2016 (n.) 1. A year taking place two thousand and sixteen years after the year of our lord 2. A year filled with cognitive dissonance
I don't know how to better describe 2016. For many, myself included, it is a year I can't wait to see finally end. On a national and international stage, the year was filled with heartbreak and unbelievable events. So many musicians, actors, and influential people passed. The world seemed to be succumbing to terrorism and we watched Syria sink further into chaos. We also watched the 2016 Presidential Election wondering if the two major parties had truly nominated the best of ourselves. Almost weekly, we didn't have debates over policy, but instead over character. We saw the rise of the alt-right, which I won't normalize here and instead refer to as the racist and xenophobic wing of the Republican party. Still, more people needlessly died in mass shootings and at the hands of law enforcement. If one was looking for hope, they had to look elsewhere beyond 2016.
I was forced to turn inward. Through the lens of introspection, my 2016 was a great one. Instead of going through a litany of events that made this year grand, I would rather focus on something I learned this year.
This life is beyond belief when you allow yourself to love and be loved.
This is a lesson I should have learned a long time ago. It would have saved me a lot of heartache and trouble, but I am a firm believer in learning life lessons when we need them the most. My 2016 was wholly focused on learning to let someone in, being honest with my emotions, and learning to build a life with someone that matters. I went the better part of a decade being selfish. I was concerned with my well-being first. This allowed me to focus on my career, move across the country, and learn to be my most true self. There is a time and place for everything and my selfishness had a time and a place, but I soon found myself wanting more. "The whole of human experiences is meant to be shared." I longed to give of myself to someone else. I wanted to build a life together and focus on shared ideals. In the midst of a two-year relationship, I have discovered exactly that. In 2016, it became a reality and something I plan on dedicating the rest of my life to this journey.
In 2016, I learned to love. I also learned to allow myself to be loved. In 2016, I learned I was worthy of love, but I also discovered I am pretty great at giving it away. It is now my solemn hope that those who choose to surround themselves with me feel love, happiness, understanding, focus, and a passion radiating from without. If I continue committing myself to this pursuit, I am positive I can withstand any reality delivered to me from the outside world.
So, here is to 2017. The world set a pretty low bar for you. It won't take much for you to succeed. If for some reason you decide to follow in your brother's footsteps, I will be ready. In fact, we all will as long as we stay focused on the things the truley matter; giving love wherever we go.
Be good to each other,