

  • Met wonderful, incredible people in wonderful, incredible places. Some at home, some abroad, all who made the biggest impact on me as a person. Thank you for making me lucky enough to call you a friend.

First – this exercise has made me realize how fortunate I am to have a dozen good things and only one bad. Granted, the one is worth more than the dozen all pooled together but still. In short, what a year.

Second – I found my big ticket, my focus! 2016 will be a year of showing people that I love them, be it new friends or old friends or family or strangers. Never feeling embarrassed or hesitating to say it to a best friend or a little cousin. Love is not allocated on a per group basis; it’s a different strand for every individual being out there. We feel it in lots of different ways, but how often do we communicate that?

A big example of one of those ways (which I like to stress a lot) is self-love. That concept is something I feel very privileged to have in my life. Not a day goes by where I don’t count myself lucky for being happy with the things I’ve done and the person I’ve become. This is not a sentiment meant to be gloating, but rather sanguine. And so my hope is for everyone else in the world to realize their own rarities and achieve that kind of happiness as well; to live lives so abundantly full of wonderful experiences. Anything I can do to help others feel happy and loved, that’s what I’ll resolve to do in 2016.

A friend sent me an article the other day that really contextualized the importance of time, or rather the importance of being aware of time. We don’t get enough of it, do we? Just another reason not to waste the opportunities to make a person feel that they’ve got someone out there rooting for them, proud of them, and loving them.

So congratulate yourself on all the things you overcame this year and pick your big ticket focus for the next one. If you want to stick with calling your mom once a week, I guess that’s okay too.

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