How I Made 2017 the Best Year Ever

by Erica

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2017 has easily been the best year of my life. I spent so many of my days wondering how I could have possibly gotten so lucky to have this existence. I’ve had countless afternoons where my face hurt from smiling, and moments where my eyes have welled up in tears of joy.

Do you want to know how I did it?

I bet you do, because isn’t that what everyone is seeking during this time of year… the secret to a happy life, just in time to declare “New Year, New Me!” on Facebook?

If you’re looking for a quick fix, you may not love my answer.

There is a Road, No Simple Highway..

2016, while very blissful at times, was also the hardest year of my life. I felt as though the universe, or whoever may be running this show, really had it out for me.

My strength was constantly being tested, and on the worst days it felt like my world was crumbling around me.

You know the saying, “when it rains, it pours”? That took on a whole new meaning for me.

On November 18th, 2016 – everything I had been feeling was kicked into suuuuper overdrive due to the loss of our friend, Marc.

It was a Friday night like any other – we were all getting ready for a concert when it happened. He went into his bedroom after a shower, and never came out.

While we were in the living room watching Kung Fu Panda, his life slipped through our fingers. And there was nothing that we could do to turn back time and rewrite the story.

The gang’s all here – Alex (Velma), Joe (Fred), Marc (Scooby), Tim (Shaggy) and I (Daphne)!

To understand the magnitude of despair that I felt, you’d have to know how incredible of a person Marc was, and the enormous impact he had on my life during the 2 years I knew him.

He was the kind of person who’d make you laugh so hard that you’d cry.

He was the one who “brought us on the bus” – which is deadhead lingo for the person who first showed Tim and I the magic of the Grateful Dead, and the loving community of hippies that comes with it.

He also introduced us to our best friends, Alex and Joe – who we became inseparable with from the moment we connected.

Marc’s short presence in my life impacted almost every facet of the way that I live, and for that I will be forever grateful.

Every minute of my exsistence felt heavy after that day. Depression, anxiety, and general fear took over every ounce of my waking consciousness.

Turning to my trusty coping mechanism, Sleep, didn’t work either. Seldom could I sleep through the night, and whenever I was able to, I was met with bad dreams.

By the time Christmas rolled around, I was exhausted. 

Whenever people talk about mourning, they only talk about how sad they feel – never about how physically draining it can be.

I was tired of struggling through my days, so I decided to make a change for the new year. I’d leave all of the bad shit in 2016 and start fresh in 2017.

The goal was to start living my best life, and to do pursue all of the things that make me happy.

And I did just that.

Strangecreek, Memorial Day Weekend 2017. This was the first of 9 events that we scattered Marc’s ashes at. After, we danced the weekend away in his honor.

2017 Was The Best Year Ever

2017 was incredibly fulfilling.

Most notably, we saw so much live music. The amount of events we attended during this year, would likely surpass a lifetime of concerts for most.

People have called us crazy for spending so much time and money on this little “hobby”, but obviously, they don’t get music like we do. If you find something that makes you feel alive – pursue it to the fullest extent!

Each and every one of these events served as a form of church, providing us with much needed healing and happiness.

These experiences are infinitely more valuable than money or time spent doing something that doesn’t feed your soul!

SIlly faces & 100% humidity at Lockn’ Music Festival in Arrington, VA
Our 4th Dead & Company show of the summer at Citi Field in NYC

Another huge step in the direction of our dreams, was the purchase of our RV!

A long road trip around the country has been a dream of mine since I was young, but (..because adulting sucks!) it always seemed like just that, a dream.

…Until one day in October when we took a chance. Now we have a 1985 Toyota Coachmen that needs a lot of TLC, and a plan to hit the road indefinitely come spring.

Tiny home owners/future nomads

Even more important than the things that I did this year, are the things that I learned. Losing someone so special made me realize that our time here is finite, and tomorrow is never promised. (Cliche.. I know. But it’s true!)

So, now more than ever, I hug my people. And let them know that they’re loved as often as I can. (Maybe even too much sometimes…)

I’ve learned to appreciate every single day, and to fill my life with things that I truly love. Whether it be live music, good people, or something as small as a hot coffee on my way to work, things that bring happiness to my life are all I have time for now. 

Happy hippies at Organic Smiles Music Festival, Middletown CT.

My Advice to Anyone Who Will Listen

With 2018 rapidly approaching, I invite you to think about how you want to live your life in this new year.

Is there something you’ve always always dreamt of doing? If so, start figuring out how to make it happen. Taking baby steps towards your dreams is better than being stuck in one place.

Do you know what makes you truly happy? If so – do that as much as you possibly can.

If not – start trying new things! Things don’t change unless you change them.

Most of all… treat yourself well, and surround yourself with good people who care about you. I have no time for people or things that don’t bring positivity to my life, and neither should you.

Phil Lesh & Terrapin Family Band at LOCKN’ 2017

My final piece of advice to ring in 2018 (which is definitely not for everyone) is to go to a music festival! Just try it. I attend a handful every summer and they’re the highlight of my year.

For me, there is nothing more exciting than arriving at a festival after the long winter. These events are where I’ve met my closest friends, and the place that I go when I need to escape from the heaviness of the world we live in.

If you enjoy music or camping, and want to meet some of the most interesting, inspiring people in your area – this is the best way to do it. Smaller festivals with under 10,000 attendees are happening all around the country, from April to October.

If you’re interested in attending one, but aren’t sure where to start, comment below or message me on facebook! I’d love to help.

Have a happy new year. I’ll be back, and thriving in 2018!

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