As I sit here on New Year’s Even writing this post, it occurs to me that 2016 was a year in which I had more opportunities than usual to spend time with family and old friends, which I am most appreciative for, but mostly that time spent in Ohio was due to my father passing away this year.
Such was life in 2016. There was good, there was bad, and somewhere in between, life just kept going. The only thing I could do was stay positive and enjoy the good as much as possible.
I know for many people, 2016 will be remembered for celebrity deaths, election nastiness, and other seemingly ugly events. That’s fair, but those are also things that are beyond me. I don’t control how the world goes, I can only control myself; my thoughts, my actions, how I treat people, etc.
So for me, yes 2016 is the year my father passed, and so many others around me suffered loss. It was also the year I got to go on some great adventures, traveling to new places, meeting new people, reconnecting with old friends, and growing personally and professionally. Looking back at New Year’s Day 2016, I can see relationships that have grown, people I either didn’t know at all, or barely knew, who I consider to be good friends, and even family, now. I’ve had opportunities to interact with people all over the world through my job. Those interactions have educated, and enriched, my mind in more ways than I probably even know. I’ve celebrated successes, cried over troubles, and laughed with some of the most awesome people on the planet this year. People who celebrate, cry and laugh with me when I need them too, and who inspire me to be a better man.
So, no matter what else might have happened in 2016, I’ll always be grateful for the people in my life, the awesome folks who’ve been part of it for years, and the fantastic people added into that life this year. That’s what I choose to focus on.
I will also always be grateful to all the folks who took the time to comment, or send a note to let me know that something I’ve written has touched them in some way. I’m grateful for everyone who read something here and chose to share it with their own circle of friends. I’m grateful to the ever-growing number of people who follow this little blog on Twitter or Facebook. I hope it helped you, or someone you know, this year. I hope it will continue to be something you want to read, and share.
Looking forward to 2017, I’m reminded of one simple truth. That I should do more of what I enjoyed about 2016. Granted, some of it is out of my control. I can’t really control where work sends me, but I can absolutely make sure that I spend more time interacting with the people I care about, and take inspiration from them. I can make sure I continue to grow those relationships, no matter where I happen to physically be. I can let those people know that they are not alone in good times or bad, that I am with them. I can continue to spend time on this little hobby of mine, sharing with whoever comes across this site. Letting them know that they aren’t alone, too.
In fact, let me throw this challenge out to all of my readers. No matter who is part of your life right now, what sort of things they are dealing with, whether they are dealing with depression, surviving abuse, addiction, or anything else, let’s make sure that they know they aren’t alone.
And if you’re feeling alone, and afraid, find someone to talk to. Tell them what’s happening, and seek out their support. I bet there are people all around you who want to help, if you’d only let them know.
It’s 2017. No one should be left to feel alone, or stigmatized. We’re all in this together.