It’s been a rough year.

I feel like 2017 has been a year of conflict and unrest – in our country, our community and in my own life. For the sake of the column (and for our sanity), I’ll stick to the latter two.

I started the year so hopeful. I had just ended a less than ideal relationship, moved into my own apartment with Cosmo cat, and had a plan to have fun with my year. Then I introduced another man into my life and things just didn’t go the way I planned.

Now, before this year is over, I’ve already ended that relationship, gone back to my brunette roots (with a hint of red, of course) and made new plans for the future – plans that I intend to keep.

Sure, some things are pretty typical New Year’s resolutions. I want to sleep more and eat healthier, but mostly, I just want to be myself without feeling pressured or anxious or guilty. I want to think of myself first.

I’m tired of being overly accommodating and walking on eggshells for what I think are irrational reasons. I was swept away in other peoples’ problems and it drained me. I think, finally, I’ve learned my lesson.

Although my emotional life has been chaotic and, at times, I’ve felt disenchanted and a little cynical, that’s not who I am. That’s not how I am. I’m free spirited, happy, optimistic and easy going. Yes, I know what I want in life and I’m going to work for it, but I also love life and love to have fun. I won’t let the bad times leave my hopeless. I’m still the girl who believes in fairytale endings. It’s just who I am.

And good things do happen. This year we have seen so many good people come out of the woodwork. After the fires, for example, endless support poured into the community and community members themselves made sure to help one another in any way they could. I think, in some ways, there was more help being offered than was even needed. Yet, still, I go on Facebook and see people offering gift cards, money, furniture and clothing to people affected by the fires.

Napa, you really stepped up.

And, in my own times of darkness, so have the people in my life. This year I learned that you just have to tell someone that you need the help and, if they are the person you think they are, they’ll come through.

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When I needed a friend that night I broke up with my boyfriend, someone was there. When I needed a hug after work, someone was there. When I needed a meal, I was invited to dinner. And when I had nowhere to go on Christmas, I was invited to the most amazing holiday feast I’ve ever known.

Even readers have offered me suggestions for my personal problems and I appreciate that too. One person, who I haven’t had a chance to email back, even offered to buy cat food for Cosmo.

All this gives me hope for the future and, when I’m feeling like everything is going wrong, I can look back at these unsung heroes and my faith in humanity is restored.

I’m ready for 2017 to be over and I am so looking forward to spending 2018 with all of you.

Thanks!

Love, Jersey Girl

Maria Sestito is the Napa Valley Register public safety reporter. Jersey Girl runs every other Sunday. Follow her on Twitter at @RiaSestito or email her at msestito@napanews.com.

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Public Safety Reporter

Maria Sestito is the Napa Valley Register public safety reporter. She covers breaking news as well as crime and courts. Maria came to the Napa Valley Register in 2015 after working at as a reporter and photographer at The Daily News in Jacksonville, NC. S