You’ve probably been hearing it for weeks now – 2016 was the worst year in history. Not that we humans like to exaggerate much.
Given the political climate, most point to the election as the troublemaker. Others are upset over the numerous Hollywood loses. Still, I can’t help but look back on the year with pride. As others wallow in anger and resentment at their previous 12 months, this party-of-one has done quite well.
I’ve reached two of my biggest goals thus far – all within the last 365 days. In July, I moved into my first apartment. I haven’t lived with my parents since I started college, but I’ve always had roommates. While some have become lifelong friends and others enemies, I’ve always dreamed of a space of my own.
In September I accepted a job in my field, that I love. I was missing something in my life for a few months when I felt God lead me back to the news, and I couldn’t be happier.
But it’s not just me. I think if anyone truly reflected on their past year, they too couldĀ find high points of happiness and pride. Each January, I write a list of resolutions or goals I want to reach by the end of the calendar. Though I often forget about them a couple months later, when I look back on them the last week in December, I see I have reached many of them. I pray the upcoming year is as good as 2016 really has been.

A time for reflection, A time to please God: Lent

Lent is a time of reflection and a time to work toward pleasing God, and as a practicing Catholic, I love the “mid-year New Year” where I’m filled with renewed hope and a passion for bettering myself and my community. For Lent this year, I’ve challenged myself to volunteer at one new place each week, to eventually discover where I’d like to continually volunteer for the next while. I’m a little behind, so I’ll be visiting two places next week, but I went to an assisted living center one day this week – and loved it!

Courtesy: Photobucket

I’m not the most patient person, which was something I vowed to improve January 1, so I didn’t know how much I would enjoy time with the elderly, or how much they would enjoy having me around. I was happily surprised.
Being around those that are happy and thankful, in the daylight (I work third-shift. If I’m awake after work, I’m basically sleep-walking, aware of the sun) was so refreshing. I felt renewed, despite not taking a nap that day. They were smart and easy-going, not to mention quirky – they all had a unique personality. I had such a good time that I’ve already committed to volunteering more, though I’ll continue my promise to try a new place each week.
Besides putting me in a good mood for the rest of the day, it has given me the idea to apply for assisted living jobs. I’m not in nursing, but my communication and writing skills can be put to good use when it comes to activities, newsletter and volunteer coordination. I’ve seen some in the past that I pushed aside, thinking I wouldn’t enjoy them, but I’m going to revisit those options. Not only do I think I could enjoy them now, I feel like my work would be purposeful and please God, wrapping it all back around to the point of Lent.