Reflections on 2016: Wake Up Screaming

The old year is now well in its grave and the world turns into 2017. Almost a week removed from last year, I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on 2016 and consider how it went.

I’ll review the year as it happened to me personally. Most people seem to have a dour view upon reflection, but 2016 was good to me. Yes, it had its low moments and times of doubt and darkness like any other year. Yet compared to how I felt when leaving 2015, I’m sad to see the old year pass (compared to my relief at leaving 2015!). So what made the year good?

What helped is I entered the year with renewed drive. As 2015 bowed out, I felt like I was going nowhere, missing out on experiences. I related to the sentiment of House of Heroes’ song, “Wake Up Screaming“, and resolved to stretch myself in the new year. I didn’t want to awake 10 years from now regretting inactivity or missed opportunity. I was determined to make the most of 2016.

Pushing myself to be more adventuresome, though, didn’t mean jumping out of a plane or wrestling bears in the mountains. I tried to say yes to whatever experiences came up. Some of these were necessary, like having my wisdom teeth removed (which was a trial worth its own post). Some were not necessary, but entertaining, like seeing various bands and artists in unique venues (outdoor theatres, fancy music halls, etc.). Some were unexpected, like starting a writers’ club. One in particular was exciting: finding out we’re expecting our first child (more on that to come, I assure you)!

Last year also saw doors open in writing with Seasons So Far finally getting published, having a short story posted on a Western website, and an opportunity to grow myself through creators.co. I was also able to consistently update this blog nearly every weekend (something I hadn’t done before!). Musically, I feel like I’ve grown in tuning my voice and in songwriting, and I’ve had some opportunities to hone my singing skills before the mostly deaf denizens of the local nursing home. My wife and I grew closer together and enjoyed our small adventures together (and look forward to the small adventure coming soon).

After such a good year I half brace myself for what the months ahead may bring. Mountain tops are often followed by valleys. That’s not to downplay the excitement that lies ahead with a coming son or daughter, continued opportunities in writing and music, or more time spent with my wife. But the future is uncertain. There are fears that come with every bright ray. Still, I plan to push myself more and enjoy my God no matter what lies ahead. Last year was a time of waking up and breathing deep; here’s to extending that in 2017!

*Cover image was taken by me at Lovers’ Leap in Hannibal, MO.

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