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Good-bye 2023…

Sunset on the beach with beautiful clouds
Photo Credit Unsplash Creator: V2osk

As I sit here on almost the last day of the year, finally finding a moment to take a breath and reflect on this year, I am overwhelmed with feelings. It's been productive, with many lessons learned, yet it was harsh because it took some dire circumstances to learn those lessons. I feel pride, but I also feel beat down, exhausted, triumphant, sad, frustrated, elated, and, if I'm honest, terrified. And I know I'm not the only one. Every year since the pandemic happened has led to this year, and it's been a difficult transition for many people. This year's challenges have been a topic of conversation over and over again over the last several months.

And yet, I still can't hate it. The challenges have brought me closer to my goals and helped me become the person I want to be. I have fewer excuses than I did at the beginning of the year and more knowledge; I even have old friends who have returned to my life to become new friends again. In so many ways, the pain, the struggle, the fights, they were all worth it.

New Year's Eve 2011 was the last year I exclaimed, "Thank goodness this horrible year is over!" Two months later began, one of the worst years of my entire life. I got very sick and lost so many people, and in the middle of all of that, so many changes took place, whether I was ready or not. It took all of that to realize that I was being ungrateful, and while showing gratitude didn't take away all of my challenges, it certainly did change my life.

Today, I look back with gratitude, thankful for the lessons, choosing the bad habits I am leaving behind, and appreciating the gifts this year gave me. Tomorrow, I'm ending and beginning the year hard at work, setting the tone for a productive year. I invite you all to join me! In a world that is getting scarier by the minute, we all need to motivate ourselves to rise above it properly, or we won't make it. Life isn't hard because we did something wrong; life is problematic because it's life! It wasn't meant to be easy. That's why we have to work hard to be successful. That is why there are no shortcuts, and nothing comes easily. We need to stop struggling and work smart, not hard.

I am most grateful to all the people I have helped and those who have helped me. This past year has been challenging, it's true, and sometimes you really have to look very hard to see the blessings, but they are there. Hidden gems of wisdom that help you put yourself back together again. Take the time to reflect, and you will see them like something shiny in the sand.

I wish you all a safe and happy New Year, my friends! Here's to new adventures in 2024!

See you next year!

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