Phin and I went for a long walk around Central Park. It’s one of those perfect New York nights. Cool breeze, warm setting sun, and soft grass. At one point, he sat down on one of our favorite hills by the reservoir, looked around, and smiled. I sat down next to him. “It feels good to be home, buddy, doesn’t it? Isn’t our city beautiful?” He looked up at me and kept smiling. He agrees. Life is good. It’s so, so good.
Today as I travel to the Philadelphia area to ring in the new year, I’m thinking about the wonderful things that happened in 2016. I opened up my wonder jar that I created in January 2016, and this is what I found:
1.) I got a new job through a recruiter on LinkedIn in healthcare working with artificial intelligence. And it came with a promotion in title and a raise to boot!
2.) I went to Cuba, a lifelong dream trip, and met some fabulous people whom I’m sure I will travel with in the future.
3.) I moved into a new apartment in a new neighborhood and discovered a whole new side of D.C.
4.) I went to Puerto Rico for a dear friend’s wedding.
5.) My amazing friends Ken and Tom got married, as did my dear friends Rachael and Jon. I was so thrilled to celebrate them and share in their joy with some of my favorite people in the world. Love wins!
6.) I made new friends, reconnected with others whom I hadn’t connected with in years, and had the best times spending time with so many friends whom I love.
7.) I turned 40, and had one of the very best birthday parties of my life thanks to wonderful friends.
8.) I finished my book Where the Light Enters, and a small press is considering publishing it.
9.) I greatly expanded my freelance writing opportunities, and am looking forward to even more of that in early 2017.
10.) Phineas came through a couple of difficult health challenges like a champ, and is now super healthy at the ripe old age of 7. We took a lot of long and happy walks together all over D.C. and we had plenty of snuggle time. I also found a great daycare / boarding place and a dog walker that take wonderful care of him.
11.) I saved a down payment with the hope of buying my very first home in 2017, and got my finances in order in a better way than ever before.
12.) I attended fun cultural events all over Washington, D.C. all year long.
13.) I had one of my collages accepted and shown at an art gallery in D.C.
14.) I expanded my personal art collection with works from all over the world that inspire me on a daily basis.
15.) I started the Breaking Bread Podcast.
16.) I had the chance to support a number of nonprofits that I admire and that make this world a better place.
17.) I greatly enhanced my cooking and baking skills, churning out some delicious and nutritious meals from my kitchen.
18.) I worked on my first television project as an Associate Producer.
19.) I learned to trust my gut more than ever before. I laughed, I smiled, and I loved.
20.) I saw a ton of great live music in D.C. including Josh Ritter, Andra Day, Elephant Revival, 2 Cellos, Janelle Monae, Rhiannon Giddeons, The American Pops, Ben Harper, and Grace Potter.
21.) I created and taught creative writing workshops for kids at 826DC.
I’m sure 2017 will bring many more blessings and learnings. And that wonder jar was a wonderful thing. I plan to start a new one tomorrow in honor of the new year.
“This show has put my dreams to shame.” ~Lin-Manuel Miranda, writer of and lead actor in the Broadway show Hamilton, when interviewed by Charlie Rose
More than anything, we should take the success of Hamilton as a personal inspiration for our own dreams. Make them bigger, wilder, and even more outrageous. Imagine yourself without limits and blockers. What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail. How far would you go? How high would you reach? Who would you aspire to be and what would you aspire to do? Do it. Be that person. You never know what might happen until you take the biggest shot you can take. So take it.