Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017!

Since we’re more than a full week into 2017, I thought I’d start this new year off on a positive note and blog about what 2016 was to me. These last few years haven’t been the easiest or the greatest for me, and I’ve had to go through a lot of pain, drama, and learning experiences to get to where I am today. As much as I regret a lot of choices I made, I can’t deny that they’ve all taught me something, in one way or another.

2016 was a life-changing, roller coaster of a year.

12 months ago, when 2016 was brand spankin’ new, I remember sitting on the couch in my friends’ apartment just after midnight on New Year’s Day. Everyone else was celebrating in the kitchen and I was watching the aftermath of the ball drop on TV by myself, quietly reflecting on how I had just survived living through the worst year of my life. 2015 was chock full of painful experiences— my mother’s passing, having someone take complete advantage of me and my vulnerability not too long after, unnecessary heartbreak, hitting rock bottom with my self-confidence, the list goes on and on.

People always said that when you hit rock bottom, there’s no where else to go but up. It was the only thing that got me through that year in one piece, knowing that at some point, it could only get better from there. And just before I got up to join my friends in the celebrations, I remember silently pleading for 2016 to be a better year for me than 2015 was. I had to believe it was going to be.

A couple weeks later, I had just finished writing out a few New Year’s resolutions (clearly late, but still 100% relevant). In the past, I’d always had the same few resolutions— to get healthy and lose weight, to be more confident, to accept and love myself more— which I inevitably always broke rather quickly. This time though, I was determined to stick to those resolutions.

Fast forward to today, a full year later from when I first wrote those down, and I can proudly say that I haven’t broken any of my resolutions from January. I’m currently down 45 lbs from where I started at the beginning of the year. My confidence level is leaps and bounds higher from where I began, all thanks to one of my best friends and her amazing pep talks, which always seems to come at precisely the right moment. With my confidence boosted, learning to accept and love myself for who I am came so much easier than it had before. I am a completely different person now than who I was back in January. With all those changes, I guess opened myself up to new opportunities and experiences that I wasn’t ready for before.

Every personal and professional milestone I hit in 2016 has meant so much to me. I’m so thankful for all of my Chicago blogger babes that I’ve met, collaborated with, and fostered supportive friendships with, who encourage me to keep doing what I’m doing on here. I’m thankful for all of my readers and my followers on social media for keeping up with me and giving me the opportunities I’ve gotten through this blog. For the people that have come into my life— even if only for a brief, fleeting moment— and enriched it with their friendship, I’m a better person and friend because of you. I’m even more thankful that I was able to let go of people that didn’t deserve a place in my life anymore. I’m thankful for every pound I lost and every ounce of confidence that I gained.

Most importantly, I’m thankful for everything 2016 has been to me— the ups and the downs, the highs and the lows, the joy and the sadness…it’s all been worth it. I can’t wait to see what 2017 has to throw at me.