I’m so glad this year is over. I rarely say that at the end of a year, but this one has been the most challenging yet. Between growing a business, losing my grandmother, and navigating grief, 2023 has tested me on every level.
The other day, I thought about some of the highlights from the year. To be honest, off the top of my head, I couldn’t come up with many. Thankfully, Instagram and the tons of photos that live in my phone reminded me that the good times did exist. But the one thing that I’m taking from this year is that not every year has to be a ‘win.’ We don’t always need to feel that we accomplished everything we set out to or that we didn’t accomplish enough because we missed a few things here and there. Sometimes, we need to acknowledge the challenges we had and applaud ourselves for navigating them accordingly.
This year, I faced the moment I’ve dreaded most in life—losing my grandmother. Not only did I lose her in the physical sense, but I also lost a big part of my identity as her caregiver and advocate. For all of my adult life, every decision I have made on a personal and professional level has been with her in mind. And for the first time, I need to start thinking about my future (and that terrifies me). But I realized that what’s kept me going throughout these past few months has been some of the highlights of this year. From continuing my journey as an adult returning to horseback riding (and taking my first jumping lesson in decades) to being introduced to new workouts and communities like Forward__Space, I’ve learned that grief, joy, and new memories can all exist together quite happily. I also learned the importance of having a community that can hold space for you, and I am so grateful to my barn family for being that place for me.
When I look back at 2023, I don’t want to look back on it with dread. I want to remember it for the year that it was—challenging, painful, grueling, consuming, emotional. But also for what it did for me—pushed me, propelled me, and prepared me for new things in my future. It gave me space to breathe when I desperately needed air, and it gave me quiet time to think when I needed to be comforted by my thoughts. It put people in my life who understood my struggles as though they were their own and gave me a community when I couldn’t bear to be alone. Yet the biggest, and perhaps best, life lesson from the year was showing me how the Universe can show up for you when you sometimes can’t show up for yourself.