I’ve been hearing much talk about how 2017 has been a terrible year. It seemed like every way we turned, the world was falling apart. Our lives were changing and the future seemed grim. There was a sense of restlessness and helplessness, a sense of exhaustion. It was full of highs, lows, and all the feels. I get it. I absolutely get it.
So, because of that, I’ve been wary about talking about my year and sharing my thoughts. In fact, I’ve kept quiet. Actually, I’ve been ashamed.
Because 2017 was one of my best, most favorite years yet.
As I wrap up year three of #FiSaysYES – can you believe it’s been three years? – I feel nostalgic for how far I’ve come and how much I’ve grown. I started saying yes as a way to break away from the dark and lonely place I was in. My perfect little world had crumbled into pieces and was gone…just…like…that. I didn’t know what would come of this adventure or if I’d even do it. I only knew that I needed to find a way to accept what life was putting in front of me. I was seeing how with each rejected opportunity all was remaining the same. And I didn’t want the same. I wanted change. And well, there’s no better way to find change than by doing something different.
For most of you, 2017 was about coming to terms with Donald Trump moving into the White House; the renewed spirit toward the fight for women’s rights; North Korea threatening a nuclear war; NFL players taking a knee; the demand for gender equality; watching our families and neighbors struggle as they picked up what’s left after natural disasters ravaged their lives; and watching some of the largest mass shootings in history take place. Then, #MeToo.
I felt proud as I watched us all band together on these issues. 2017 was monumental in showing us what is needed to be the light we want to see. It’s an uphill climb. But getting there isn’t impossible and I know you know that, too. I truly did see the fire in each one of you this year and it was inspiring.
For me, for my story, in a world that felt out of control, I made the decision to look inward…to a place I could control. My cause for 2017 was me. So I let myself go. I let myself be free. I let myself be Fi.
As I did this, I watched the past few years of yes come to fruition. I didn’t have to think about saying yes anymore. Saying yes wasn’t a daily, arduous effort like it used to be. It was who I was. I was someone who said yes; and realizing that was one of the most rewarding gifts of my life.
Since I haven’t shared much with you this past year, I wanted to let you in on some of my favorite yes moments from 2017:
- After six very long, painful years of back and forth, I finalized my divorce.
- I signed up for Bumble and started dating.
- On a cold, rainy day, I went to Disneyworld. I had never been. I went alone and wore Mickey ears with my name monogrammed on them, of course.
- I visited my dear friend, Jen, in North Carolina for the first time and I finally got to meet her sweet baby girl, Sophie, who dubbed me “Feemo.”
- I colored my hair pink like a unicorn. I’ve always wanted pink hair (and I’ve always wanted to be a unicorn).
- I committed to running my first marathon, a feat I swore I would never, ever do. With that commitment, I pledged to raise $2,620 for Team for Kids so I could put meaning to my miles. I raised $2750 instead.
- I painted the first “masterpiece” of a “series” called “The Lonely Cactus.” Painting is a secret love of mine and I hadn’t done it in nearly ten years. No, I’m not good at it.
- I got a Big Apple tattoo on a whim while spending the weekend in upstate New York with someone I was falling in love with.
- I decided to adopt plants so I bought about ten of them (killed about five).
- I raised $400 in exchange for burpees on behalf of Team for Kids to run the Brooklyn Half Marathon.
- I went to JazzFest in New Orleans with a group of friends, old and new, and had a complete blast. I had been avoiding Nola for some time due to painful memories but all is good now!
- I visited some new places: Atlanta, North Carolina, Maryland, New Hampshire.
- I visited some old places: Paris, London, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Houston.
- I spent time with family in my hometown of Brownsville, Texas – I hadn’t been down there in nearly four years.
- I went fishing with my dad. The last time I had been fishing with him was about 25 years ago. Also, no fish were harmed during this excursion.
- I ran the Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon and beat last year’s time by 24 minutes.
- I ran the Rock ‘n Roll Chicago Half Marathon and secured my fastest time yet.
- I tried wake boarding for the second time at my friend Annie’s family home in Harvard, Massachusetts during the 4th of July and nailed it.
- I celebrated 37 years of life surrounded by most of my favorite people.
- I organized my first bachelorette party for my friend, Laura, in Chesapeake Bay where I set up and enjoyed my first crawfish broil and dodged being eaten alive by flesh-eating bacteria.
- I saw HALL & OATES just hours after I found out they were performing in a far away land called New Jersey. Oh here she comes…
- I relished in another memorable Burning Man experience even though I left my ticket at home in Brooklyn and had to pay quite a bit of money for a new one. I had been missing something in my life during this time. It was at Burning Man where I figured out what it was. No, it wasn’t the ticket but yes, it was also the ticket.
- After a year of running solo, I timidly decided to join a couple of running groups after hearing they were helpful. I don’t know what took me so long…running is way more fun with friends.
- I organized my very first surprise party for my boyfriend’s birthday. Being surrounded with that kind of love is pretty astounding.
- I reunited with an old work team over an enjoyable brunch and smiled the entire time. This was particularly special for me because I’ve always regretted the way I left this group and because we lost a special member of that crew last year.
- I ran the TCS New York Marathon and experienced one of the best days of my life.
- Shortly after that, I entered the lottery to run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in 2018…and got selected.
- After five years in the same role, I decided to leave my job to embark on a new challenge.
- I took a solo trip to an ashram in the Bahamas where I spent four incredible days in paradise. I’ve always wanted to go to an ashram and I’m glad I finally did. Namaste.
- I went to my friend Virginia’s cabin in Panorama, Canada and tried skiing for the second time in my life. I had a full-on meltdown in front of my friends but I’m open to trying it again. I also hopped on my first sled.
- I fell in love with someone who continues to show me what true, real, lasting love looks like. Thanks, Bumble. I love you, Ian.
This is year three of my yes journey. I fought for this. I pleaded for this. I said yes for this. Will there be a fourth year? Without a doubt. It’s just the way things are now.
For those of you who had a tough 2017, I want you to know that I’m sorry. There are better days ahead. I can promise you that. In the meantime, just keep swimming and please surround yourself with love.
As we send off 2017, let’s cheers to the to the hardships that became our teachers. Let’s cheers to the courage that carried us toward the uncertain. Let’s cheers to always trusting in our wildest potentials. And let’s cheers to the year that showed us just how resilient we are.
Happy New Year, my friends. Let’s kick ass in 2018 and keep on saying yessssssss.