When 2016 began, I had no big plans for the year, no real expectations. For once in my life, I was open to anything and everything. And as the year progressed, I got anything AND everything.
Over the past year, I've made a lot of great new personal connections, and moved on from other ones. It was filled with professional advancements that were rewarding, but also at times more demanding and challenging than I ever expected. I became more comfortable with asking for help when I needed it, and finally learned to stop blocking my blessings. It was a year of growth, and it wasn't always pretty.
As I step into 2017, I want to focus more on these two themes: joy and courage.
Happiness is a fleeting emotion that will come and go quicker than a cold front in south Louisiana. But joy... joy is a state of being, rooted in gratitude and contentment. I know that if I continue to count my blessings, and give my best to the things and people who deserve it, I can live a joyful life. I recently heard someone declare that joy is non-negotiable, and that's precisely the attitude I'm taking with me into this year.
And to be honest, it took a bit of courage for me just to admit to myself (and the interwebs) that I wanted to live more courageously. When I played Truth or Dare as a child, I always chose truth. But I know for sure that we don't move forward in our lives or our relationships with others without having the courage to step outside of our comfort zones and take action towards what we really want and need. Growth doesn't have to be painful, but it does take an extraordinary amount of courage to admit that we are ready and willing to grow, and to take the next steps to get to where we want to be.
So here's to a joyful and courageous 2017. May we all have our best year yet.