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Dear 2016

[written January 11, 2017]

It is important to reflect. Sometimes, it is helpful to share our story.

Five years ago, in 2012, I went through a transitory phase of life, one that forced me to face myself and the world around me like never before.

Some mornings, I woke up feeling free and connected to life and the beautiful world of possibilities. Other mornings, I woke up to a cloud of shadows and couldn’t get out of bed.

During the dark times, what’s the point? was a recurring question that my mind couldn’t silence. Not just what’s the point of getting out of bed that morning. More, what was the point of getting out of bed, ever? As anyone who has entertained thoughts like this, you know that this is a very lonely and dangerous place for the mind to live.

As this past year came to a close, I found myself taking time to reflect, on this past year’s journey and the many lessons learned. One night, after putting my dinner dish on the drying rack, I stood in the middle of my new kitchen and debated which episode of The Office to re-watch for the twelfth time. Before I came to an answer, my eyes locked onto a little blue book sitting on the living room table.

My 2012 travel journal.

I opened up the precious, tattered book, and began flipping through the pages of fading ink. I read, flipped a few pages, and read some more. Flip, read. Flip, read. I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

Perhaps now is the time to say that 2016 really kicked my ass.

Like, really, really kicked my ass.

So, here we are. 1/11/2017. It took eleven days into the New Year to even muster the courage to express this past year with words. Writing has always given me a sense of clarity and peace, a therapeutic channel to let go of the mind’s inner torment.

But I didn’t want to write, because I knew that once I put pen to paper, everything would become real. The truth would no longer be able to hide in the traps of my mind, where I could protect myself from it behind shadows of insecurity and fear. No, once it was written, the truth would be given light, and with it life.

I sat down at my living room table with pen and paper many times over the last few weeks, fully intent on facing myself and expressing the ups and downs of 2016. But each time, I got up and said What’s the point?

Instead, I watched The Office. Great show, doesn’t solve an existential crisis.

The problem is that keeping things in doesn’t solve anything.

Letting it out is the first step in letting it go.

Flip, read.

Flip, read.

As I read through the pages of my travel journal, I found comfort in the words scrawled across the thin black lines. The words were raw, full of emotion, and unapologetically sincere. My past was reaching out to save me.

Thank goodness 2012 Arik didn’t talk himself out of writing. Thank goodness he didn’t settle on what’s the point?

There is great beauty in the human experience, even when it brings you to your knees.

There is a point to it all, sometimes we just can’t see it yet.

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