My inbox is chock full right now of end-of-year blog posts written by most, if not all, the blog writers I follow. Resolutions, reflections, plans for next year, inspirations – they’ll all in there somewhere.
So of course, here I come with my own version of an end-of-year missive as well.
Of course. 😀
It didn’t start out to be a review of the year past or a hopeful treatise on the year to come. It began as an apology for being gone from my blog for two months without warning. It’s a yes-I’m-still-here message for everyone, including me. It’s my Christmas Card Letter in Blog Post Format.
And then, somewhere along the line, it also became my good-bye to 2016.
It’s been a year like no other in memory, hasn’t it?
In that respect, my 2016 was probably a lot like your 2016: unexpected events, crowding into unexpected emotions, overseeing unexpected outcomes, all the while putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward. My 2016 happened in the midst of life-changing events, both physical and emotional, and came along with a great deal of challenge, both physical and emotional. But as we can all see, I made it through the year… and so did you. The past year was accompanied by a lot of laughter and some tears, a bunch of adventures, tons of new experiences both “good” and “bad,” many new friends (and a few “old” ones “lost”), and more food than one had a right to eat.
So on that note, here it is – the highlights of my 2016 by the numbers, in no particular order other than numerical:
- 0 – new heart-related events since December 2015 – yay!
- 1 – Bernie Sanders Rally (I won’t lie – I still wish he was our President-elect…)
- 1 – airplane trip to So. Cal. for a week in the sun during a cold, wet, rainy PNW winter
- 1 – Reiki attunement
- 1 – Mother’s Day with Nick’s parents at Mark and Nick’s house
- 1 – McMenamins Cosmic Tripster Party
- 1 – previously-unknown family member, Jennifer, connected with on FB
- 1 – visit to the holiday bazaar of my high-school friends, Joyce and Connie
- 1 – disappearing act by Isabelle the Pug
- 1 – mother leaving Planet Earth
- 1 – Rose City Yarn Crawl with Vincent (he won a door prize!)
- 1 – Oktoberfest with Debbie and Mackenzie
- 1 – meeting a favorite artist in person: Carrie Tasman
- 1 – drive through Wildlife Safari in Winston, OR with Mark and Nick
- 1 – new house for me! Yippee!
- 1 – Oregon Renaissance Festival in a thunderstorm and pouring down rain with Debbie and Tricia
- 1 – Washington State Democratic Party Caucus attended – my first time to caucus!
- 1 – very traditional Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, as evidenced by lots of food, lots of presents, lots of people, lots of dogs and cats, lots of kids, lots of lights and decorations, lots of love, and of course, lots of left-overs, with Jane and Cyndi and their extended families
- 2 – reconnected 40-year-old+ friendships with Karen and Harvey
- 2 – non-heart-related falling-downs – no new broken bones!
- 2 – pieces painted at the ceramic studio with Nick – a mug and a bowl
- 2 – lunches with my sister, Susan now Sami, that I hadn’t connected with in more than 10 years
- 2 – contests won: Obsidian blackberry jam in Bauman Farms Jam-off, and a photo of my homemade sauerkraut in a photo contest by Kraut Source
- 3 – adventures with Jane and Cyndi: twice to Algodones, Mexico (for dentists, shrimp tacos and margaritas 🙂 ) and once to Big Bear Lake, CA
- 4 – trips to Disneyland including 3 visits to California Adventure, courtesy of my cousin, Tracie
- 4 – house/dog-sitting gigs
- 5 – movies on the big 70mm screen at the Hollywood Theater in Portland, OR, including 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Neverending Story, The Hateful Eight
- 5 – flower fields visited including tulips, iris, dahlias and peonies
- 5 – nights at Bruce and Teresa’s – every day we took a walk on the beach or in a nature preserve!
- 5 – new food items made: sauerkraut, kimchi, Obisidan blackberry liqueur and jam, sourdough starter
- 9 – lunch-date meetups with “long-lost” or out-of-town friends – Kathy, Alicia, Ingrid, Lorna & Charlie, Harvey, Ed, Oakley, David, Silvianne, Charlene, LaVonne
- 14 – times my car was in the shop (including 8 visits to the mechanic it fell in love with 😀 )
- 7 – places I stayed during the year: 1 campground, 1 hostel, 1 museum in Medford, OR, the houses of 4 friends
- 12 – pets who belong to other people who’ve shared their spaces with me
- 13 – books read including 11/22/63 by Stephen King; Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs; Dark Places by Gillian Flynn; Mind Over Medicine by Lissa Rankin; Outrageous Openness by Tosha Silver; The Last Tribe by Brad Manuel; The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson; The Book of Forgiving by Desmond Tutu
- 14 – weeks living back in Vancouver, WA
- 14 – doctor appointments: primary care, neurologist, cardiologist, gastroenterologist, chiropractor + uncountable hours on the phone with insurance company + many visits to lab for bloodwork
- 32 – miles walked in 4 visits to Disneyland/California Adventure
- 28 – visits to Physical Therapy (wrist = 22; ankle = 6)
- 59 – jars of homemade pickles with Debbie, Mackenzie and Tricia
- 16,000+ – miles driven this year including a road trip to the Southwest for the winter
- ~47, 304,000 – heartbeats in 2016 (an important number when your heart quits beating for no apparent reason, as mine does 😀 )
- more visits than I can count with Mark, Nick, Tricia
I wrote about the same number of blog posts this year as I have in years past but I posted to Facebook more. I “discovered” Instgram and Snapchat, and re-discovered Twitter. I spent more time alone this year and on my own than I thought I would since I have family and friends in the area where I spent the winter in the Pacific Northwest – I thought I’d be more interactive than I was. It seemed to take my body forever to begin to feel okay after the wrist surgery and other medical procedures that happened at the end of 2015, and I don’t think I gave it the time and patience I would have given to someone else to get well. It was a long year of recovery from so many different physical things going on in my body, but the months since my mother died have held an agony I never knew I had in me: the confirmation that she never wanted me in her life. I jumped into that pain and acknowledged the huge hole in my being, and I’ve been alternately torn apart by heartbreaking sobs and the quiet understanding that her denial of me has nothing to do with me. I have vacillated greatly, swinging from a peaceful acceptance to loud keening and everything in between, as I move ever closer to the more graceful spot that comes with forgiveness.
During all this swinging back and forth, up and down, I’ve been supported and propped up by don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements, especially the one that says “Don’t take anything personally.” When I’ve remembered to do this, to not take anything personally, life is calmer, quieter, more peaceful and I’m sure I’m a more pleasant person to be around as a result. I’m grateful beyond words for the people in my life who have accepted me as I am, where I am, how I am, without requiring me to be anything other than what I am at any given moment. I’m grateful for every spare bedroom, for every dog and cat, for every meal, every cup of coffee and tea, every conversation, every hug, every smile. I’m grateful for you, the people who read my blog posts, and I’m thankful that we’ll be ending this “old” year and starting a new one together.
I’m hopeful for the coming days in the new year. I feel a peace around us that will draw us all together, and those of us who are interested in a new world, in a new way of being, will find each other – and we’ll call ourselves the Bottled Hope Gang… because I think if we could bottle up hope and give it away to anyone who needs some hope in their lives, with all that extra hope running around, we’ll be more peaceful, more accepting of each other, more graceful in our words, with more happiness and joy than we ever thought possible.
Right? Are you with me?
Bottle up some of your hope for tomorrow and give it away to someone who needs it! I’m bottling up mine and sending it on to you all.
Here’s to a new year filled with grace, happiness, joy, peace, and yes, hope. Rock on!
The bullet list above doesn’t include everything that happened this year so if I missed listing something that included you, please know that you’re in my heart and your friendship is special to me. Let’s find some time to have lunch/coffee/tea/adventure together this coming year!