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I came home and cried tonight. If I’m being honest, I’m still crying.

My sister is in town this week, visiting from North Carolina where she moved to start over again. Wednesdays are my weeknight with my daughter, so I suggested we have dinner. Let’s do Urban Fondue, I said. The kids haven’t been in ages and love it.

Wine and conversation flowed easily. My son took turns snuggling me and my sister, and my daughter tried the wine like she always does and gave her expert opinion. (She probably has a better palate than I do what with my long-term commitment to boxed wine.) By the time we finished all of the bread, cheese, and chocolate, I couldn’t tell if my smile was from the wine or from genuine happiness.

Once upon a time, that would’ve been true, but that’s not the case these days. I just walked home, hand in hand with my son and someone so wonderful I can still hardly believe I get to call them mine, and I have never been so happy.

As rough as 2017 was for so many of us, the past year has brought incredible growth. For me personally, it was an unbelievable year, even as difficult as parts of it were to get through.

And I am just so grateful.

My kids are in schools that are great matches for them, and they are both happy and healthy. I live in a beautiful neighborhood in a great city, surrounded by friends on all sides. The relationship I’m in is so, so good. I landed a great job that has been everything I wanted regarding values, pay, and flexibility.

Even with what feels like a long way to go to be 100% where I want to, I can’t believe how lucky I am. How far I’ve come. How much help I’ve gotten along the way.

For the first time, I’m not afraid. I’m not worried I’m going to self-sabotage or run or fall apart because for the first time, I don’t need or want to.

Every year for the past three years, I’ve chosen a word to set the tone for the year. And this year, it was just so obvious. After so many years of strife and struggling and pushing for whatever is next, it’s time to let that go.

This year, I choose joy.

2018, I’m ready.