2016 Was the Best

 

Many people call 2016 the worst, wishing it could be erased from memory, history, time. And with good reason. In 2016 the U.S.A. became the most divided it’s ever been in my life. In 2016 we americans decided the leader of the free world should be a racist, unstable, misogynistic, power-hungry, egomaniac. In 2016 millions of people continued to be displaced from their homes because of violence, persecution, war, and human rights violations. In 2016 frequent terrorist attacks sent a great deal of good innocent souls to the other side. In 2016 we lost incredible artists whose work and influence will be missed. In 2016 ... ok I will stop. It’s clear 2016 was full of a whole lot of awful. But today I’m not here to mourn all that but instead to tell you that 2016 was the best year of my life.

Last year around this time I wrote about what conditions lead to the best memories of my life. And in that post I committed "to getting up before sunrise, to staying up late in great conversation, to many miles under foot and in the air, to saying yes, to doing it now, to places I've never been, to friends and family, to laughter without regrets, to real change, to learning, to faith, and to the next best memories of my life!” 

I’m happy to report that I kept these commitments. I saw the first light of day reveal the beauty of lonely beaches. I stayed up late watching stars fall and super moons rise. I ran, hiked, drove, and flew to places so vivid they will live bright in my memory forever. I slept in hammocks, tents, lodges, cabins, AirBnB’s, hotels, and one frost-covered sleeping bag. I exhausted elbow grease and midnight oil. I got to be part of one of our most successful campaigns ever at work where we helped motivate and guide thousands of people to make the world a better place. I had some of the most honest and courageous conversations of my life. I confronted fears both big and small, rational and irrational that led to feeling more alive than ever. And above all else, I said the most important “yes" of my life and married my best friend, my love, my always, my Natasha Jade. 

And you can’t beat that. You can’t beat love. As cliche as that might sound it’s the reason 2016 was the best year of my life. As I committed more to love I felt more love in return. Real, honest love that has become my unshakeable foundation. The force that keeps me sturdy and happy amidst all the awful. The magic that makes every amazing experience immeasurably more meaningful. Because a night watching a meteor shower in a mountain meadow is awesome but with dear friends it’s unforgettable. Waking up in a southern Utah canyon is incredible but sharing that with a brother is priceless. And catching a Hawaiian sunrise on a beach all to yourself is dreamy but it’s the absolute best with the love of your life.

So in order to abate all the inevitable tragedies, accidents, messes, and frustrations of 2017 I am committing more to relationships this year. More time, more courage, more laughter, more tears, more planning, more compromise, more listening, more love.

Let’s do this 2017!

Here is a fantastic Ted Talk about a Harvard study that backs up what I’m saying here. Well worth the thirteen minutes.