This is how 2017 began

By: Gabriela Yareliz

It began with a kiss from the most amazing man, after I had stuffed my face with grapes, per Spanish tradition.

I was surrounded by my loved ones, and Antena3 TV Española was blasting in the background. Squeaky, the cat, had gone missing, and the night was humid and dark.

On the second day of the year, I traveled home to NYC, almost projectile vomiting in our Lyft driver’s car (I could almost hear him silently praying). And on the third day, I started the day off by going to the doctor and getting a referral to a breast clinic for a potential biopsy, thanks to some swollen lymph nodes.

I wrote a post on how 2016 began and ended. It was a year of a lot of changes and “dark faith.” I wrote at the end of 2016 that I wanted 2017 to be a year of growth and harvest. It was definitely a year of growth. I learned so much about myself. And, I continue to.

I could go through the list of everything that made this year insane, but there would also be a list on everything that made this year unique and special.

So, what do I want from 2018? I believe in speaking things out into the world, in faith. Feliz (my best friend) said 2018 would be her breakout year (makes it sound like she is a pop star!). And I know it will be.

I want 2018 to be a year of strength and health.

Here are some things I have started to cultivate, as 2017 is ending, that I want to take with me into the new year:


I started doing a gratitude journal. It has changed my mornings. Yesterday, in my rush to work out, I forgot to do it, and I really felt the difference. My morning was moodier than it had been in the past days. I have realized that reflecting on gratitude, every morning, and deciding how I want to make the day awesome, has changed my tune. I am still working through it and growing.

I have been dealing with a lot of changes (what is life but change?), and some of it has been very emotional, but the Five Minute Journal has grounded me and really brought me joy. I totally recommend it. I added it to my prayer and devotion time in the morning, recently. Call it a form of meditation.


I am working out, and hard. At first, I was going at it a little too hard, but I have been making necessary adjustments based on what my body is telling me. I decided to focus on strength, mostly doing weights and barre type exercise. I have felt such a big difference, even in the way I have been sleeping.

I was inspired by Nikki and Brie Bella. I saw Nikki on Dancing With the Stars, and I saw how she made an amazing recovery after almost breaking her neck. I realized I had no excuse. I wanted to feel that good and have strength like that in my own body. So, my journey began. It has been so fun!


I am so grateful for the awesome health inspiration I have found this year in @drmonavand, @Brittnisoo, @rainbowplantlife, @Kushascorner and @Melissawoodhealth. They share so much valuable information, not just about fitness but about how to start your morning in a detox way (eating fruit), probiotics (which my mom got me hooked on– such a game changer), and awesome recipes.

Through research, MindBodyGreen, Goop, The Chalkboard Mag, and The Skinny Confidential etc., I made my own anti-inflammatory plan of supplements and diet changes. My skin looks different, and I experience way less pain. I want to keep learning.


I ditched my foundation, guys. I am also using cleansers that are not chemical based and harsh but ones with organic ingredients. I decided to let my diet and lifestyle determine how my skin looks rather than how much makeup I was wearing. Sometimes, that means that when I eat something that triggers a breakout, there are less ways to hide it. But I am trying to learn from this and listen to my body.

I switched to RMS, Tata Harper and softer products. As I continue to use up some products, I will keep finding better, more natural alternatives.

I realized this year how we live so fast-paced, and we don’t pay attention to our bodies until it’s often too late, and it’s about to give out. We should pay attention. It’s our life, after all.


Sometimes, it’s hard to step out of our own experience and find a middle ground for some things, when we have a partner that is very different from us. And I mean things like: consumerism (maximalist vs. minimalist), adventure (rough it vs. high maintenance), politics, ideas on traveling, ideas on how people should live, parenting, etc.

Each family and partnership creates their world and their rules on how they will live. I am looking forward to figuring this out more, as time passes, and growing more. (I am only half of the equation).

In a relationship, we get polished, and we grow. We get to become a better version of ourselves– and inevitably, we change.

I think that sometimes we need to sit back and remember the child we were. We need to remember everything we have been through, and the fact that it shapes us deeply, and we carry baggage with us. And then, we need to let it go, and be open to experiencing things we may have never imagined and to find ourselves in great, unexpected places. We have to be open to live. And when both sides do this, that’s when magic happens. That’s what we call, family.


Modern Witnesses has been an incredible passion project for me, and I hope it keeps growing, and that the community will keep sharing.


2018 is less about resolutions and more about growing in the things I have started to explore and develop. I want to be a better woman, a better partner, a better professional, a better writer, and a more vulnerable and joyful individual.

What are your hopes for the new year?

What is your word/theme for 2018?

I am sure the journey will bring its challenges and beautiful moments. We will find ourselves in the valley and find ourselves at the top. We just need to keep growing, if not, we are dying.

I want to end by saying, I am grateful to a God who listens. A God who intervenes. A God who heals. A God who is waiting to take us to that next level of living, if we let Him. A God who is faithful.

I am grateful for family. Blood is thicker than water, always. We have gone through so much together. And we will continue to walk, even if it is through temporal darkness, together.

I am grateful for my friends, though many of the closest ones are far, we stay united in prayer, and we continue to grow together, support each other and have vision.

I am grateful to have such a great partner (great is such an understatement, he is beyond incredible). He has weathered storms with me and made me laugh so much. He is always down for adventure and exploring new places or topics of conversation, and I appreciate that. He has been patient and supportive, and while we are incredibly different, he finds my over-communicative and Type A ways endearing (or so he leads me to believe). Truly, the most amazing man.

I think that when you have been through so much in life, and you swear to yourself that you will never depend on someone– it’s hard to be vulnerable, later, even when you want to be. And vulnerable not just in word, but in deed. It takes a lot to be like, okay, I am going to allow this person to take the lead or to make this decision, and I will go along with it. Or, I am going to trust this person. Something so simple can trigger fears in the least trampled among us. We have all been trampled, to some degree.

It’s like learning to dance, and realizing that in this dance, you can’t do it alone. And while this sounds so basic and expounding on this is an entirely different post, I am so grateful that relational wounds are healed by good, genuine relationships and the people who are patient enough to love us, despite the scars.

2017, you have been a journey of growth, and I can’t wait to continue this journey with all I have gained from this past year.

2018 will be a year of strength.


Published by Gabriela Yareliz

Gabriela is a writer, editor and attorney. She loves the art of storytelling, and she is based in NYC.

One thought on “This is how 2017 began

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: