Iâ€™ve written ad nauseam about how hard 2017 was for me (and I will likely continue to write about grief in 2018, though I hope it feels less painful then.) But you know what, in spite of all that, I actually had some awesome highlights, and I donâ€™t want to lose sight of that.
#1. AustraliaÂ + New Zealand
Right from the start of 2017, it was about looking for light amidst the dark. My mom had a major emergency surgery in late December last year, and she came home only four days before I was scheduled to leave for Australia. But with her blessing and her doctorâ€™s, I still went on my trip to Australia and New Zealand, and Iâ€™m so glad I did, because itâ€™s a trip Iâ€™ll never forget.
Once I came back from Australia, my mom continued to get more sick instead of better. I wanted to do something totally different and silly for my birthday rather than â€œhey letâ€™s just meet at some random barâ€ (though I also did that the night before, which was perfect), so I went to Foxwoods Casino to see one of my fave comedians, Iliza Shlesinger. YOU GUYS, the people watching there was amazing.Â
#3. NYJL Winter Ball
This is always a highlight of my year. Black tie, open bar, friends and dancing â€” all for a good cause? Hell yes!
I got the opportunity to run Ragnar Tennessee with Reebok, and I had SUCH A GOOD TIME. I am fully that weirdo who thinks sleeping in a van overnight with a bunch of people you donâ€™t know super well and running 3 times in ~24 hours is fun, so this trip made me so, so happy. I knew I wanted to potentially do some solo travel this year, so I dipped my toes into that water by staying an extra night in Nashville and exploring solo. My vanmates and I had a lot of deep, soul-searching kind of conversations that I will never forget and which planted seeds for where Iâ€™m heading professionally.
I know this seems like a really weird highlight to include here, but it is a night I will never forget for the rest of *my* life. I knew we were incredibly near the end of my momâ€™s life, but I had no way to know it was her *last* night on this earth. The theme of the rest of my year became looking for the light in the darkness. But even just before I lost the person who taught me to love, laugh and be myself, I somehow knew that despite that heartache, Iâ€™d come out the other side so much stronger for it. Iâ€™ve learned how to trust that others will be there for me when I need them, Iâ€™ve learned who and what is important in life, and Iâ€™ve learned how to really take care of myself (on both a surface and a deeper level.) And also, it was just plain fun to twirl around in the sand with my girlfriends, even if it hadnâ€™t been more poignant than that.
This trip and blog post ended up resulting in this article, but what I came to call my â€œgriefcationâ€ was another powerful experience for me. I laughed, I cried, I went in with an open mind (and came back with a handful of crystals and a hippie candle). I fell in love with LA in a way I never had before. Iâ€™m not done with the city of Angels…
#7 NYC Marathon
I was so nervous about running the NYC Marathon without my mama cheering me on, but I am so lucky to have amazing friends who were by my side yet again (one of them for the entire 4 hours and 49 minutes) as I showed 2017 that it could take a whole lot from me, but not my love of running, and one of my favorite days and proudest accomplishments. (Still, seven marathons later, Iâ€™m shocked this is a Thing I Can Do.)
Nashville planted the seed for solo travel, and I â€¦realized I knew nothing about farming when I tried to figure out how to continue that metaphor. Ireland was where I dove into getting comfortable with me, myself and I. And driving on the other side of the road, alone. I leaned into joy, I leaned into grief, I leaned into truly listening to my own wants and needs. Sometimes that meant lying around for hours and not beating myself up that I should be seeing! all! the! things. Sometimes that meant going back to the same place again (hello, Cliffs of Moher) because a sunny day and a rainy day are totally different experiences.
This is something Iâ€™ve been doing since 2010, and it meant a lot to me to continue the tradition this year, even if I scaled it way, way back.Â
What were the highlights of your year?