Every year, on December 31st, I sit down and think about my hopes and dreams for the upcoming year. I think about the changes I hope to make and how I’ll make them. Without fail, this list entails a slurry of physical insecurities; a plan to get side abs or fix my snaggle teeth. After hours of deliberation, I’m usually left in a giant puddle of feeling sorry for myself. Why do we do that? Why do we spend SO much energy thinking about the things we hate? I think goals are important and help keep our minds focused, but I’m not sure this pursuit was ever meant to be physical. If your NYE goal is to get healthy, in the true meaning of that word, then by all means use 2018 as a catalyst towards that journey, but can we promise each other to not give into the hype of body transformations? Can we work towards loving all our nooks and crannies and butt dimples?

This year I’m choosing to reflect on all the things I’m thankful for. Turns out I’ve got a lot of great stuff going on that doesn’t rely on rock solid obliques or straight teeth. 2017, this one is for you.

I’m thankful for a body that works tirelessly to bring me life. I’ve got heart valves that dance in unison to pump blood, lungs that know exactly how to rise and fall, skin that protects me no matter what hell I put it through and a brain that can be described as nothing short of a miracle. That little folded ball of mush manages to turn electrical signals into action, into memories, into thought. If that’s not magical, I don’t know what is. My body never fails me. I’ve got muscle cells that refuse to quit contracting and teeny tiny ear bones that work like a machine to transfer sound. This body of mine is a goddam masterpiece, how dare I ever think otherwise.

I’m thankful for friends and family that forever surround me with warmth. Their support means that I will never go hungry or without a roof. I’ve got a parade of people in my corner who will always be there when I need them most, who will continue to keep me grounded. I’m grateful to have known the legacy that was my grandfather and to live on in his image. I’m grateful for parents who’ve never doubted me, who will always have open arms and an open door. I’m grateful to the gaggle of girls that have know me since I was 5 and still love me to this day. I’m grateful to never feel alone.

I’m thankful for a job that allows me to come to work knowing that I’m taking a stand for something bigger than myself. I’m thankful to work with a group of women who believe in something so strongly that working behind bullet proof glass doesn’t deter them. Most importantly, I’m grateful to our patients who wake up, tie their shoes, put on their jackets and choose to step through our doors. It’s an honor to serve you.

I’m thankful for the men in my life who’ve proven to me there is hope for gender equality, the men who have shown me this is not a battle of man vs woman, but rather good vs evil. My father raised me just like he raised my brother. My boyfriend would give his life to protect mine. The men I raft with aren’t afraid to ask me to carry the heavy things. This is not the story for everyone, so I’m grateful lucky to be surrounded by males who are good.

I’m thankful for opportunity. I’ve been able to see breathtaking landscapes and taste foods from every corner of the world. I’ve been able to live a frugal, but full life. It’s taken conscious efforts, yes, but nonetheless I know this is a life not everyone gets to live. Beyond the traveling and adventure, I’m thankful for the spaces in my heart that have been opened up through seeing the world. I’m able to understand what it means to deny refugees a safe haven. I know both the terrors of ethnocentrism and the beauty of community projects. Open-mindedness, especially in regards to the world as a whole, is a gift I will never take for granted.

Most notably, I’m thankful for another year to grow and find inspiration. Another 365 days to hike mountains and climb rocks. 12 more months to use my body as a vessel for my minds deepest convictions. 52 weeks to decide the type of impact I want to leave on the world—the places I want to leave my footprints. I get to wake up each morning and take another breath of air.

Thank you 2017.

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