Looking Back at 2017: A Year of Personal Transformation

If 2016 was a year that reflected change for me, then 2017 is a year that embodied transformation.

What’s the difference between change and transformation, you ask? For me, change was moving to a new state and starting a new life in a completely difference place. But transformation is personal and represents evolving in a gradual, larger and more meaningful way. Yet the two work hand-in-hand — for me, the change is what brought about the transformation. That’s what 2017 has meant to me.

Twenty-seventeen has been transformative in many ways. First, my world-view has transformed. This is a direct result of moving to a new place, and meeting people I wouldn’t have otherwise encountered. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to see people and the country in a new way. Living in that new space helped me transform my own beliefs and biases.

Second, I re-evaluated what I was doing with respect to my work and writing, and made a choice to really focus on the writing and telling stories that matter to me and that can have an impact in the world. I defined who I am and what I want to stand for; and as a result, I published my first national op-ed piece about how moving from a blue state to a red state has changed my life.

Third, I embarked on a physical and mental transformation when I continued my running habit for more than one year. In the later half of 2017, I challenged myself further with physical activity I never dreamed I had the ability to do. My trainer/friend said to me, “You’ve proven you have the ability to do whatever you set out to do, whether it’s running, participating in a race, or TRX.” Her comment made me realize that the physical activity I was doing led to a mental transformation as well.

Of course 2017 was not without challenges. But I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason, and that the difficult times are given to us in order to move on to something greater and more meaningful.

I’ve been making these year-end photo collages for the past eight years. They give me a chance to reflect on all the memories during the year. I see transformation in these photos, the most visual aspect is seeing Sophie grow up and watching the natural environment change each season. I really love that my physical space is a constant reminder that life passes by and transformation (both good and bad) happens on a regular basis. It makes me realize that nothing is permanent, and there is always possibility to make a change.

Thank you for reading Leah’s Thoughts and being part of my journey. Happy New Year, and here’s to 2018!

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