As I reflect on this year's footsteps, I see the struggle between the darkness and the light. I went into the darkness more than I liked, and left John, Mandy, and Nick there more than I wanted.
I am grateful for the darkness for teaching me to let go. I cannot control other people's paths. All I can do is shine the light to lead them through the shadows until they can see the sunlight on their own. When I tried to control everything, I created my own darkness. When I accepted the changes this year brought, I found new hope and new blessings I never imagined for myself.
I also found the darkness in myself. Feeling insecure, letting my perfectionism paralyze me, and the fear of not being good enough to be loved almost cost me my childhood dream of getting my doctorate. I wish my personal issues hadn't happened at the same time my family was struggling and my professional life changing, but I am stronger now in the broken parts.
The lightness of the year came from focusing on others instead of myself. Making new friends, helping others instead of worrying about my own work, supporting my friends, helping the homeless, and the joy of dressing up as a character for children's charities. These were the moments I shone brightest and remembered my truest purpose.
I have been broken and sometimes the cracks still ache, but I am Kintsukuroi. I have rejoined the pieces instead of throwing myself away. This year I will focus on the beauty of the golden repair and not demean myself for breaking.