There’s a collective energy in the air at this time of year. Wafting all around us are feelings of freshness, motivation, potential for change, new opportunities, and chances to make ourselves and our lives better — promoted and perpetuated by newspapers, magazines, books, social media, our friends and family, and of course, ourselves.
I’m a sucker for it, as I think most of us are. I love starting fresh in the New Year! Usually, we fall back on New Year’s resolutions which don’t tend to lead to lasting change (to which I can definitely attest.) In fact, nine years ago in my very first column for My Edmonds News, I suggested making lifestyle changes instead of resolutions.
Which reminds me . . . nine years ago feels like a very long time ago. I had no idea what was in store for me. So, so much, as it turns out.
I have experienced not just great and wonderful life changes but (it feels more like) some incredibly difficult and challenging times. It seems that no matter how much I learn and grow and change, I still feel woefully unprepared to weather some of these tough circumstances, particularly in this last year. What I thought was simply a very unfortunate accident on June 10, that might just “mess up our plans for the summer” (this is what I literally thought as I was lying there on the concrete cradling my deformed, badly broken wrist) actually ended up morphing into a pile-on of indescribable events, circumstances, and what has felt like a lot of bad, bad luck. I’ll spare you the details but the list could fill this page.
Reader, it has brought me to my knees. I really thought I could make my way through anything, but the last seven months have made me question everything.
I always have said to my clients when they were going through challenges and tough times, “sometimes you just have to keep your chin above the water.” I guess I managed to do that (despite feeling like my chin was rarely above the water), because here I sit writing, thinking the last seven months may actually be appearing in the rearview mirror (I’m finally able to type again, for which I am so grateful, but truthfully, it has taken days of effort to write this.)
Which brings me to the great Coach Dan Potts, my beloved late husband, whose birthday falls on Jan. 1. At some point after he died, I started posting the following on Advanced Athlete’s social media accounts on the 1st of every January. Dan may be gone but his words endure and continue to inspire. He wrote this for his athletes, but he meant it for all of us.
This year, more than any since I lost him, I needed this:
New Year’s Note by Coach Dan Potts
Hi guys- Just a final note on the year. I’ve never been a big fan of New Years resolutions, but I do like reflecting at this time of year and having those honest conversations with ourselves. It’s our chance to begin anew and let the mistakes of the previous year fall away. Ultimately this thing called life is our chance to grow, Mentally, Physically, Spiritually. It’s the reason we exist, and part of that existence is our travel in and through our challenges, trials, pain, and conquering our fears. It’s a joyous process, but one that has a better chance of success if we indeed are aware of it. So, this year, try and be present in your own life just a little more, reach a little further than before, and understand that you don’t need to see the finish line, but make the attempt to participate with your eyes open more often this year and with your head up knowing that your presence here really matters..to all of us. You are the Best the Universe has to offer and that is something to be proud of.
Keep working hard and know that no matter what, I’m always in your corner.
As I carefully make my way up off my knees, slowly regaining strength and purpose, I am so appreciative for all of our collective January energy, as well as the timely reminder from Coach Dan that I have the awareness to choose how I participate in this New Year.
Because Dan is in my corner. And no matter what, so am I.
Happy New Year!
— By Pritam Potts
Coach Pritam Potts is a writer and strength coach. After 16-plus years of training athletes and clients of all ages as co-owner of Edmonds-based Advanced Athlete LLC, she now lives in Dallas, Texas. She writes about health & fitness, grief & loss, love & life at www.mrsathlete.net and www.advancedathlete.com.