A year ago, I was sitting on the rug in our living room doing yoga. Our Christmas tree was decorated and I was giddy and nervous. It was the eve before December 7th, and I just knew everything about my entire life was about to change. Everything I did from the end of October through New Year’s was done with added attention. I didn’t fail to let a moment slip me by because I knew, by this time a year later, everything was going to be different.

2016 was a roller coaster. I’ve seen the top of the ride, and I’ve plummeted to the very bottom. I’ve felt comfort, anxiety, confidence, and sadness. I said goodbye to a lot of friendly faces, and I’ve met dozens more. I had good health. I experienced pain. I fought with my husband and fell in love with him all over again a hundred or more times. I lost loved ones, but I gained more. I mourned more than I anticipated, but I celebrated more than I grieved. I have both questioned my faith and fallen deeper into it. 2016 was a roller coaster, and I think I’ve only just begun the ride.

If you’d have asked me last year while I was sitting on the floor in my yoga pose, I would not have told you that I’d be sitting in this chair, in this room, in this house, in this city. I wouldn’t have been able to predict the stack of books and binders full of papers and lecture notes nestled beside the iPad that lights up when one of the friendly people I met at a school in Kentucky sends me a message. And while I’m still working on it, I’d have balked if someone told me the amount of work I would go on to create in a little over two weeks. But most of all, I am positive that I would not have been able to foresee the feelings I have right now in this very moment.

I have learned so much in 2016. Not just of the world and the people in it, but of myself. I have been challenged. I have been determined. I am still hopeful. Some days more than others, but the hope never leaves. I’m not going to try and guess what 2017 is going to be like, because I know I’ll never be able to anticipate the thrills of the ride, even if I can see all the loops and climbs and spins. I have to get on. I have to let it take me where I’m supposed to go.

It is December 6th and I am in my living room again. My tree is decorated and I am giddy and nervous, because even though I am not where I thought I’d be a year ago today, it’s all worked out in the end. I am not the same, and everything is  different.


– S.A. Dees