The Lesson 2016 Taught Me

I wanted my first post on A Modern Hippie to mean something. I wanted to write a thoughtful piece that would inspire thought and set the tone for what I want this blog to be. I think I found my inspiration and I hope it inspires you too.

2016 was dubbed the year from hell by many and my personal 2016 experience ran along the same vein. I experienced loss, difficult change, failure, and health struggles in frustratingly sequential order. I spent the majority of 2016 in an intentional haze trying my best to push back every emotion and push forward in the process. I usually try to find some kind of lesson in things that hurt, but in 2016 I just couldn’t bring myself to do so.

As I lounged on the couch with my boyfriend and our kitten the first day of the new year, a realization hit me like a ton of 2016-shaped bricks. In pushing back every emotion, I had also forgotten to cherish the small positive moments. I began to acknowledge the finite nature of everything in life, how much of it I had missed by sitting in my intentional haze. I began to focus on the feeling of sitting with my boyfriend and my kitten. The next few days, small happy moments stood out to me and grew in significance. A kiss before leaving the house for work, a good laugh with a coworker, a cool breeze on a run. There is beauty to be found in everyday moments, a beauty so significant that it makes life worth living. The value of the beauty stemming from existing in the present moment is the lesson that 2016 taught me.

I think of losing my childhood pet, my dog Bubba. As unrealistic as it sounds, I always assumed he would be there and never confronted the idea that his existence in my life was finite. I think back and wish I would’ve taken more pictures, committed more moments to memory, spent more time present. Now, memories and pictures are all I have. I remember the haze that surrounded me during hikes through beautiful mountains, blinding me to quality time in nature and with my boyfriend. I remember conversations with good friends I wish I was more present in. I am confronted with the awareness that everything that happens can never be experienced the same way again.

There is no shame in appreciating what you have and prioritizing your time to allow for presence. Perhaps if I had been more present in my frustrations in 2016 I could’ve learned my lesson sooner.

I also learned that it’s not too late to begin presence, to begin cherishing what fulfills you in life. Start today, start now. Remember the finite nature of life as you respond to painful situations. Hold the moments and the people you love dear. Dedicate time to who and what you cherish. There’s nothing worse to look back with regret. That’s the lesson 2016 taught me.

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