I typically don’t dislike whole years. To be honest, I don’t think much of them other than I love writing down resolutions (even though I don’t always follow them).
2016 was different. I’ve read the love and hate for this (now past) year and I want to say, “yes, I agree. With all of it.” I experienced the highest of highs with the birth of my baby boy and the lowest of lows with the loss of my mom. Instead of recapping the beauty and tragedy, here’s this. 16 lessons learned in 2016.
1. If people offer help, take it if you need it. There’s no shame in that. One day, maybe you can return the favor for someone else. But, in the meantime, let people love on you.
2. If you think you should call your mom or dad, do it. Don’t hesitate. Even if you only have 5 minutes.
3. Hug people for a couple seconds after you think about letting go.
4. Grief will try to swallow you whole but just recognize it for what it is: love. Lots of love that has to figure out a new path.
5. Trust your intuition, especially when it comes to your children or your own health. Medical professionals are smart, but sometimes your heart and gut are more powerful than knowledge.
6. Make peace where you can. Believe me, your heart will thank you.
7. Take pictures with people. Even if you look stupid, silly or gross. One day you will be so grateful you’ve captured a moment in time.
8. Save voicemails. I have one of my mom singing happy birthday and it’s honestly a treasure.
9. When someone asks “how are you?” It’s okay to be honest. In fact, you should be! Why the heck are we asking if we aren’t ready for a response!
10. Question people — doctors, nurses, teachers, bosses. Emotions may run high but try to be respectful and don’t let it stop you from getting your answers.
11. Be honest with those close to you. Tell them how you feel even when it isn’t pretty. They can help you find your way back, hold your hand or remind you that it’s going to be okay.
12. Babies are hard but most of it, even the most difficult moments, is just phases and you’ll get through it.
13. Wine is good.
14. Social media is a beautiful thing but can also be like a weight around your neck. Take frequent breaks. Maybe read a book or magazine instead from time to time.
15. Sometimes it all falls apart at the same time. It’s okay to be a trainwreck, a walking disaster, a hot mess. You’ll get through it. Somehow. I promise.
16. The person you love the most can get lost in the shuffle of life. They can even become your verbal punching bag after a hard day (or hard weeks), even though all you want to do is curl up next to them. Remind them and remind yourself how much they mean to you and let them love you through the tough stuff.