Lemme start this out by saying, just in case you’re not the sort of person who employs the beginning of the year to bring a symbolic end to a cyclical calendar that is pretty much as symbolic as anything else…. you’re probably not going to enjoy this post. I personally VERY much enjoy the feeling of a year coming to a close, having a goalpost for myself when it comes to achievements and above all, having a measured distance to use to fully- and I do mean fully- stretch out my procrastination tendencies.
Also, I love having a specific time I can use to reflect on the utter lunacy of the year just passed. And no matter which way you slice it, what glasses you use to view this past year, it’s been a staggering parade of one global mess after another, gains that felt like losses and losses that still leave us smarting. But i’m not going to get political here, because I think there will plenty of people with better words than I who will most assuredly be churning those out. This is just a post reflecting on this past year, for me personally, with outtakes mainly from the cluttered library of my iPhone.
Lets begin with a list of numbers, my favorite:
5- travel/guide books read
9- National Parks visited this year
3- the number of times the AC went out in our house (FRUSTRATION TO THE EXTREME)
6- times that I shouted “SUNS OUT, GUNS OUT!” to the boyfriend when neither guns nor suns were out, just after waking up on the weekend with too much energy
3- Economics books read (and only one that made me scream in frustration)
19- podcasts I listened to this year
3- the number of times we encountered the Border Patrol
5- times that I turned to the boyfriend while on a roadtrip and said with full seriousness “welp, I guess this is where we die yeah?”
5- friendships lost to inattention, inappropriate romantic overtures and/or jealousy and miscommunication
2 – moments where I wanted to throw a match on my current life and just walk away, go live as a hermit in Alaska and just generally start clean over
4 – the number of times I was driving home from work and had the overwhelming sensation of immense gratitude for the life I get to occupy
1- orange stolen from a co-worker (long story, technically he freely gave it to me?)
countless- hours spent on tumblr dot com, times i’ve said “what the fricking frick??”, honeybuns eaten at work and times i’ve laughed until my sides hurt and my cheeks burned
Traves and Misadventures:
As I mentioned above, me and the boyfriend managed to visit 9 National Parks this past year (as well as 1 additional tribal park) and I honestly can’t believe we actually got to do that? I had literally not gone to a single one before then and on a whim we decided to visit the Grand Canyon for my birthday and a whole trip spawned out of that. (The masterpost for that trip as well as the outtakes can be found here. ) After that, bitten by the outdoorsy adventure bug as I was, I decided to shelve any plans for visiting cities or even traveling out of the USA to focus on seeing as much of the USA’s natural beauty as I could.
Places and parks traveled to this year are as follows, in order :
The Grand Canyon , Zion NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Santa Fe(NM), Big Bend NP, Goodland (KS) Arches NP, Canyonlands NP, Death Valley NP, Joshua Tree NP, the Salton Sea State Recreational Area, Slab City (CA), Carlsbad Caverns NP, Abilene (TX)
Places we’d planned to visit and plans either fell through or were changed:
The Great Sand Dunes NP(CO), New York City (NY), Boston(MA), Rocky Mountain NP(CO), Estes Park (CO) Yellowstone NP, Yosemite NP, Huntington Beach (CA) and Dallas (TX) (we literally live right here next to it and yet we did not once manage to get our butts into the city for any reason)
Arts, creativity, crafts and snailmail:
While this year was utterly fantastic for traveling, it really sucked when it came to creativity and finding inspiration. I finished my first novel last year (lets not get into that bit of a novice accomplishment here) and I spent this last year editing it and generally using it as a reason to not work on any other writing endeavors. My art-journal Mondays fell by the wayside, which is more than a little disheartening as they were my most popular posts as well as the ones I used to share a bit more of a personal side. Even my regular art projects dwindled down into the half dozens, with my mountain pieces taking me longer than ever to finish and my textile art falling completely to the deadzone.
When it comes to snailmail, yikes- it’s even worse. While I don’t claim to be a super snailmailing aficianado, i’ve been at it for almost 7 years now and some of my closest friendships are bound tighter because of it so, it’s definetly important to me. Basically when it comes to art, i’ve fallen a good deal shorter than I expected.
And in this New Year?
Obviously this would be the part where I list out all the goals and plans i’ve got to make this new year 10x better than the one thats gone by.
For all the ups and downs, personally? This past year was actually very kind of me.
So for the coming year, while yes i’ve got plenty of goals and focus’s listed all neat and tidy in my main journal, the only three goals i’ll share here are these, two very tangible, the other not so much:
1. Make it to Europe this year, come hell or high water
2. Strive for more creativity and push myself for more everyday that I can
3. Read more fiction books.
Europe is being planned slowly but steadily (or more accurately, on the fly and haphazardly), creativity is being stoked by crisp white pages and an abundance of colors and as for the books? As weird as it might sound, that will probably be the hardest one. This past year almost all the books i’ve read have either been travel guides, historical, economics related or mathematical /scientific (leaning towards the topics of A.I or astrophysics). But i’ve got literal piles of fiction books waiting to be read, from science fiction like Hyperion to classics like The Once and Future King over to more new titles like The Girl on The Train, so it’s certainly doable I think.
Anyways, this post has gotten long enough to the point where by the time I post this it will literally BE the new year already so, lets end this with the thing that helped get me through the year, music.
Most Listened to Albums of 2016:
Wild World- Bastille
The Joshua Tree- U2
Communion- Years and Years
A Seat At The Table- Solange
Most Listened to songs of 2016:
The Anchor- Bastille
She’s a Lady- LION BABE
Chasing Twisters- Delta Rae
Ain’t No Grave- Johnny Cash
Macbeth- Jed Kurzel (From Macbeth Soundtrack)
I Found- Amber Run
A-Flat- Black Violin
not drowning in my coffee cups just yet,
p.s will be back with the last two (three? dear gods) posts for this last roadtrip in the New Year