I have been so tempted to talk about 2017 as the worst year of my life. Occasionally, I’ve succumbed to that temptation. I’ve decided to consciously change that thinking.

Husband and I did stay up until midnight. We didn’t go anywhere or do anything special, in fact we were only up so late because we finally watched a movie we had been trying to see and felt awake enough to see it. We didn’t realize the time until rolling into bed. There was no pomp and circumstance, no celebrating that 2017 was over or that we finally were into a new year. There was a kiss and a great hug and falling asleep like every night. But as I was falling asleep, I was reflecting.

Yes, if I were to look at the events of my past year for me and me alone, if I could sort those events somehow into bad and good, I’d say that last year was my worst. We lost our Dog the Elder, for example, a gut wrenching experience I had no idea would be as hard as it was. It was easily one of the worst days of my life. I could list more like that. Of course I could. Cancer and surgeries and infections. Wound vacuums, adhesions, drains. All of it was horrible. It’s also not all there was.

Husband received two promotions in the past year. Daughter started at a new school with such an amazing program that she now feels confident to walk into class every day and loves math. I got a job doing my absolute favorite thing on earth, and while I haven’t been 100% yet, I will be.

The thing is, I can’t just look at the past year and sort it into the good and the bad. There’s a story from ancient China about a farmer who has a cow run away. When everyone says “oh what bad luck” he responds with “we’ll see.” The cow returns with another cow. Everyone says “oh what good luck,” and he responds the same way and something crummy happens because of the cow. Things keep going on up and down throughout the tale. It sounds so simple, and I suppose it is, but it’s so right.

We don’t know the final plan the Universe has in mind for us and for all of these events. I’ve said before that I don’t generally think that “all things happen for a reason,” but maybe I’m wrong. I’ve reconnected with so many people in the past year. I’ve learned who I truly make a difference to and who truly makes a difference to me. That’s incredibly valuable. I’ve learned what I am capable of, and it’s a lot. I’ve learned to celebrate moments as they happen- which seems to result in much fewer pictures. I’ve learned the strength of my marriage and it is truly awesome.

This New Year’s Day I am not going to celebrate the end of “the worst year of my life” but think back on all of the gifts 2017 gave me. As for whether or not I had bad or good luck, I suppose “we’ll see.”

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