December has always been a very important month. In many ways, December serves as the final leg of either a very smooth or extremely rocky year. In my early to mid twenties, I spent my December trying to tie up loose ends and trying to tally my accomplishments although reality was I was trying to explain away many of my failures. But around 27, when my failures were so overwhelming, so beyond any accomplishment that I had had and there weren’t many, December’s role in the reflection process changed from dismal revelation to optimistic preparation.
Failing all year in 2014 brought me to my knees in December of 2014. Having escaped an extremely huge set back that could have been life altering, I made it out alive. I spent that entire December scared and afraid, unsure of what was going to happen next with only one or two people that I could talk to about my situation. The added detractor of my dilemma was that the people I spoke to had no experience how to deal with it either which left me alone to worry and fear by myself. So I worried constantly in silence with no ability to see the end of the tunnel. It was at that point, that I was forced to change what the reflection month meant to me.
January 1st, after escaping the worst month of my life, I found myself in a small Christian diner up Van Dyke and 18 Mile Rd far outside the city sitting in a booth with a good friend of mine who had a similar year but definitely not as bad as mine. We were talking about change and making actual plans for 2015 and how we wanted 2015 to go. Previous years I had come up with long lists of goalsI wanted to accomplish, lists of 20-30 items that I would have to complete. This year, I only had 4 or 5. My friend felt the same way as we looked back at the many “golden” years that were nothing more than years competing for the worst-year-of-my-life title. We said we would check in with one another every other month to see how things were going. We gave each other a five and a hug and left. That year, the year I made the least amount of resolutions and had one steady plan was the foundation of the greatest year to date.
December now serves as a benchmark for what I have done and the progress I have made up until this point. Going into the milestone year of 30, I have learned to realize that there are really no failures as long as you are alive and somewhat free. December gives me hope that I can do better and make change from learning from past failures.
Halfway through this month during my busy season at work and all I can think about is how much I’ve won this year. 2016 brought many unhappy, frightening, and strange changes to the world as we have known it, but the personal gains I have made have set me on the course to succeed in 2017 and the years to come.
You may have had many setbacks: job loss, deaths of family and friends, sickness, personal and professional failures. Maybe you loss a lot of money on bad investments or frivolous spending, or had a few “bad” relationships that did not live up to their initial promise. I would ask, suggest, and plead with you as a person who has had all this happen in one year, to see these as learning lessons and “negative victories” (coined) and keep pushing through. Keep winning, fam! The best of you is yet to come.