On NYE 2011, I began making a List of 100 Things to Do in 2012. It took months to create, and by the end of the year I probably only finished about 65% of the items, but it changed my life in unexpected ways (as things that change your life tend to do). Every year since, I've created a new list, and though I never complete all the items, the process of creating it forces me to articulate goals, values, or random whimsies that are in me but might otherwise go unnoticed.
I'm finishing 2016 with the sniffles. Between shots of DayQuil I have mostly been sleeping, but this evening I managed to pull out my List of 100 Things to Do in 2016 and type it up to review. Oh, front garden (#79), you've been sorely neglected this year. Running (#90), you did fall by the wayside, didn't you? I promise I'll devote attention to you both in 2017.
Meanwhile, I spent a lot of beautiful time with Darby and the girls and with many beloved friends; I saw family in NC and traveled to OR; reinvigorated my political activism and stepped up my commitment to social justice; finished my MFA in Creative Writing and began teaching; came back to teaching yoga on a regular schedule and developed a retreat with my favorite person on the planet; published my last two issues of Lunch Ticket and hopefully created something special behind the scenes; went to woodsy and watery places like Big Sur (#39), Pismo, Big Bear, the pool for lessons in swimming (#89), and the spa for a lesson in being still (#62); wrote a lot; submitted my work more than ever; got published some and received some much-appreciated honors; perhaps most importantly, I managed, as much as I possibly could but with plenty of room for improvement, to be kind, loving, generous, fair (#98), and to do more dishes (#67). I suspect those will be on my lists forever.
It was a lopsided year, tipped in favor of academia, literary pursuits, and political activism, and away from pie and music. I try to remind myself that living a balanced life doesn't mean I can't go out on a limb. One of the upsides of November's Great American Tragedy was that I remembered how important community is. Since then, I've been crawling back to friends and to gathering with activists and artists of all kinds in meaningful ways. Though I would have preferred to learn it in a different way, I'm glad I got that lesson before the year ran out.
Today's been a sleepfest, so new years schnew years. But last night Darby and I met with a few dear friends for our 3rd annual end-of-year intention ritual (#58) and sent wishes up to the sky (well, ceiling) to mark the end of another year cycle.
A year is a long time. Not long enough to see everyone I wanted, to do everything I wanted. Long enough, though, to tuck in some surprises. Still, sometimes I think I wouldn't mind a tesseract to skip over the next four. Luckily time doesn't give us the option of skipping, just the option of how we want to spend it. So, 2016, thank you for your gifts, for your lessons. I'm sending particular love to all who are grieving. That's the harshest gift of time.
2017, you look a little daunting from here, but tonight I'm turning over a new page to number down, and so onwards. Love and light to all, and happy new year.