As this year comes to a close, I can’t help but recall all of the major life events that have been sprinkled throughout it. Just a few days ago, I was thinking of all the wonderful opportunities I was given and the people I had the privilege of knowing, spending time with, and meeting. Then yesterday – only three days before the end of the year – I was not-so-gently reminded of all the not-so-wonderful things that have happened, too.

Yesterday, I was the victim of a hit and run by someone running the red light at an intersection two blocks away from my work. On the bright side, other than a major anxiety attack I am completely uninjured – but I wish I could say the same for my somewhat new Prius. Upon filing a claim with my insurance I was instantly deemed not at fault, but because the guilty party fled I am now stuck with a hefty deductible (that I cannot afford) to repair pretty significant damages to my car.

All I could think for the rest of the night was, I am so ready for 2017 to just be over with. It’s amazing how one can go from reminiscing about all the positive things that happened during the past year to suddenly picking out all of the negative things that happened. All it took was one final misfortune to shift my way of thinking – as if life were punching me in the face to remind me it’s not always cupcakes and rainbows.

But I won’t go down without a fight. I decided to sit down and list of some of the not-so-great things that have happened, followed by all the really wonderful things that have happened – ordered as such to finish on a strong note. One final purge of the year so I can start 2018 tabula rasa.

× Pickles & Deep Water ×

  • My first Prius got totaled after only having it four months.

  • severely sprained my ankle the night before my black belt test.
  • A new roommate moved in, then turned around and moved back out after only a month, deciding they couldn’t afford the place after all.
  • The replacement roommate (who ended up being a total sociopath) broke her rental agreement and moved out to live with her boyfriend, leaving me high and dry with rent and bills.
  • My emergency savings account got completely drained between the two flakey roommate situations.
  • Alone on Thanksgiving (plans fell through last minute).
  • Alone on Christmas (my family and my boyfriend were out of town).
  • The grand finale hit and run.

Cupcakes & Rainbows +

  • I was able to replace my totaled car with a brand new one – which I had had my eyes on for a long time!
  • I was given the honor of receiving my first degree black belt!
  • The most adorable, intelligent, spunky, scruffy little Jack Russell Terrier I’ve ever seen adopted me (yes, she adopted me) – and essentially, we rescued each other.
  • I finally found the best roommate anyone could ask for.
  • My boyfriend and I celebrated our one year anniversary and had one of the most fun, most wonderful nights together ever. ♥
  • I was promoted to senior instructor and co-manager of the martial arts studio where I’ve been teaching for two years.
  • I made some new friends who are most extraordinary; the funny thing is, we didn’t get along very well at all when we first met – and now we are like peas in a pod! Lol
  • I have the honor of working and co-managing with one of the coolest, most fun, most professional and well-rounded martial arts instructors I’ve ever met! We are the perfect dynamic duo – “like Yin and Yang,” says the owner and chief master instructor.
  • I have the privilege of working for a company that doesn’t feel like work or “just another job…” – we are genuinely like family, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.

The Bridge - photo by Sarah Klaren | Walela Photography

Writing things out and ending with all of the great things I experienced, I have a much clearer and broader perspective of my past year of life. I am focused neither on the negative nor the positive circumstances – but instead on the fact that life is about balance. My chief master instructor’s comment about the comradery between my co-manager and myself sparked an epiphany… You can’t know true happiness without sadness. You can’t know how lucky or grateful you are without experiencing adversity. You can’t have light without darknessYin and yang.

What were the most notable moments of your life in 2017? What sort of life experience or insight have you gleaned from it all? I highly encourage you to make up a similar list of the bad and the good things about your year – see what you might learn from it. ♥