It's noon on December 31st. I've been thinking a lot about how I would write this post, about how I could write about 2016 and make it inspiring and wise and introspective. I thought about not writing this all, because I still tear up every time I really reflect on this last year. But despite all the heartbreak this year, there was a lot of laughing, smiling, and crying out of happiness too, and it's important to remind ourselves of the lessons learned during tough times.
When I look back on the year, the first words that come to mind are, "what the fuck?" Those words were repeated through sobs and tears too many times to count. 2016 was probably one of the hardest years I've been through. It was one of those years that make you ask, "how" and, "why" and make you search nonstop for the answers. 2016 made it hard for me to believe that the world wasn't spinning off it's axis. This year the world said goodbye to Brian Boyer, a man that was like a second dad to me, Greg Needell, a ski coach of mine, Murphy Roberts, a kid I ski raced with for years, and Sean Quigley, a kid I grew up with and went to school with from kindergarten on, along with others, like Fawn Cordasco, whom I didn't know well, but who touched the Flagstaff community deeply. These losses, some more than others, have been incredibly hard for me, and a lot of others, to accept. I think it's because all of these people were taken from us far too soon and at very young ages. And as if losing someone you love isn't hard enough, watching the aftermath of someones departure unfold in such an unfair way makes it even harder to deal with. Watching the good guys get beaten by the bad guys makes you question the plot of every single superhero movie that's ever been made. It's shaken my belief that good things happen to good people. Shaken, but not broken. Deep down the optimist in me lives and still believes that in the end, good wins every time, and that karma is a mean bitch when she needs to be.
Out of all of this loss, though, came a lot of love. Loss brings people together even closer. Loss makes us stronger, even when we feel our weakest. You never know how strong you are until you have to be. And I've seen a lot of that. And it refreshes my seemingly negative outlook on humanity. It reminds me that there are still a lot more good, loving, compassionate, fair people out there than mean, conniving, selfish people. It reminds me that it may seem like evil is winning, but evil will never really win, because evil has nothing tangible to hold on to, no friendships, and nothing abstract to hold on to, no love. And that is why evil will never truly win, because evil is miserable.
Loss has taught me that the small things really don't matter. It changes the prescription of your perspective glasses. You realize what really matters, and what to not get so worked up about.
Most importantly, loss has also reminded me, and so many others, to keep living. To keep doing what we love, to keep pursuing our dreams, to build strong, wonderful, enduring relationships and friendships, to look out for one another. Becuase the only things that makes the tough times easier are love, friends, family, and a life well-lived.
Of course, 2016 also brought a lot of excited and happy "What the fuck?!" moments too. Those were the moments where I was so happy, or excited, or absolutely amazed I couldn't find any other words to describe that moment. Some of those moments include:
I'm ready for 2016 to be over. This year was really hard. But the tough times make us appreciate the good days even more, and I plan on next year being full of really really good days. Skis, bikes, boats, adventure, love, laughter, friendship. Here's to the amazing journey ahead... And remember, we're not here for a long time, we're here for a good time. So have a good god damn time.
Writing is something I have always been passionate about. I love sharing my stories, my thoughts, my advice, but mostly, I write to record memories and express myself. So here are a few of my fondest memories, best and worst moments, my most profound and boisterous thoughts, and riskiest advice. Enjoy!