This past year was probably the toughest year of my life. With my health posing lots of challenges, I had a lot of hurdles to overcome and mountains to climb. Yet, because of all of this, I learned so many beautiful lessons I would like to share with all of you.

I realized how much inner strength I have and grew into a better advocate for myself, a skill I’m still practicing and striving to improve every day. I learned how to use my voice productively and the importance of standing up for what I believe in. With that, I learned to trust my gut and that, considering I’m the only one who lives in my body, I best understand what is going on with it and it’s important to voice that.

I was taught lots of lesson about family; that it is not about who’s related to you by blood but rather who supports you, cares for you, has your back, brings positive energy into your life. I was shown that people can be disappointing and fallible but, despite that, there is so much kindness in the world; that so many people support me and love me. Also, I was shown that your vibe really does attract your tribe. The energy you put out into the universe attracts the same kind of people in return. I was shown just how amazing my tribe is and how, in times of hardship, we come together to lift each other up.

I realized that, though education is powerful and important, it is not the be all and end all; that it’s okay to not do school or put it on the back-burner and it doesn’t mean I’m falling behind in life. Equally, I realized that there are so many different ways to learn and grow beyond the classroom; that life presents you with tons of opportunities to do so and you just need to take advantage of them.

With some new and somewhat scary diagnosis’s, it finally clicked how short life is and that I need to take advantage of every good day to tick things off of my (realistic) bucket list by doing stuff that makes me happy. Equally, I realized that it is perfectly okay, and, in fact, healthy and normal to have some bad days where you just need to FEEL every emotion and let those waves hit the shore. I learned that, although life isn’t always fair, you have at least a bit of a say in the direction things go. Your mindset can make a difference.

I realized that my story, though full of pain and disappointed and losses, is powerful and beautiful and strong. Also, I realized that vulnerability and openness is terrifying yet brave and can have a much larger impact than you could ever imagine; that being open and honest with yourself and your emotions is just as important as sharing those with others. Fostering that helped me discover more and more bits and pieces of what makes me who I am.

I realized that worrying about the future doesn’t bring about anything productive and that the best way of moving forward is by taking things one hurdle at a time and not overanalyzing the leaps and bounds to come.

I learned that, through brokenness and struggle, comes an imaginable strength and discovered that, even in the toughest year of my life, the amount of beauty and love and smiles and joy within it is abundant, all I needed to do was look for it.

My wish for 2017 is that I continue to look for the beauty in every single day and to live every good day in the moment while respecting my body and it’s need for rest on the bad ones all while appreciating what it does to keep me alive. I’m not sad to see 2016 go but I’m grateful all the same, not for the hardships that it brought but the lessons they taught me and the growth it lead to. I strive to continue living life with intention and sharing kindness where I can.

Thank you to everyone who as been a part of my journey this year.

7 thoughts on “2016.

  1. Amie says:

    You are an amazingly strong young women with an amazing support system. 2017 is your year to do what YOU want to do!
    Hope we can come home this summer and catch up.


  2. Jack Nielsen says:

    Love you a whole bunch. We bought you a book that is mandatory for you to read , and will make sure you get it soon. Love J & B. Let’s make 2017 a great year. P.S. When you finish the book lend it to Emma.



  3. Wendy Sanford says:

    You are so very inspirational!! Thank you for your blog in the midst of your journey you continue think of others and inspire others. ❤️


  4. Carol O'Reilly says:

    You are an amazing young lady; wise beyond your years. You are teaching us, the older generation, so much! You are strong, so strong. Not sure if you are even aware of that fact, but we, the readers, see it every time we read one of your writings. You are in inspiration to all. I have never met you, but it is in MY ‘bucket list’ to meet you one day with your Grandmother Betty Fudge!. Keep on keepin’ on, Kathleen! God Bless you and Happy 2017.


  5. Jacqueline Breen says:

    Kathleen, you are an amazing young woman and a true inspiration 💕Your positive attitude through adversity is unbelievable! I look forward to your blogs as they are a reminder of how precious life is and the struggles people can face and still spread joy and kindness ☀️ You may not realize the lessons you are teaching and the impact you have on the world but know they are great! Keep your head up and know you are in my prayers daily ❤️


  6. Heather Selby says:

    Hi Kathleen –Reading your blog sure makes me stop & reflect things in my life that I take for granted..but as you & I have learned that with the love of FAMILY & FRIENDS life somehow doesn’t always look so bleak.. .You are in my thoughts & prayers daily..I feel blessed to have met you & follow your life through your blogs..Stay Positive..♥♥


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