It had cooled down. I finished work and despite my exhaustion, I decided to go ahead and do it.

I pulled on my running clothes and trainers and set the app to go. Week 3, of my 8-week program, having missed 5 days because I had been feeling under the weather.

This evening I was finally feeling well enough though everything in me was screaming to have a cup of tea, grab a good book and go to bed. Even my dog didn’t feel like going out, that’s strange for her, she’s always up for a walk.

The first five minutes was a warm-up and I found myself slogging even through that. Then I started a light jog and turned on a podcast. Within ten minutes, I was okay, only barely conscious that my knees felt creaky and I was crawling at a snail’s pace.

I had reached the half-way mark and relieved, turned to head back the way I had come. I felt a combination of self-pity for my aching body and recent days of illness and defiance that I would put myself through this sacrifice for the sake of… well, whatever nonsense I used in that moment about fitness and weight gain.

Almost blind in my narcissistic preoccupation, I nearly missed my neighbor, a friend who has recently experience a heart-breaking loss – out walking his dog.  I paused the app, the podcast and my self-deprecation… and shared a few words.

His face was so sad. I asked him how he’s doing, and he said, ‘slowly, slowly, there’s a lot to be grateful for’. He whole demeanor looked broken and yet, he had uplifting words for me.

The run home was easy and relatively fast. I guess I was running from the shame of my narcissism. Who am I to feel miserable? When I have so much? I should be grateful.

Without beating myself up, I just got a shot of reality that made me reflect just a little bit more. And this is the absolute right time for reflection.

We’ve just celebrated Rosh Hashana – the Jewish New Year – and soon is the day of Atonement – when we pray to G-d to write our name in the book of life. But also, it’s a time to atone for our wrong-doings, to ask for forgiveness to those we have hurt or suffering we could have but have not eased.

I’ve had a busy, challenging and amazing year. Lots of ups and downs. Lots of work and lots of life stuff came my way. The year began with the loss of someone close. A reminder that though it’s the only inevitability, death is always a shock. This year was full of travel, long haul, exhausting and yet exciting and super-interesting. This year was full of family intrigues, lots of trials and challenges, isn’t that always the way with kids. And yet they are a year taller, a year stronger, a year more beautiful. This year was full of amazing conversations with inspiring people who are trying to change the world. This year had challenging relationships, near and far – lots of laughter and lots of tears.

I made some crappy choices this year – and I made some magnificent ones.

This was a year where the trails and triumphs of humanity raised its ugly, vicious and glorious head to be scorned, admired and survived.

It’s been quite a year.

And above all, this has been a year of growth – more work, more play and more love. And I am so truly grateful.

Finally, I ask of you, my dear reader and all, for forgiveness. For any wrong that I have done. For any pain I have caused. I am so grateful to you for being here; sometimes reading, sometimes engaging, sometimes reaching out or joining a program. Sometimes criticizing. Yet always here. Thank you. And here’s to a wonderful, fulfilling and inspiring year to come, where you reach your goals and live your ideal life or at least learn, grow and love in the process.

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