17 Lessons from 2017

I scavenged my Journal for things I learned this year, and here’s what I found (entry dates in parentheses):

  1. “I am starting to see that the key thing—the key process—is forgiveness. The world is cold and dark and unfair and judgmental and bitter, and at some point you shall become all of these things too. It is vital that you forgive…other people, your own family, the world, the universe, luck and fate, yourself. You cannot go on resenting things all the time. It will ruin you. It will absolutely spoil everything.” (01.24.17)

“To forgive is to begin, and there is so much to forgive.”—Pam Spiro

  1. Growth happens in the difficult—barbs and thorns and wires sticking out from all sides—so you gotta be ready to be bruised and be scraped and bleed if you want to learn all of this.” (04.09.17)

 “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.”—Fred DeVito

  1. “I have realized that writing is my medication. (I am insane).” (04.21.17)

 “I have traveled through madness to find me.”—Danny Alexander

  1. “If you are afraid, read this— You have to give yourself permission to fail…You’re really not that good. But you are capable of things. Not all things, but a good number of them.” (06.01.17)

“Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open?”—Jalal ad-Din

  1. “I have to keep the cogwheels of my life turning, even during days I feel like staying still.” (06.11.17)

“You don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward.”—Roy Bennett

  1. “I keep searching for redemption, but maybe I have been searching in all the wrong places. Maybe redemption is not an achievement; maybe redemption is a feeling. Maybe redemption is not a striving; maybe redemption is a letting go.” (06.30.17)




  1. “We cannot take out the bad stuff. Sometimes we want to, in order to heal someone. But those stuff are already part of the person, inseparable from them, and the attempt to take them out may itself bruise the person because it implies there’s a fundamental part of that person that’s unacceptable to you. No, we have to do what we can to balance the negative with the positive. That’s all we can do.” (07.14.17)

“My young life burnt me alive. The poet came from the ashes. The words came from the fire.”—Atticus

  1. “And the very nature of a risk is thus—there are no guarantees.” (07.20.17)

“Don’t search for defining moments because they will never come. The moments that define you have already happened, and they will already happen again. Don’t wait until they tell you you are ready. Get in there.”—Peter Dinklage

  1. “You have to believe in yourself, and in the desires and affinities God or whatever Higher Power has seeded into your heart. You are the person that you are for a reason; you went through the difficulties you did for a purpose. All will not be in vain. You just have to believe.” (08.28.17)

“Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith.”—Elisabeth Elliot

  1. “This all reminds me of the thing about stories, long narratives. It takes the whole narrative—yes, the whole of it—to allow the reader/audience to appreciate a line, a word, a gasp at the end of it. Seeing only the end quote doesn’t cut it. It takes the whole damn narrative.” (09.09.17)

“Your journey has molded you for the greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don’t think that you’ve lost time. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time.”—Asha Tyson

  1. “Today I learned that to grow, you really need to confront things you’ve always feared, situations you’ve always avoided. You need to get out of your comfort zone; stretch yourself in painful ways. Face the very thing you are afraid of, plunge into uncomfortable situations, that is the only way to grow. Comfort is your enemy.” (09.19.17)

“Maybe life isn’t about avoiding the bruises. Maybe it’s about collecting the scars to prove we showed up for it.”—unknown

  1. “There is a moment, when you realize—you’ve got yourself in some pretty serious shit and it’s too late to back out now. It is in this moment, you must all the more persevere.” (10.02.17)

“Arrange whatever pieces come your way.”—Virginia Woolf

  1. “There is no stronger force than hope.” (10.12.17)

“The tragedy of life is not death but what we let die inside of us while we live.”—Norman Cousins

  1. “The most difficult times we go through—our crisis points—are the best opportunities we have for learning and growing.” (10.12.17)

“You always have to have some breakdown to have a breakthrough.”—unknown

  1. “I lay awake last night thinking, ‘Love is the answer. It is the most powerful thing on Earth, and possibly beyond Earth.’ I didn’t think that in my lifetime I would believe it, but I do now.” (10.20.17)

“I won’t glorify or romanticize heartbreak, for me it was a kind of death and I was forced to keep living.”—Warsan Shire

  1. “The darkness is so hard to fight at times. I want to be rid of this, but to be rid of this means I am no longer me. And how could I forsake myself? I can’t. I have to be me, continue to be me, be there for me no matter how difficult it gets. I am my best and only hope.” (12.06.17)

“When we deny the story, it defines us. When we own the story, we can write a brave new ending.”—Brene Brown

  1. “You have to see the magic in your own life. Don’t ask to be anything else. Don’t resent that you’re ‘not good enough.’ Take your crookedness and your crazy and your wild, stubborn heart, and go BE YOU, because you have only this ONE life and you’re here to make the best of it. Don’t let the glum dull your sparkle; you have let it win far too many times now. My dear, ENOUGH. There is a fight here, and you gotta tell me you’re willing to fight. Fight through the drudgery, fight through the pain, fight through the darkness. Don’t waste another moment slumped down; 2018 will be the year you make things happen and 2018 will be the year you decide to stop hiding and stop running away. 2018 will be the year you finally get to say, ‘I am here.’” (12.23.17)

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