Goodbye, 2022.

Reflections of 2022…yep, I think many of us are in the process of looking back over the last year lately, either consciously or subconsciously, and taking an inventory of life’s events. We are reminiscing fondly with a warm smile in our hearts, or we find ourselves visibly wincing as we recount the unsavory.

For me, 2022 reflections make me smile a little but wince a lot. I’m inclined to say that 2022 kicked my butt more than it brought me joy. I internally argue with myself about that and work to resist declaring it a completely bad year or just a not-so-good one in the interests of perspective, relativity, gratitude, and remembering to count my blessings. Yet my inclination remains, and I think…yeah…I can confidently assert that it indeed was a rough year.

Oddly, I can say that, despite my being sore about it, I’m thankful for 2022. It brought me terrible illness, extraordinary mental and physical health challenges, battles with suicidal ideation, business challenges, ugly people, and a host of other struggles big and small. But I learned from it all, and I am (and I will be) better for it.

Recalling all the events of 2022 saddens me a little and makes me super wary of 2023. I am fragile. My bandwidth is short. I’m even a little scared. Can I just creep quietly into January, find an inconspicuous spot in the corner, and stay quiet? I’ll promise not to touch anything, and I won’t bother anyone.

I don’t think so.

2023 is coming in hot, and honestly, I am expecting (yes, freaking expecting, maybe even demanding) good things from it. Don’t come in here with some mess, 2023. Have some manners, and offer me some cooperation. I’m tired, and I’m not about your foolishness. I’m about to walk in, but it’s YOU who better find a quiet corner, sit still, and not wreak havoc.

It’s time to heal. I want to love and be loved. I want to laugh and be surrounded my brilliant people who laugh, too. I want to entertain, share fun experiences, and thrive amidst the simplest joys of life.

I want to eat good food, explore new tastes, discover new restaurants. I want to serve treats on pretty dishes, arrange abundant grazing tables, and make meals out of charcuterie boards.

I want to travel, feel new breezes, marvel at stunning views, and live like a local in an interesting place.

I want to smell wood smoke from a campfire, the pungent mud of a river bank, and the brine of a sea shore. I want the aromatherapy of fresh-cut grass, fumes from the city, theater curtains and upholstery, horse hair and saddle leather. I want my husband’s cologne to linger as he walks past.

I want to hear my kids laugh. I want to watch them learn. I want to watch them love and be loved. I want to see their smiles, get lost in their hugs, and praise their accomplishments.

And I want to write. I want to capture all of the goodness of life with words, share the goodness, and spread goodness. I want to write as a means to illustrate to others that we all end up in the trenches, but we can navigate through hardships and carve out paths to recovery. I want to provoke thought, inspire growth, and offer hope. I want to encourage people to giggle, let go, and just be.

Surely, 2023, I can not only handle you, but I can make the most of you. Surely, I can use you to heal and thrive. Surely, you’ll be time well spent toward creating and enjoying the life I most want. Surely, I can use you to share joy and fill hearts.

Dear Lord, I come to you with a humble heart asking that each person reading this be granted a peace only You can provide as 2022 comes to a close. I pray that You extend a warm grace to us all as we enter 2023. Thank you for giving us another year of life. I pray that You guide us, keep us, and protect us. May 2023 be a year of pursuing and drawing closer to You. May it be a year of joy. May it be one of growth, recovery, and prosperity. Amen.

Published by Amanda Herring, Writer

Practical wisdom, joys and pains, motivation and tough love, from the perspective of a Mississippi mom, traveler, business owner, goal crusher, substance seeker, and full-time dreamer

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