2017 is quickly coming to an end and it has me reflecting on how much life has changed this year. This has been a year of transitions and new beginnings. Some of those transitions have been horribly painful while others have been truly great.
2017 was the year my marriage officially ended after separating near the middle of 2016. It was also the year I moved into a new apartment with my little boys and started a new chapter as a single, working mother.
This year has been exhausting, often trying, but we seem to be finally coming up for air. And I can honestly say I am so happy.
During a family vacation in August I completed my first ever 14’er with my brother, his wife and my mom. It was a truly incredible experience!
We started our climb early in the morning. The air was thick and at first we really struggled to breathe at the high altitude. I honestly wasn’t sure if we would be able to do it.
The ascent became even more difficult as we neared the top. The final stretch was very steep and covered in loose rocks and large boulders.
My legs were burning and my body was screaming at me to just give up; I had gone far enough.
But I didn’t give in. None of us did. And all four of us made it to the top.
The view from 14,265 feet was worth every single step. From the top we could see the mountains and the valleys below us.
Several of the hikers who had completed the climb along with us were in tears. It was a painful journey to the top, but getting there was the most incredible feeling.
Life has been a lot like climbing that 14,265 foot mountain. Sometimes each step forward is painful. You feel like you are making progress only to look up and see that you’ve hardly moved. It can be extremely frustrating.
But then just as suddenly as you began you realize that your journey has taken you to a beautiful place. That doesn’t mean it’s been easy or that everything is perfect, but you’ve still gone further than you ever expected to go.
Right now I’m working on embracing this new life. I’m still tired and often overwhelmed but I’m trying to make the choices that will make this life as beautiful as possible for my kids and I.
I’ve had to say no to a lot this year and I’ve let almost all of my extra activities go. The sacrifices have been hard and sometimes it feels like I’m missing out on a lot. But finding a new balance is not only healthy but completely necessary for my boys and I.
2017 certainly hasn’t been the easiest year of my life. But along with the struggles, this year has also brought me a lot of peace and so much joy. And as we head into a time of Thanksgiving next week my heart is full of love and gratitude. And that is a wonderful place to be.
The Olivia Caldwell Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit that raises money for pediatric cancer research in memory of Olivia Caldwell, who passed away from brain cancer at 20 months old in October 2013. To date we have given $225,000 to pediatric cancer research. You can learn more and donate by visiting www.oliviacaldwellfoundation.org.