Looking Ahead to 2017 with Alex Byer

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This coming year, we’re going to get more personal. It just feels right, and we hope that you agree. Having babies makes us realize how precious real connections are, and we want to be sure that we’re always being authentic and real with you here. In that spirit, we’re going to share more bits of our own lives, and also the lives of those that inspire, motivate and challenge us to be better versions of ourselves. First up is a personal essay from our friend Alex. If you’re not already following her, you’ll want to catch up on her blog, and of course follow her on Instagram (she’s been having some seriously amazing adventures and we love her authenticity).

There’s not an easy way to start explaining why 2016 was as painful as it was for me. There are surface level things I could point out (the election, continued violence in the US, conflicts abroad) that contributed to an overall feeling of melancholy this year. But beyond that, 2016 changed me. And as hard as its been and for how long some days felt, I know that this year changed me for the best.

A lot happened in the last year. In 2016, I: ran my third marathon, got in the best shape of my life, did fun (and dumb) things with my friends, created, travelled (to Newport, Vegas, Berlin, Paris, Lisbon and more), and walked away from my marriage. I turned 28 and realized I couldn’t keep sacrificing my happiness for everyone else’s. I made hard changes in my life, including ending a seven-year relationship. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made, but it was also one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I didn’t wake up one day and realize it needed to end. And I also didn’t make the decision lightly. But as I continued to fight for something that just didn’t feel totally right, I started realizing that a lot of my unhappiness was stemming from this relationship. I wasn’t being myself and the only way to discover who I truly am was to walk away. So I did, and for the first time in my adult life, I started doing things on my own.

The second half of 2016 was spent reintroducing myself to Alex. It was being up front with my friends and being raw and honest even when it hurt. It was crying when I needed to and laughing when I wanted to and not apologizing for who I am. It was allowing other people to be there for me and realizing I need a lot more than I was giving myself. It was, as cheesy as it sounds, falling in love with myself and knowing that I’m enough. It’s been hard and it’s been lonely at times, but I know I’m stronger.

2016 felt like straight garbage at some points, and garbage days dragged on and on. But now, looking back on it, I know it had to happen. 2016 helped me rediscover who I am, who I’m meant to be. 2016 taught me how to grow up, how to be alone. It taught me how to cook for one and how to balance my time. It taught me to prioritize and to have fun. It taught me that people are more understanding than I ever gave them credit for. It taught me that my friends, my chosen family, reflect back every ounce of love and light I pour into them.

I hope 2017 is a better year for me and for everyone. I hope it’s not as hard. But I hope we don’t forget how the hard times shape the good times, and how sweet things can be on the other side.

Thanks so much, Alex. We can’t wait to see what 2017 brings.

Image credit: Madeline Heising Photography

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