2017, YOU SUCKED. BUT THANK YOU.

Six months ago, I had the perfect job. I was finally doing something with my design degree, got paid pretty well and I was lucky enough to work from home. I was in a serious relationship with a man whom I thought I was going to marry. I had a best friend whom I loved from the night I met her. Life was good. Not perfect, but my heart was light and my Facebook memes were funny.

Five months ago, the kids and I hit the road for 4,000 long miles. We breathed new air, experienced amazing things, laughed a lot and cried a lot. A beautiful stranger named Lani befriended me at a campsite in Wyoming at the exact moment I was about to have a complete meltdown and for whatever reason, I think about her all the time. We learned a lot on that trip.

Four months ago, I was lucky to feed the relentless appetite of my wanderlust and traveled to Europe. Good times with good people feed the soul, indeed. I was free. I was happy.

Then, with a blink of an eye, my life changed. I lost my boyfriend, my job and my best friend, all at the exact same time. Of course juicy details exist, but I suppose they don't matter anymore. It was all gone. Everything in my life outside of my children, dissipated in an instant.

Three months ago, I sat here sobbing; burying my face in a snot-covered pillow so the kids wouldn't hear me from the next room. I sat here still paralyzed; unable to move forward in every single aspect of life. I began to realize everything else that was taken from me. My independence. Confidence. Trust in mankind. My whole-hearted belief that love is real....it was all gone. It was just me and my pity pot. That's where I was. The queen of self-loathing and people loathing, unemployed, lonely and without two dimes to rub together. A couple of good people tried to make their way into my life; to no avail, of course. Because who needs love when you're too busy hating the world and everyone in it. I missed my man. I missed my best friend. I missed my life.

Two months ago, I was still franticly looking for a job. Finding something that accommodates single parenting and pays enough to cover the bills is very hard to come by. I was running out of personal possessions to sell to make ends meet and the bills kept piling up. But somehow the painful, soggy tears that were just another part of my daily routine somehow started to slow down.

One month ago, I woke up different. I woke up feeling gross. I felt gross from how comfortable I became with how shitty my life had been. All the inspirational quotes saved to my phone started popping up in my eyes, the theme song from Rocky started playing in my ears and a glimpse of the old Lindsey starting flashing up in my soul. And finally, I didn't recognize that ugly, defeated, hopeless woman staring back at me in the mirror. I decided that I didn't want to feel shitty anymore. I decided that I wasn't a victim of circumstance any longer and I was the only person alive holding me back from moving on with my life and moving towards happiness.

The universe has a funny way of slipping you messages disguised as people and adversities. For months, I gripped tight to all the hurt and anger from the people who wronged me. I was too wrapped up in sorrow to notice that it all actually did happen for a reason. I needed to learn so much. I needed to learn that if someone loves you enough, lies and rumors couldn't change that. I needed to learn that you can't control someone else's loyalty, no matter how loyal you may be to them. I needed to learn that a friend who doesn't defend your name in your absence isn't actually a real friend after all. I needed to be reminded that in order for a wound to heal, you must stop touching it. The universe took it upon itself to ungraciously eliminate so many things for me in 2017 and I just couldn't seem to figure out why. But I finally get it. The bullshit was weeded out so there could be plenty of room for goodness to grow.

2017, you sucked. But thank you. Thank for the life lessons I so desperately needed. Thank you for reminding me that no matter which direction the wind blows, all I need to do is adjust my sails so that I won't be knocked over. Thank you for the days that you forced me to get through, even if I barely survived some of them. Thank you for the 365 days I spent as the mom of three, wonderful creatures. And thank you for making me ready for anything 2018 might be throwing my way.

"There is nothing more powerful or radical or stunningly beautiful than a woman who chooses to rebuild her life day after day. No matter how many pieces there are to pick up or how many mistakes she must spin into gold." ~Carol Alwill Leyba

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