I debated writing an end of year post.  I have been in what feels like an endless sinking, felt myself fading so rapidly as the days drag forward, bringing me closer to 50 and what I imagined would be an overwhelming disappointment in who I have become.  But, then I stepped back, allowed myself to refocus, to see beyond the sadness that I write about so frequently, and breathe in the joy of my life, which I probably don’t write about often enough.

Like any year, this one has been challenging.  I have been through deep depressions and periods of grief.  There is a lot I have written about, and even more that I have kept inside.  But, even through these difficult times, I haven’t been alone.  Every day, I have the gift of my husband, who gives me an immense amount of strength and love, even in my craziest moments.  I don’t know how I got so lucky, but I am going to love him and hang onto him with every fiber of my being, for the rest of my days.  He is my safe landing.  My home.

I have also been given the gift of an amazing community of friends, teachers, mentors, and so many fellow writers who are constantly inspiring me.  I have been given new eyes, over and over again, shown that I have value when I believed I was empty and worthless.  I feel immensely honored and grateful every single day, even when the days have grown darker than I thought they ever could. I am reminded, with love and kindness, that it isn’t just me and my demons alone in the darkness.

And then there is the writing.  My writing year has been richer than I ever could have imagined.  My work has been published and shared and even awarded.  Due to the kindness of others, I have begun to believe that my voice has the capability of being strong and is sometimes even worth hearing.  Most importantly, I have been told that my words heal and help others feel connected and less alone.  As a writer,  that is the greatest gift I could possibly hope for.

I have built friendships this year that will last a lifetime, and strengthened bonds that I feared had been broken. Teachers and mentors have come into my life; creative influences who have already changed the shape and breadth of my writing and shown me roads I didn’t know existed. I have also burned bridges; some I am sorry to have burned and others I had to burn in order to step off the edge, to fall and to fly.

I end the year feeling grateful and loved, sad and even afraid, but not alone.  I know that 2019 will bring its share of challenges, but I step into this new chapter feeling thankful for the love I have been given and been able to give in return, for friends and family..and for the words that give me breath and a sense of feeling alive.  I go into the new year striving for balance, for creativity and the strength to continue to write and live as honestly as I can.

To anyone who may happen upon these words….Thank you for being a part of my story, and for allowing me into yours.  I am humbled, honored and grateful.  I hope that the new year will be rich with love, joy and an endless flow of creativity for everyone.