Dear December 31, 2017 Me,

What can I say that you don’t already know? You are at the end of a year that I can only dream about. You have experienced events that I have no idea will end up on the calendar. They are secrets to me now as they should be.

If 2015 Me had been able to tell what was ahead in 2016, I don’t think I would have been prepared to handle things any better. Instead, I would have been more anxious knowing what would happen. I’d have been on pins and needles knowing that an essay I worked on for months and months would only garner a spot in the final rounds of judging, but no prize and no place in a publication. I’d have been continuously on the edge of my seat knowing that my youngest daughter was going to break her ankle and have to sit out for the season from the sport she loves to play and I love to watch. I would have worried endlessly as my other children found, then lost, then found their way again in the world of adulting.

Had I known that I would get salmonella poisoning which would affect my overall physical health for months (still even now), I would not have eaten anything the month of April that would cause it. Looking back though, a month-long fast probably would have helped me avoid the weight gain I am dealing with today. By the way, I’m sorry about that, but hopefully you have been able to resolve this issue and you’re able to wear those size 8 jeans that I’ve kept folded away at the top of the closet.

If I’d had insight on December 31, 2015 of what was ahead of me in 2016, I probably would have avoided pushing myself and my loved ones to follow their dreams to the fullest. If I had known the precise pain we’d encounter as a result, I would have held back. Not knowing, I encouraged all of us to explore life and give it our all, to push our boundaries, to take chances. Because we did, we experienced failure and pain, but we also discovered that failure is worth it when you take what you’ve learned and move forward. We took risks to pursue our passions, and ultimately, we were reminded that bones and hearts may get broken in the process, but they can heal and cause you to be not only stronger, but smarter too.

I am certainly wiser than 2015 Me was, but of course, not as wise (and old) as you are sitting there at the end of 2017. But you already know that.

And you also know if I succeeded in the pursuit of my goals to get healthy, to write and write and submit and submit until I get published, and to be more positive. You positively know if 2016 Me achieved these things.

I do however know one thing you might not realize unless I write it down now – I know that you believe in me. That means everything on this side of 2017. I won’t let you down.

With love and admiration for who you’ve become,

December 31, 2016 Me