Why you should be grateful if you had a shitty 2017

I didn’t plan on writing this post. I had something entirely different all typed up and ready to go. Then my friend Meg had to ruin everything and publish this post, making me cry over my keyboard and change my plans.

It also encouraged me to write this.

In terms of difficulty, 2017 was far from the hardest year of my life. I live in my favorite city in the world, I have a hazardous apartment that—unfortunately—I happen to love, I have a solid group of friends which continues to expand. Life is good.

Life being good does not make life easy, and this year was far from it. But as my friend Chris says, “Easy is boring. Easy gets you nowhere.” There are very few things in life that I am grateful for, where the road getting there wasn’t a total bitch. With the exception of the love from my parents and my brother—for which I did absolutely nothing to receive—the times that were a struggle, seemingly unachievable, or just plain hard are the things I will forever be thankful for.

And with that, here are the things I’m grateful for in 2017:

I am thankful I got fired in January.

Had I not been fired on January 27th, 2017, then I wouldn’t have gotten off work in time to be at DCA at 7PM on January 30th. I wouldn’t have been there to meet my friend Meg (who I mentioned at the start of this post) for the very first time, or move her into my apartment for an entire month.

Instead, I got to go all-in with photographing her cookbook, which may just be the coolest thing I’ve done in my career. I got to enjoy the creative process, take “days off” to play tourist and show her the city I love so much, and enjoy our evenings of brainstorming and talking life.

Meg, I am so glad I interviewed you four years ago (holy shit) and we kept in touch although we never met in “real life.” I will never thank you enough for asking me to be part of this awesome thing that we created—I cannot wait until April.

I am thankful I broke my foot in the fall of 2016.

Had I not broken my foot last year, I wouldn’t have been forced to take a break from running. If I hadn’t been so incredibly desperate to fill a void, I wouldn’t have tried out every last fitness studio within a one-mile radius of my apartment.

That search brought me to an empty storefront on 14th Street (all of fifty feet from my front door) where Chris and Alex Perrin where hosting a pop-up studio. I almost threw up that first workout, became instantly addicted, and slowly, very reluctantly, immersed myself in the team that is Cut Seven. I went from someone who HATED working out with others to someone who can’t live without it. I have met more amazing people in this city than in my past few years, combined. And the Perrins went from trainers to friends, clients, and coaches who made such a difference to so many of us.

Chris and Alex, Cut Seven is my second home. I cannot begin to thank you enough for bringing all of us together—people who never would have met had it not been for you. What you gave us is so much more than a workout.

I am thankful I dated complete assholes in the past.

Had I not dated less than amiable human beings, I wouldn’t have dedicated two years of my life (yes, two) to focusing on me, one hundred percent. I wouldn’t have understood that, as my friend Keena says, being alone is completely different than being lonely. And I wouldn’t have taken the time to figure out what I really want in a relationship.

After years of having a dating life that was literally non-existent, I found someone who is actually really great. He doesn’t play mind games or bring up fights that happened seven months ago. He doesn’t invent stories, jump to conclusions, or get angry over nothing. We go on real dates and go away on real trips, and I find it comical, yet totally not surprising, that it took me 28 years to have my first adult relationship.

Mike, thank you for being so irrationally calm even when it drives me insane. Thank you for making me laugh until it hurts and reminding me not to take life so seriously. And I promise I don’t just date you because of your dog.

I’m thankful that missing family never gets easier.

If I didn’t live in a different time zone than the three people I love most in this world, then being part of special moments probably wouldn’t be so…special.

Arguably the best moment of my year was flying back home to pick out my brother’s engagement ring for his girlfriend. A close second was the night they actually got engaged, being able to see her parents meet my parents, seeing how gushingly-happy Theresa was throughout the weekend and into Christmas, and seeing my dad who has rarely shown emotion since 1977, get sentimental.

Zeke, no one will ever convince me you aren’t the best big brother in the world. Thank you for always being the keeper of my secrets, and from October to December, trusting me to keep yours.

I am grateful for all the shitty moments, the times of getting completely fucked over, for the times that I failed and the times that were hard.

If things hadn’t played out exactly as they did, then I may have missed out on really great things in life. Shit that went down in 2014-2015, shit that I HATED at the time, got me to today, where everything is as it should be.

I’m thankful for shitty bosses who taught me how I don’t want to run my business. I’m thankful for projects so difficult and never-ending, it made me want to quit. I’m thankful for that fucking terrible burnout James made us do today at Cut Seven. I’m thankful for losing jobs that directed me to better ones, ending relationships that brought me to healthier ones, and going through tough shit years ago that made 2017 totally manageable.

I hope you are thankful for all the hard shit you went through this year, and that it pays off for you in the next.

1 Comment
  1. Kara, Every single time that I read one of your posts, I am blown away by your maturity, honesty and mind blowing use of putting your life into such eloquent words! They have a life of their own and always stay with me long after I have finished reading them! Keep being you and thank you for sharing! Love you girl!!

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You have flaws. You f-up on a daily basis. And that should be ok.