I assume that at the end of December, everyone considers all the things that did or didn’t happen in the outgoing year, whether it’s the things they accomplished or the things they let go and whether it’s the plans they made that fell through, or the goals they reached. There are things that are positive on both sides and negatives depending on how you look at it.
- I ran countless 5k and 10k races.
- I ran six half-marathons this year.
- I ran my first marathon.
- I took a month off from running.
Travel (I had some amazing vacations in 2017):
- Yellowknife with a friend
- San Diego with my husband
- Anaheim with my sister
- B.C. with my family
- Anaheim with some friends
- I also turned down an opportunity to travel because it didn’t feel right.
- I finally watched the Star Wars movies.
- I went to an outdoor football game where it snow-rained and I stayed the whole time.
- With my husband, I hosted a dinner party for 8 people.
- I made some amazing new friends.
- I earned a promotion at work.
- I started a blog.
- I spoke at a conference and shared my experiences with epilepsy.
- I got a tattoo.
- I got a pet.
- I turned the spare room of my house that wasn’t being used into my closet.
- I got “tipsy” and used social media to ask an actor that I really like out for coffee (it didn’t work).
I learned a lot too. I learned its okay to be vulnerable. I learned how to embrace the things that might make things for me more challenging and how to work with them. I learned how to goal set and that with focus and dedication, I can do something new. I learned that I am not alone with my medical condition. I learned how important kindness actually is. I am working on proper stress management that doesn’t involve a bottle of pinot noir (although maybe a glass). I learned its okay to disagree with people and it doesn’t have to be a conflict. I learned that “these are not the droids you are looking for”.
I still don’t know how to cook. I still haven’t run an ultra-marathon or done a triathlon. I haven’t travelled to a lot of countries yet. I didn’t reach my goal of running 1000 kilometres in 2017. I didn’t finish the pile of books that is about to break my bedside table, but I’m about halfway through. I still have a solid coffee addiction. I don’t know if changing any of those will make it onto my “New Year’s Resolution” list. It doesn’t matter. Whether changing them are things I accomplish in 2018 or if these are things I never do, I can look at 2017 and know that it was a successful year, whether or not I ran 1000 kilometres or made pancakes. And whatever the next 12 months bring will make that a successful year. My years are not in competition with each other.
When I first started writing this entry, I had been thinking “How will I ever make 2018 as good as 2017!?!” but I quickly realized that each year brings us different adventures and challenges. Could I say that 2017 was the best year ever? I would have to exclude then 2016, the year that I ran my first half-marathon and got married to an absolutely amazing and supportive fellow. I would have to exclude then 2015, the year that I got the job that I have, which I love and went to Maui for the first time. I would have to exclude then 2014, the year that absolutely amazing and supportive fellow that I married proposed. All of those years have different experiences and they are not comparable. If I focused only on running: even if I choose to do the exact same races in 2018 as I did in 2017, there would be different weather conditions. I would have different training. I would have a different result. Looking back and thinking “2017 was the best year of my life” only sets 2018 up for failure. At the same time, thinking “2018 will be the best year of my life” only sets an expectation of extreme success. Build each day independently. Reflect on previous years, look forward to future years, but just build each day on its own, and give yourself the respect that you need for each day. Sometimes that’s challenging ourselves. Some days that’s recovering from ourselves.
Apart from the things that I did and learned, there are also things I let go, especially one very important one: I let go of my negative associations to my medical condition. This took 18 years to get to this point. While I’ve always had support from my friends and family, this was a place that I had to get to on my own. I can’t say that I’m thrilled about the condition, but I’ve really truly realized that this is the hand I’ve been dealt. This is my reality. This is my life. This is the world I have, but the world I live in has to be built by me. Whether my world is one of fear or fearlessness, whether it is comfort or challenge, whether it is security or adventure, it will still be a journey. The difference is whether that journey will be something that I suffer through, or whether the journey itself will be a reward. When I am slowed down by a seizure, I know that (after taking proper time to recover) I can get up and keep going or start again. I run, and when I run, I know that I am strong.
I don’t know what 2018 will bring, but I am ready for it!