2017: The Year in Review
I highly considered not writing a year in review post for 2017. I didn’t think it was a year worth remembering. Certainly, it wasn’t the best or easiest year of my life thus far. It was hard. Crazy hard. But, the struggles are worth remembering because I came out on the other side. Maybe with some proverbial bumps and bruises, but I survived. And, while it wasn’t easy, it could have been worse. More importantly, there were still bright moments in the midst of the pain.
Historically, I had a couple hundred old posts to look back on as I wrote reflection posts. But, I didn’t write as much in 2017 and deleted a lot of content as I transitioned to this new website. (I’m regretting that I also deleted all of my previous yearly recap posts, but that’s another issue.) Thankfully there’s Instagram and good old fashioned memory to pull from.
The Hardest Goodbye
Saying goodbye to my grandma in April was undoubtably the hardest thing about 2017, and perhaps my life thus far. She was like a second mom to me, such a significant influence throughout my entire life. Many of my most cherished moments, especially from my childhood, include her. As hard as it was saying goodbye, I am thankful for those 33+ years memories now more than ever. And, as surreal as it was to be the only person with her as she took her last breaths, I am forever honored and humbled for that experience.
While I didn’t realize it at the time, her death triggered a season of (admittedly self-diagnosed) anxiety and low-grade depression that weighed heavily on me throughout much of the year. It wasn’t until early fall that I recognized it, and even at that, it still took awhile before I could take steps to break out of that. I’m not saying that I feel 100% through it, but I’m getting there.
Through it all, I think I lost sight of myself. Over the last decade, I’ve been very driven and a huge goal-setter. This year, I felt directionless. Most days, I felt as though I wasn’t living, but more simply existing and trying to get through the day. I don’t know if this was because I was struggling with my mental health or if those struggles fueled my lack of ambition. More likely, one fed off the other. I’ve spent time the last couple weeks envisioning a better 2018. I’m so excited for the 365 days ahead. I felt like I was finding the old me but in reality, I’m finding a new (and hopefully better) me.
I am really proud of getting closer to my weight loss goals this year. Although I haven’t stepped on the scale for a couple weeks and don’t know exact numbers, I lost somewhere around 20 pounds, which puts me down 75 pounds overall. More importantly, my relationship with my body improved dramatically. Although I still would like to lose a little more weight, it’s no longer the priority. I focus on my strength, flexibility, and mobility. I don’t see my “thunder thighs” or big calves, but honor my legs for carrying me through so many races and simply the ability to move every day. My upper body strength allows me to do cool yoga poses like crow and do everyday tasks like carting around heavy containers of cat litter. While there is always room for improvement, I celebrate my body for what it is, not what I want to be.
In January, I did a Whole30 challenge that was, more importantly, the start of my transition to a vegan lifestyle. Already vegetarian, the program called for me to eliminate dairy, so I voluntarily added eggs to that mix. This was probably the best decision I made in 2017. While I’ve thought I was lactose intolerant for the last couple years, the vast improvement for my belly proved that to be true. (In reality, I don’t believe people are built to properly digest milk from other animals, but that’s another post for another day.) I believe that this switch was a significant part of my weight loss, and my migraines improved. I still get them, but they’re getting better.
In April, I took a road trip to Nashville with one of my childhood friends. We spent a couple days in Music City and ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Half Marathon. While in the city, we also ran the one mile race, saw Jake Owen and The Band Perry perform live, toured the Ryman Auditorium, and ate some really delicious food. Only a few weeks after losing my grandma, this trip was a much-needed escape from reality.
In May, I ran the River Bank Run 25k for the fifth time. While it wasn’t my best finishing time, it was the strongest I felt to date in this particular race.
I was supposed to run the Chicago Marathon this year, but my heart was not in it. Most days, simply running three or four miles felt monumental, and I couldn’t stick with training. I considered going and just doing what I could the day of, but I knew that wouldn’t end well and I deferred my entry to 2018. When the time came to register in November, I ultimately decided that the marathon distance just isn’t for me right now. Maybe I’ll tackle 26.2 again sometime, but for the foreseeable future, I’m sticking with shorter races.
It was a year of welcoming some new incredible friendships into my life, investing in some acquaintances that have unexpectedly become dear friends, and saying goodbye to some toxic forces. My inner circle changed dramatically and I am so thankful for the people closest to me. Whether they know it or not, this group of people carried me through the year.
I celebrated one of my nieces as she took on leadership as team captain of her high school basketball team and led them to the playoffs, and then as she graduated high school.
I saw two of my favorite bands – Jimmy Eat World and Queens of the Stone Age – perform live for the first time this year. Both shows were absolutely incredible.
I took a few trips to the beach although I never get there as much as I would like. Lake Michigan is practically in my backyard, only 45 minutes away, and I certainly take it from granted.
Overall, it wasn’t a year overflowing with amazing memories, but I think that was unintentionally self-imposed. It does make me that much more grateful for the good times. 2017 was far from my favorite year, but it showed me so much about life.