As the end of another year creeps closer and closer I can’t help but reflect on what a difference a year makes. Sometimes I feel like another year has come and gone so fast and I’m exactly the same, but that’s just not true. While I realize that so many things have stayed the same in the past year, my life is also vastly different. As I closed out 2014 and dove head first into 2015, my family was still recovering from a mentally and emotionally draining health scare that my brother went through in late 2014. In the early days of 2015, he was in the beginning stages of recovery, and we as a family were still recovering emotionally, holding each other extra close, and looking forward to the future. In a twist of fate, I got sick with a stomach bug and had to leave my New Year’s Eve party early. I began 2015 at home on my couch, munching on pretzels and watching the ball drop with my mom and dad. Though it was unplanned, it was almost peaceful starting the year with them. After all that we had gone through I knew I would be emotional when the clock struck 12, for I felt so very blessed to be leaving all the pain and suffering of 2014 behind. I had even warned my friends earlier in the evening that I may cry, and I did cry. My tears meant so much, and though I went to bed sick, I knew that 2015 had to be better than 2014. There was no where to go but up.
Though 2015 brought me my own challenges, I can honestly say that it also made me even stronger than 2014 did. This year I underwent not one, not two, but THREE foot surgeries, two of which, were reconstructive surgeries, leaving me home and recovering for an extended period of time. My house arrest brought with it a lot of emotions, boredom, and mild depression, but I got through it. I was excited to begin running again in July, and though by October I knew another foot surgery was looming, this time around I was armed with the knowledge to not let myself get down in the dumps. On November 13th, I once again went under the knife, but I woke up with an attitude that I didn’t have the first time. I refused to let myself be sad. I texted my friends everyday, which kept me in the loop, and made plans to have visitors at home. When in doubt there was nothing that a little music couldn’t heal, and during my recovery I could often be seen with headphones on, dancing on the couch like a maniac, but hey whatever works right? Looking back on 2015 it’s crazy to think that I spent 3 whole months in the house, basically confined to the couch, while my bones grew back. What’s even crazier is looking back and realizing that I was forced to stop running for almost 6 months out of the year.
Those that know me best know that there is no Kaitlin without running. Running not only keeps me in shape, but it means so much more. It makes me happy, makes me feel alive, and helps me to reflect on my life at any given moment. When I’m running I feel unstoppable, and there is truly nothing that I can’t do. Running also helps me to just be grateful for all that my body can do. Sometimes I just run for me, but often times I run for all of those who can’t. When my brother was sick, I ran almost everyday. My life was a hamster wheel of driving back and fourth to North Shore LIJ and running. It helped me to get through, and so often I would cry on my runs because I would think of all of those who couldn’t do what I could, my brother included. I’m not sure how I made it through this year without it, but as of December 24th, my feet are back up and running, and I am so grateful to run head first into 2016!
This year I turned 25, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized the importance of streamlining your life. It’s imperative to be efficient with our time here on earth. That means being mindful of how we spend our time, who we spend our time on, and who we spend our time with. This year brought with it some harsh lessons and harsh realities. Not everyone we meet has our best interests at heart. Some people will use you for their own gains, while other people, I learned, will be the ones that hold you up when you can’t stand on your own. While those lessons are hard ones to learn, they also bring with it a sense of gratefulness for the genuine few in your life.
Lastly, 2015 for me brought an immense amount of both personal growth and self discovery. My family also suffered a huge loss when my grandfather passed away in late September, but with that loss came knowledge. Together as a family we grew and from both my brother’s experience and the loss of a truly spectacular man, I can honestly say that I am grateful for life each and everyday. Though I know for sure that I do not have it all together, I certainly have realized that with the people I have in my life by my side, together we have it all. As I close 2015 I am looking forward to the future and what 2016 has in store for me both personally and professionally. With my surgeries behind me, I am more focused than ever on my hopes, goals and dreams, and I am excited to see my hard work and determination pay off. To all my family, friends and readers, as always thank you for reading and supporting me. I wish you all the happiest and healthiest of years ahead. Xx