Oh my goodness, the peaks and valleys of this year have been equally epic. For every sucker punch to the gut came a bountiful boon, every slap to the face matched with the warmest embrace, every yank of the rug revealing an even sturdier foundation. Tears and laughter riding always in tandem.

This year began on a high note. I believe it is ending on one, as well.

Practically everything that has happened between then and now has been unexpected. What I thought was going to happen, didn’t. And the sum total of all of it has somehow worked itself out to be of far greater value than I had anticipated. Few years have managed to force me to grow quite as much as this, and those each were years where I gave birth to – or lost – a child.

This year, neither of those events occurred, but I am no less transformed than if they had.

Those kind of life-altering occasions, for me, have always come with a certain kind of unravelling, of bursting open at the seams, which invariably leads to the process of mending. And as any skilled tailor will tell you, a garment can indeed be mended, but it will never be exactly quite the same.

Such is the case for me, today. I am not the same as I was on the first day of this year as I am on the last. I am me, of course, but I have been permanently altered.

I imagine it’s easy to interpret this as having been damaged and repaired, but I don’t think it’s quite that simple. The thing is, life is meant for growing. Just ask any gardener. Growth is the indication that a thing is alive, and a lack thereof is cause for concern. But growth, even for the plant, is an arduous process. The seed must sacrifice itself completely in order to blossom, until there is no seed at all. Except the seed is there. And it’s multiplied. Because every blossom that the seed produces also bears within it the promise of new seeds. The seed has not been damaged. It has become more than it was before.

As I reflected upon this year, I was not surprised to recall that it was, in fact, a leap year. Sounds about right, to be honest. I have done quite a bit of leaping this year. Not always gracefully, often reluctantly, sometimes enthusiastically, ever faithfully. I have leapt, and I have learned.

The only thing left to do at this point is to leap one final time, straight into a brand new year. I’m ready to make the best of whatever comes my way.