I’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 don’t want to lose sight of that.
#1. Australia + 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 doctor’s, I still went on my trip to Australia and New Zealand, and I’m so glad I did, because it’s a trip I’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 “hey let’s just meet at some random bar” (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.
#3. NYJL Winter Ball
This is always a highlight of my year. Black tie, open bar, friends and dancing — all for a good cause? Hell yes!
#4: Ragnar Tennessee
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 don’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 I’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 mom’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, I’d come out the other side so much stronger for it. I’ve learned how to trust that others will be there for me when I need them, I’ve learned who and what is important in life, and I’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 hadn’t been more poignant than that.
This trip and blog post ended up resulting in this article, but what I came to call my “griefcation” 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. I’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, I’m shocked this is a Thing I Can Do.)
Nashville planted the seed for solo travel, and I …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 I’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.
What were the highlights of your year?