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An Open Letter to 2017

2017 has been an interesting year to say the least. From unexpected opportunities, to failed relationships to monumental memories, 2017 has brought some of the happiest of days and some of the hardest days, too. I guess that’s what it means to take the good with the bad, happy with the sad. As we approach a new year with new beginnings, new opportunities, new goals, new visions, new hopes and new dreams, I’d like to take the time to thank 2017 for the memories earned and the lessons learned. Maybe this will ignite a desire for you to reflect on your year or maybe you will in some way shape or form be able to relate with mine. Whatever it may be, I share with you my open letter to 2017.

Dear 2017,

You have been 365 days of what I’d like to refer to as one giant roller coaster ride of emotions. Where do I even begin to start?

Pain. 2017 you brought pain. You brought disappointment, you brought lies, betrayal,  heartache and heartbreak. You brought loss. You brought bewilderment, confusion and disbelief. You brought tears. You brought bumps and bruises. You brought some people into my life only to remove them. You opened doors only to slam them in my face not long after. 2017, while you may have knocked me down a few times, I stood right back up, dusted myself off and found new doors to open.

Lesson learned: “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” 


Adventure. 2017 you brought adventure. From a bachelorette party in the Hamptons to snorkeling in Aruba, to a National League Series game in the Bronx, to a ferry ride to Victoria, Canada, 2017 you brought adventure. You brought excitement. You brought spontaneity. You brought late nights that turned into early mornings.

Lesson learned: “Adventure awaits.”


Opportunity. 2017, you brought opportunities, and lots of them. You brought me the opportunity to grow physically, emotionally, professionally, mentally,  and spiritually.  Not so much financially but I’ll get there. You brought me the opportunity to inspire others, to teach others and to encourage others. You brought me the opportunity to meet new people, some of whom have become dear friends. You brought me the opportunity to learn, from my own mistakes and from others. You brought me the opportunity to lead others, to pursue short-term goals while taking the steps towards achieving long-term goals. You brought me the opportunity to envision my future and devise a plan to get there. You brought me the opportunity to try new things, new places, new foods, new approaches, new attitudes and new outlooks. 2017, you brought countless opportunities, all of which I am grateful for.

Lesson learned: “When opportunity knocks, open the door.”


Passion. 2017, you helped me uncover my passion for people. I may not be a big social butterfly. I may opt to 9 times out of 10 sit at home on a Friday or Saturday evening and enjoy the comfort of my own home (well my best friend’s home), a movie and a glass of wine over going out in public. But the truth is, I don’t think I have to be overly social to love people. And boy do I love people. Mainly, I love helping people. 2017 you helped me to define what passion is, what it looks like, how it feels and what to do with it. You helped me to answer a fraction of the million dollar question, what is my purpose? What is my why?

Lesson learned: “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”


Happiness. 2017, for every painful moment you brought two moments of happiness. From sharing those brief months with someone I loved, to watching my best friend walk down the aisle, to spending an entire summer with my sister, to witnessing one of my best friends qualify for the Boston marathon, to watching members at my gym get their first pull-up or rope climb, to the passing certificates found in the mail, to dancing in the pouring rain, to delivering toys to the Ronald McDonald House, to new additions to the family, to late nights on the porch with good company, to too many moments of laughter to count, 2017 you have brought so much joy and happiness into my life.

Lesson learned: “Life only comes around once. So choose whatever makes you happy and choose whoever makes you smile the most.”


Strength. 2017, you brought strength. Physical strength, yes. But more importantly, emotional strength. 2017 you were not the hardest year to weather to date, but you certainly weren’t the easiest. You threw a lot of curveballs my way. Unexpected curveballs. And while I may have struck out a few times, I always went back to bat. 2017, you reminded me how resilient I am and how tenacious I can be. You forced me to have incredibly difficult conversations, accept harsh realities, seek forgiveness, and forgive the selfishness of others. 2017, you taught me to never give up and to always have faith.

Lesson learned: What lies behind us and and what lies before us compares nothing to lies within us.”


Hope. Above all, 2017, you have reminded me to trust the process and let go of what and who isn’t meant to be. You have reminded me to stay true to myself, never compromise my values nor lose myself in another person. You have reminded me to always remain grounded, even when things start to waiver. 2017, you have taught me to be ambitious, and to take risks. You taught me to never take myself too seriously, to laugh every day and to cherish the presence of loved ones. You taught me to live in the moment and to never take a day for granted, for tomorrow is never promised.

Lesson learned: “Surrender to what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be.”


The fact that I am writing this as I sit on a ferry awaiting my trip back to the states is a bit ironic and incredibly symbolic. 2017, I am ready to set sail into 2018. I am ready to bring with me into the new year these lessons. And while I’m certain some of these lessons will present themselves again in 2018, I am even more certain I will be better prepared to brave the waves and storms that come my way. Bring it on 2018, I’m coming for you. May this be mine and your best year to date.



Article written by GUADS staff member, Chelsea

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