Dear 2016: I Ain’t Mad At You
I have a confession to make.
At first, I was extremely disappointed in you. Sure, you gave us Hamilton, Pokémon Go, and a new Star Wars film, but, in the grand scheme of things, what looked to be a mutual friendship turned into a one sided affair. So, I must warn you, this letter might seem a bit harsh… at first. But, I promise you, it gets better.
To begin, let’s go back to the time we first met.
It was 11:59pm on December 31st and I was getting ready to celebrate your arrival. For weeks I had anticipated it. And then, it happened, the clock struck twelve. It was time to start anew.
From resolutions to personal improvements, there was so much to look forward to. You even convinced me that you would be better than your older brother: 2015. And, in case you didn’t know it, I really despised your brother. You, on the other hand, seemed different. Sure, we didn’t know each other just yet, but, I had a strong feeling about you.
So like every other year, I wasted no time and set my goals in motion.
I jumped on a new diet, started a new training program, and laid out my plan to become more productive. Oh, and I also started that business venture which I had put on the back burner for the past two years.
It seemed like we started off on the right foot. Which is why I didn’t understand why you’d had to go and screw it all up.
Now, I’m not just referring to my fitness goal, you know, the one that had taken a nosedive. I’ll get to that shortly.
What I am referring to are all the other events that have caused our relationship to wane. From the personal struggles that had befallen me, to the political circus that engulfed my country, and to all the people you had taken from my life. I thought you were going to be a smooth and stress free year. Well, I should have known better.
I mean, couldn’t you have given me a warning. Just two week in and you had already taken away one of the most influential people in my life. Yeah, I know, he wasn’t family or even a personal friend for that matter. But, he was an important figure in my life. In fact, his music taught me so much about myself; it helped me get through most of my young adult life. David Bowie was one of the few people that truly understood me.
And then, a few days later you snatch away Alan Rickman? I guess you had no idea that “Die Hard” was my favorite Christmas movie. But, whatever. I get it. It was out of your control, right?
On the bright side, by the time February had rolled in I had shed 5% of body fat and began to see the muscle delineation around my arms. For the first time in a long time I was actually liking what I saw in the mirror. Oh, and I’ve finally pulled out that dusty scale from under the bed; the numbers don’t scare me anymore.
“You know, maybe things will work out between us after all”, I thought to myself.
How could I have been so naive?
Just after three months my body fat percentage shot back up, I started to feel weak again and my motivation saw a huge drop.
What was happening? Nothing had changed. I kept on with the same program which I had been following for the past two months. Plus, I was eating the same. What gives? Seriously, 2016, what the heck was going on with me. At this rate I thought I would never get fit in time for summer.
I was having flashbacks of 2015 all over again. And it sucked.
But, you know what? We still hadn’t reached your midpoint yet; you still had nine more months to give. I had a strong feeling that things would turn around. They had to.
That’s when I jumped onto a new training program. Yeah, I know, I never finished the previous one, but with all the personal issues getting in the way, and not seeing the results I had expected, I had to jump ship. Plus, I also started that trendy new diet that everyone was talking about. You know, the one where all those people lost 30lbs in 30 days.
But, once again, I felt that you had let me down. Nothing seemed to work.
2016, I don’t think you understand me.
I mean, it’s not like I was asking for too much. I didn’t care about having a body builders composition. I didn’t care about having elite performance. All I wanted was to improve my physique and feel better about myself.
I was tired of having my belly hang over my belt, tired of never finding my size when going shopping for clothes and tired of seeing my slim friends remain slim year round meanwhile I’m sitting at home stressed and tired.
I didn’t think I was being unfair. Did you?
Unfortunately, by this point, I was ready to call it quits. Why should I have continued to put in the efforts and never get anything back in return. Every year it’s the same thing: I workout, I gain muscle, I lose it all. I start a diet, I get lean, I gain it all back.
2016, I couldn’t shake the feeling that you were just like all the others, but worse. Want to know why?
Just three months after you took Bowie, you take Prince away? And then…you went on a rampage.
Glenn Frey, Dave Mirra, Garry Shandling, Muhammad Ali, Anton Yelchin, Gene Wilder, George Michael, Carrie Fisher. And these are just to name a few.
You promised so much but instead you took so much away. I hope you could see why I was so disappointed in you.
But that was then, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it wasn’t your fault. In fact, I’m not mad at you.
One of my all time favorite quotes comes from The Fellowship of the Ring, when Gandalf tells Frodo “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”
Within these final days I realized that everything happened for a reason and that we are the forgers of our own destiny.
You see, each year that comes presents itself with new opportunities; a fresh canvas to paint on. It’s our job to paint the most magnificent painting. However, through the course of our work, imperfections will begin to show. It could be that a certain brush stroke doesn’t produce a desirable result. We should take this opportunity to improve on our mistake and continue to reach for our masterpiece.
For some, this can mean finding the right fitness coach that could get them their desired results. For others, a business mentor might help ease the struggles that they encounter while shooting for success. Or, maybe slowing things down and spending more time with friends and family could be your key to success.
It’s all in your hands. Make sure that you spend each year creating beautiful art.
So with that, I raise a toast to you.
May your younger sister 2017 follow in your footsteps.
All of us who strive for a better life
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