Looking back I don’t think I’ve ever taken the time necessary to reflect on what happened in any given year as it has come to a close. This year I decided, given all that has happened over the past 12+ months, I needed to take stock in order to appreciate life as it currently is and to gain perspective for the future.

The following statement seems like the only way to sum up the last 14 months that my mind will understand:

Twenty-fifteen was a difficult year for me.

As I sit here trying to reflect on the year as it comes to a close I find myself making mental lists of the events that have cascaded in and out my life over the past 14 months. As I try to categorize these events into columns titled ‘positive’ and ‘negative’, to help gain perspective on my overall quality of life this year, I can’t help but to think that it being a ‘difficult year’ was exactly what the year needed to be.

From employment opportunities and relationships, both lost and created, to taking ownership of all aspects of my life including confronting a life-long illness I’ve hid behind up until this year, Twenty-Fifteen was the year where I grew-up and became the person I needed to be.

While more happened in the past year than I care to comment on in detail, I can openly say that in more ways than one Twenty-Fifteen was all about fresh-starts for myself.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. – Albert Einstein

Much of the year was spent reflecting on the past, while living better in the present and thinking what the future might bring. In between the excessive drinking, periods of chronic crying and sessions of self-pity, all of which have now ceased, I managed to find a way to shape my life, for the better, based on both the opportunities and constraints that I’m presented with daily.

While not perfect by any means, my life and my sense-of-self are much clearer and grounded in my ability to shape them as they evolve and are affected by external factors that I am unable to control.

I am optimistic about what Twenty-Sixteen will bring, not specifically because it’s a new calendar year, but because the goals I’ve set out for myself and the accolades I wish to achieve, while not easy, are wholly obtainable based on my own merit, outlook and work.

Without Twenty-Fifteen unfolding the way it did and me, in turn, learning so much from the events as they presented themselves, I wouldn’t be in the better place I am today.