Mile Markers: Stopping to Reflect on 2016

I started out 2016 with a broken heart. And I'm talking proper heartbreak in the all-consuming, old-fashioned sense. The type that leaves mascara smeared all over your cheeks. The type that has you justifying listening to Bonnie Raitt. The type that causes you to uncontrollably sob on a stranger's shoulder in the middle of the subway. The type that crushes all your preconceived notions, hopes and plans. 

The type that clears you out for something new and incredible to come in. 

And that is just what happened. 

This year has certainly not gone according to the plan I had in mind. But it was so much more than anything I could have ever asked for / dreamed of. 2016 is an incredible reminder of just how perfectly life unfolds when you let go of control and your expectations of what should be, and start to look up and appreciate life for what it is (which is nothing short of amazing).

I look back at 2016 forever changed, humbled, surprised and, most of all, in awe of the human experience and the places it brings you. In 365 days, I have:

  • Listened to 63,588 minutes of music (the equivalent of 44 days)
  • Ran 1,200 miles through the streets of New York City
  • Celebrated my 23rd birthday at Six Flags with my endlessly wonderful roommate, Lou
  • Crossed off more than 95 books and 35 must-see concerts from the bucket list
  • Completed my first Tough Mudder / Half Marathon / Marathon
  • Stumbled through the streets of New Orleans' French Quarter
  • Landed + started one of my dream jobs at Discovery Communications
  • Got stuck on a boat in the middle of Ossipee Lake during a torrential downpour
  • Attended and danced for 6+ hours at my beautiful cousin Laura's wedding in NH
  • Visited / ran on the beaches of Wildwood, NJ for the first time 
  • Crossed my one-year anniversary of living in Astoria / with the two best guys I know
  • Witnessed the NYC Halloween parade with my amazing coworkers
  • Watched a pumpkin fly 4,000+ feet across a field on the fairgrounds of Punkin' Chunkin'
  • Stood 4+ hours at Rockefeller Plaza in the freezing cold with Deana to catch Kings of Leon
  • Experienced a lifetime's worth of trauma, embarrassing dates and unforgettable first kisses during my first year on Tinder
  • Saw the Northern Lights and sunk into the hot springs of Iceland
  • And just fell in love over and over again with this world...

So, I say to myself, "Relax. You're doing just fine. You're doing great, actually. And you are exactly where you are supposed to be."

I may not have it all figured out, but moving forward, I will honor the path I walk on knowing now that I am the captain of my own journey and fully prepared for all that is to come. I am not lost...Just exploring the endless possibilities of this world. 

Here are some intentions I have for my new year as I continue this wild journey called life: 

1. Love and Let Go

This is an ongoing lesson for me. It's hard to love so deeply without clinging. But true love only exists in freedom. And so, my aim is to stay connected without tethering. 

2. Process Over Outcomes

It's a cliche to say this, but it's not about the destination – it's the journey. The rewards are inherent in the process, not the result. When you are less concerned with how things will play out, you can focus on the now. 

3. Cut Loose

Life is too short to not be doing what you love. I want to cut loose the people and obligations that deplete me rather than inspire and energize me.

4. Accept and Allow

Accept myself, accept others and accept my circumstances just the way you are. I can change anything, but I have to accept where I am first. Allow people to be themselves and allow things to unfold naturally. Allow myself to feel all my feelings, and then let them go. When I switch my focus from trying to control or find a solution, I can be more present and peaceful in the now. 

5. Heart Over Head

I have spent so much of my life overthinking everything. This can make me weary and wary. We don't have to believe everything we think. I got some very simple and wise advice this summer: get out of your head and trust your heart. 

6. Go Deep

There are always going to be waves on the surface. Instead of trying to float or change the tides, the wisest thing to do is dive deeper. When I cultivate a place within myself, deep beneath circumstances where the current is barely detectable, I have immediate access to peace and steadiness at my core. 

7. All In

Whatever I choose to do or pursue, whomever I choose to love – I want to do it with a whole heart, all in. When I view my life through a lens of abundance, I can open my heart wider every day without fear of giving myself away or running dry. There is always more.