It’s just before eight o’clock in the morning, Anchorage time, on the last day of 2016. It’s dark as night as I write this; the sun won’t rise for at least another two hours. Winter in Alaska means limited daylight – today, there are only about six hours between sunrise and sunset – and I can’t lie: the darkness lends a certain heaviness to everything. It’s strangely disorienting to spend so many waking hours in the black, and the temptation to huddle indoors where it’s light (and warm) is real. But it’s also incredibly beautiful here. Anchorage sits at the base of the Chugach Mountains, with their majestic, snowcapped peaks towering above the city. This time of year, Christmas lights twinkle against freshly fallen snow, and even the frozen, somewhat ominous ice floes on Cook Inlet appear to sparkle as though they’re made of magic.
I’m not sure what 2017 will bring – none of us can know what the future holds – but in as much as I can control my own destiny, I’ve been making plans for some big life changes in the year ahead. And so, it felt sort of fitting to end 2016 in the place where I grew up. I like to think of it as going back in order to go forward.
For a lot of people, 2016 was a difficult year. It was for me, too. But if I’m honest, despite its challenges, it was still one of the best I’ve had in a while. It was the first year since 2011 that I can honestly say ended more hopeful than it began. It was the first year since losing so many people that I love, that I felt something like true healing beginning to take hold. And it was the first year since everything spun so violently out of control that I slipped back into the driver’s seat, grabbed the steering wheel, and started living my life on purpose, again.
2016 was not a perfect year. But as I reflect upon what’s past and where I’d like to go next, I’m proud of myself for one big reason: this past year, I did a hell of a lot of things that scared me. I wrote a play that was personal and came from my heart and I put it out into the world. I traveled alone to one of the largest cities on earth, an unfamiliar maze where I didn’t know my way around and didn’t speak the language. I boarded a bus to Nevada with a whole bunch of people I didn’t know, to spend two days knocking on strangers’ doors, asking them to vote for a political candidate that I believed in. And – perhaps the biggest thing – I spoke up for myself, more than once, and asked for what I wanted.
As it turns out, there’s magic to be found when you push fear aside and take a leap. My play received excellent reviews at the biggest theatre festival on the west coast of the United States. I met one of my heroes (Don’t judge me. Or do, I don’t care.), Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, on an airplane. I visited a psychic medium and found – for the first time in four years – some peace around my mother’s death. And through travel, new experiences and some truly lovely people who came into my life, I rediscovered a sense of joy and wonder that I feared I had lost forever.
So, as I think about what I want 2017 to look like, I have only one New Year’s resolution: to say yes. Say yes to everything I want to ask for, but I’m afraid to. Say yes to every good thing that I’m not sure that I deserve. Say yes to every challenge I’m not sure I’m ready for, every risk I’m not sure I’m brave enough for. Just say yes, and trust that whatever comes next will work itself out.
Happy New Year, friends.
Until next time,
YES Sarah! Lovely!
Thank you Jodi!
Beautiful! Alaska is definitely on the bucket list!
Thank you! It’s amazing – you gotta go!
Happy New Year, Sarah !
Happy New Year!
It’s amazing how transformative letting go of limiting doubts and fears can be. In 2016, when I also started to “say yes” the results were wonderful but the feeling of relief and carefreeness was worth it in itself! It’s a great approach. Good Luck for 2017.
I’m glad to hear that, Karen. Thank you, and I’m wishing you a happy 2017 as well!
Thanks for your post, really uplifting to read and interesting that you reflect our own experience in the darkest time of year, that there is light and lightness to be found. Hope 2017 is a great one for you 🙂
Thank you so much! Happy New Year!
Happy new year! Living life on purpose sounds like something I should also be striving for.
Happy New Year! It’s not always easy, Jackie, but I think we all should strive for that!
Happy New Year! I was also in Anchorage during Christmas this year. Amazing view, and cold wind made the thoughts clean and sharp.
Happy New Year! I hope you had a great trip!
Hi Sarah, found my way here while I wandered on wordPress. Lovely photograph of Alaska. I am in Edinburgh and thought it may not be as bad, the limited daylight does do something to the brain that I dislike…makes me grumpy!
It was nice to read about your 2016, to see that you have found some hope at the en of the year and that you look forward to the positive turn your life will take now. I truly hope you have a beautiful warm 2017. Sending lots of love and luck your way.
PS, looking forward to reading more of your posts. Cheers.
Wow thank you so much for such a lovely message! Wishing you a Happy New Year!
My family and I were just discussing Alaska during our holiday break. I love your pictures and truly can’t wait to make my way over there. Happy New Year Blessings.
Thanks Liz! It’s really beautiful (with much more warmth and daylight!) in the summer, around the June summer solstice. But winter is when you get the true Alaska experience. 😉 Happy New Year to you!
Thank you for an inspiring post looking forward to 2017!
Thank you and happy new year!
Happy New Year EDM – I appreciate your honest and positive sense of things and emotions; even when they can seem a little ‘dry’ eh hmm. That’s my own experience talking. Anyhow, Peace, Love & Light for you and those you love, and for ALL of us sharing this Universe, enjoy the gifts we have been given!
Happy New Year!
Gorgeous. I’m looking forward to a positive and change-ful 2017 too. The most of luck to you!
Thank you so much. Wishing you a Happy New Year!
Sarah I discovered your blogs in 2016 & by far they have been my favourite to read over the last 12 months! I frequently identify with so much of what you say. Keep up the good work, what an incredible year you have had! I really admire you! Best wishes for 2017 x
What incredibly kind words, Katie, thank you so much! I’m glad you’ve been enjoying reading the blog. Happy New Year!
brilliant x lovely to
Love this post 🙂 !
Lovely scenery – Thank you for sharing. If you have time, check out my latest blog post at https://tootinghustle.wordpress.com/2017/01/24/views-and-motivation/ and let me know what you think!
Happy blogging x