A Very Good Year . . .

Do you take a look back at year-end and take inventory of whether it’s been a good year or not? I do it twice a year actually – at my birthday in August and again near year end. Sometimes, it only takes a moment and there isn’t really much analysis to it; typically that is a year I’m anxious to put behind me. I am grateful that those are the exceptions rather than the norm.

A few years ago I saw something on Pinterest (or maybe Facebook) about starting a gratitude jar. The idea is that when something good happens, you write it down on a piece of paper and put it into the jar. At the end of the year, you take all those little papers out and review what went well. I think it was about 3 years ago that I started and 2013 was a really difficult year for me. But it helped to look back and realize that it had not been all bad. Because honestly, whoever has a year that is just completely awful from start to finish? Certainly not me. I am looking forward to emptying my jar later this evening and reviewing all the joys I’ve documented.

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This year has been one of the best in recent memory and I am so grateful for that! Right on top of my list is that it brought me back to motorcycling and a part of myself that I had pushed far away. I grew, I learned, laughed, fell down and sometimes I surprised myself. From sitting on a bike in a dealer’s showroom to doing my first rally (as a pillion), to making a ton of new friends, and buying my own bike, it was a whirlwind of a year. Along the way I scared myself and talked myself out of quitting during the new rider class. I surprised myself by taking a deep breath (or 10) and taking my bike out on the streets for the first time. I met incredible people who have welcomed me into the long distance riding family with open arms. I became an official member of the Iron Butt Association after my first attempt fell 3 miles short (heartbreak!). I have had the honor of connecting with new friends near and far via Facebook and I look forward to seeing many of them when the spring riding season really gets going.

This year has also been one of extreme contrast. When life was good, it was very, very good. But when things turned downward as they inevitably do, it was incredibly hard. I recall a few of these days in great detail. The day that I found out my dog’s cancer is back and is inoperable and then just hours later learned that a job offer that was “one signature from final” had fallen through. It felt like a double gut punch. Another day I got a phone call that filled me with fear. It went something like this: “Ms. Williams, I am sorry to inform you that we saw a mass on your ultrasound. You need to be scheduled for a biopsy right away.” Once again, the same old fear – what happens now? What does this mean?  Why me and why now?

As life has a way of doing, all of those situations turned out ok. My dog is doing fine for his age and the diagnosis is not quite as dire as originally feared. Another, even better job soon came along; I would have missed it had the previous opportunity worked out. I started my new job last week and I love it! The biopsy turned out to be unnecessary for now – someone misinterpreted an image and I am fine, as healthy as ever!

So yes, all in all I’m going to say that 2016 was a very good year for me. It wasn’t without its challenges, but what fun would life be if every day was sunshine and roses? I’m looking forward to starting my new jar for 2017 and see how fast I can fill it up!

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