Happy Imperfect New Year - Strap In and Ride 2017!

From Finding Nemo:

Marlin: I promised I'd never let anything happen to him.

Dory: Hmm. That's a funny thing to promise.

Marlin: What?

Dory: Well, you can't never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him. Not much fun for little Harpo.

There are moments in life when everything is perfect. Everyone you love is healthy, happy and loves you back. You have money in the bank, a roof over your head and food in your belly. You have joy, hope and purpose. Your heart is full.

But guess what? The bad times are imminent.

Projects you care deeply about will fail. You will love someone who will not love you back. You will gain more weight than you expected. The world will disappoint you time and time again. People you love will get sick and die.

Last year, someone I loved died. It was someone I had not seen for years but for much of my life I had loved her and been very close to her. The pain hit me hard as the death of loved ones tends to do, and I wanted to smother it. I didn’t want to rant or cry or feel the pain. I tried to stifle it the way I used to. I cried and I thought of my friend a lot. I stopped fighting it, and instead I just felt the pain. I remembered her beauty, her grace, her smile and her laughter. She was an amazing person and a great friend and she deserved to be remembered. By allowing myself to feel the pain, eventually I was able to let her go.

It would be great if no bad things ever happened, but they will. When bad things happen to me, I embrace the pain. I stand in it, wallow in it for a bit and then attempt to step out of it. I ignore the temptations to blunt the pain with alcohol, drugs, work, or anything that allows me to procrastinate the inevitable feelings that come with living a full life.

We get exactly one life to live (unless you believe in reincarnation, which would be pretty cool), and there are so many wonderful things and pure moments of ecstasy in it. You have to be fully present to feel every last delectable drop of joy.

As we go into 2017, I know that all of us are hoping it will be perfect. 2017 will be the year we finally get six-pack abs and wrinkles will go away.  Our relationships will all be positive, and the sky will rain with hundred dollar bills. I’m pretty sure that isn’t really going to happen for me or for you. In 2017 there will be moments of joy and pain intertwined, creating another year in your unique life’s tapestry. But if we make it through the year, we will likely count ourselves lucky to be in this world adding our own gifts and touching the lives of those around us. For 2017 my wish for you is that the joy far outweighs the pain, and that you come through all of it one year wiser.

Life is a crazy roller coaster. Strap in and enjoy the ride, and don't forget your seat belt. Sit next to someone who will scream with you when it gets scary and hold their hands up in air with you as you ascend the highest crest. But, ride the damn roller coaster and try to keep your eyes open so you can see all of it!

The one thing I hope people say when I die is this - “Eve lived her life like a beast. She wrung every morsel of living out of it!”  Oh and if they could add that I made them laugh and had the best hair ever that wouldn’t hurt.
Much of life is made up of rough, scary times so you might as well learn to live it and when things get rough . . . Guess what? The good times are imminent. I promise.

(This piece originally appeared on The Huffington Post.)