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Facebook gave everyone a cute little video recently, showing their “year in review”, as it were. I found it kind of interesting that, despite the logarithms they probably used to pull these different memories, the “new friendships” it showed me that I formed in 2017 were all with other writers.

Here too, at WordPress, I have begun forming friendships with other writers and artists over the last several months. 

I have found, as I reflect over 2017, that my year has been tremendously impacted by these connections. Sometimes, I’ve sought them out. Other times, they have found me. Either way, I feel like my support system has grown in very important ways.

Because I’ve come to grips with two realizations this year about myself: I am an artist and I am an empath. My soul needs to create and my intuition is real. 

In other words, it’s okay for me to call myself a writer and I’m not as crazy as I used to think I was – I’m just…..me. 

I have found, through artistic mediums mostly, a network of other people like me. People I can relate to and vice versa. And that is priceless. 

It’s not that my friendships or connections with other people have always been shallow up until this year. Quite the contrary! I have just….found more of my people. I can recognize it in their art, their speech, their humor. It’s…..comforting.

I feel less alone. 

Because I have found that I can be surrounded by people and feel all by myself. Until I started seeing things in other people that made me realize I wasn’t. 

I was not, in fact, “too sensitive”, “too emotional”, or “intense”. 

I’ve been in a place of self-doubt and insecurity. Off and on. My entire life. Until I began to understand myself, my strengths, and heal some past wounds.

What has resulted, even though it’s an ongoing process, is someone that is much more autonomous. Someone who is much happier because she knows herself.

I’m starting to get some clarity about the reasons behind my most frequent causes of frustration. 

I take more time to process these days, instead of immediately reacting.

It’s not about just reacting or not, it’s about when and how.

I take time, in general, for me. Something I’ve not really done before, not like I have this year.

I’ve reached some new levels in relationships. I’m closer to some people. Not as close to others. Sometimes making purposeful withdrawals because I know my limits and I recognize most emotional leeches when I see them now. 

Most New Years Resolutions seem to center around self, and improving it. Often it is physical transformation that people are working toward.

I’ve done a little of that too. But I’ve prioritized mental and emotional over physical. And it was the right choice for 2017.

There are some major things ahead in the coming year. My child will become a high school freshman, get a driving permit. I have nieces and nephews starting senior year while others are moving on to college. 

There will be change. That’s the one thing that stays the same. 

But, if I haven’t accomplished anything else this year, I did the best thing I could have done; I’ve shored up my foundation.

I’ve eliminated some things that made it wobbly. I’ve added some support. And I’ve found some ways to start practicing the ever-elusive art of balance. The struggle between letting life happen and being an active participant in it. I’ve been doing a lot more of one or the other, as the situation prescribed. Being flexible to what I needed to do. Stopped fighting other people’s fights and concerning myself with my own. 

I stepped away from the familiar and embraced the open road, taking several little day trips and short getaways with people I love.

I started my book club. Simply put, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.

I stood up for myself in little and big ways. Persisted.

I wrote some things that I’m HELLA proud of. Things that were HARD. Things that scared me to not only try and address, but to share publicly.

I took some time for ME. Not just a manicure here and there. No. A full day of just spending time with myself and getting some solitude.

That cute little Facebook video gave the tiniest snapshot of all that 2017 has been for me. By the end of a year, I typically feel depleted. Just ready to turn a page and try again. But 2017 was a transformative year. And I feel like it gave me so much. I don’t feel depleted at all. 

I feel renewed. Accomplished. Satisfied.

My plan is to start 2018 the way I’m closing 2017: determined, thankful, hopeful, and with open hands.