At the end of each year, I like to look back over it and think about it in relation to other years. On a personal level, part of me feels like I flew this year and part of me feels like I spent much of the year poised on the precipice of flying on to something new, getting my ducks in a row for whatever that might be. I'm not being intentionally vague. I feel change coming and I am one to always trust my gut. I don't know exactly how it will manifest itself, but I know it's always better to meet new opportunities with your house in order.
In comparison to 2015, this year I tried fewer new recipes, read more books (128 so far this year, 104 last year) and less magazines, watched less TV and went to the movies zero times. I was less productive but more centered, less organized but more open to operating differently. I worried less and lived in the moment more, became more cognizant of my aging dogs, accumulated more eye wrinkles, and felt more tied to the shore than I felt tied to my home.
This year reminded me that there are people who will think critically and connect the dots and people who won't; and people who fear everyone different from them and people who don't. It has upped my activism ante. It has shown me that I can coexist with people who think differently than I do if they can converse intelligently but that I don't gel well with fear mongering or stupidity. I spent a lot of 2016 being tired in my soul of a lot of things not directly related to politics or politicians - but more related to the reactions of people I personally know to things - we don't exist in a vacuum and at some point your viewpoints are who you are. And when someone shows me who they are, I believe them.
I saw a family of baboons scampering along the road in South Africa and watched the sun rise in African skies on safari; I tapped my feet to music in New Orleans; slept out for homeless youth; spent my 39th birthday largely unshowered but happy; joined Jana on The Armchair Librarians podcast even though I detest recording my voice (we're on hiatus until the new year, check out our old episodes here); lost a friend I've had since junior high; gained three new members of my aunt army - Natalia, MBD, and Libby; visited the Chinese Lantern Festival, Magic Gardens, and Liberty One Observation Deck in Philly; celebrated my mom's 60th birthday on the beach; attended Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel + Sting, Counting Crows, and Bruce Springsteen concerts; lost my Gamma; spent MFD's birthday in the butt of a large fake elephant; freaking MET Bruce Springsteen and Jodi Picoult at author events at the library; enjoyed girls weekend at the lake, one up the mountains and two at the shore; went tubing for the first and possibly the last time and went whale watching for the first of a few more times; celebrated my niece's first birthday; looked back on a year of shore house ownership; stood on the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland with my Dad on his 60th birthday; heard bagpipes played in Scotland; proudly sent MFD off to deliver supplies to Standing Rock and soon after experienced the distress that is being many miles away when your partner has been injured; exchanged countless hilarious and WTF texts with my people; started wearing leggings; and so many other smaller moments.
Smaller in relation to those bigger plucked out and listed above, but smaller overall? No. Life is lived in the small moments, not the highlight reel. Mine is, anyway. It's in every grain of sand. I'm betting yours is too, which is why it pains me when people get caught up in the illusion that everyone else's life is more grand than theirs is. Bullshit. We all have a sun dappled existence with light and dark spots. I will venture to guess that people who appreciate it all, big and small, light and what they can bring forth from the dark, enjoy the ride more though. Something to think about.
|I'm a sucker for the year's best nine on Instagram. Instagram is where I am most active on social media - follow me there!|
Worldwide 2016 is viewed as a dumpster fire, and on many levels I agree. No year is all bad though, and even when it's more grind than glory, there is something salvageable. This year I am reminded that character is built in the trenches and not on the mountaintops and that we can all use some more character.
August 2017 will see me enter my seventh year of blogging in this space. Seven years (waiting for my best friend Laura to check my math). In a lot of ways, it feels like I've always been doing this. And my reasons for doing it haven't changed - I like to have a place to document my life and thoughts, whether zero people read it or 10 or 100 or you get the picture. It is as true of a reflection of my life as it can be without sharing shit that I don't personally want on the Internet. I am a what you see is what you get person both face to face and in this space. So while what appears here content-wise changes based on what's going on in my life and what I'm into at the time, one thing that doesn't change and that never will is that when you open this website, the real me is here. I appreciate you for reading. If you ever want to drop me a line, you can find me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'll catch you in 2017, eh? If you're going out tomorrow night, be safe. If you're driving don't drink and if you're drinking don't drive and all that jazz. If you are interested in mummery and what MFD does on New Year's Day, check back on January 1 for a post on where to find him on TV or streaming TV.