I have heard it repeatedly, so I know I’m not the only one gladly waving goodbye to 2017.
I didn’t make any resolutions this year. I already feel like I’ve been holding my breath for months. I see no need to add to that load of… (feel free to insert your choice of words here).
It’s not that 2017 was all bad, it wasn’t, but this year has left me mentally depleted in a way that I can’t articulate, other than to want to desperately scream “WTF is happening here?” on a fairly regular basis.
January. I went back to school and without elaborating, we had a few unexpected and very heavy emotional moments.
Spring (but really this entire year). I am not deeply invested in politics. I know, I know…but I do vote and I did take a political science class this semester. I learned how much I didn’t know about our political history and structure in the United States and that I actually find the bare bones of politics very interesting. Hmmmph. Imagine that. The 45th president (along with a lot of other politicians) has left me scratching my head and truthfully, in some instances, rolling my eyes. His Twitter feed alone is more than I can handle. I consider myself a “Democrat with a bit of a Republican lean”. Meaning? I don’t agree with everything Democrat and I don’t agree with all things Republican either. I’m an idealist I guess. In the spirit of the Constitution; can’t we all just try to get along and do what is best for our country as a whole? Some people will say that is an impossible request. Maybe it is.
Summer. We didn’t make a lot of headway in any realm. (head·way [ˈhedˌwā] NOUN 1. move forward or make progress, especially when circumstances make this slow or difficult). I didn’t check off a bunch of to do’s and we NEEDED to. We didn’t squeeze a vacation in and we NEEDED it. The girls had summer school and my other half had a double race schedule. I thought we would be able to take off in late July, but before I knew it school was starting again. If I don’t plan it, we don’t get it done/don’t go. I shouldn’t have been irritated by that, but if I’m being honest, a part of me really was.
Fall is normally a time that I really look forward to. The leaves, sweaters, crisp mornings, the sweetness of the upcoming holidays. This year, fall brought a succession of WTF moments slathered on top of a really busy semester. We lost our Ava girl in early September. That was a significant blow to the whole family. You can find my post about Ava here (I’ll warn, it’s pretty raw and I have been told it’s a difficult read. Just have tissues handy.) In October, our hometown was hit by a massive firestorm, triggered by winds I have never experienced. I remember laying in bed listening to the howling. It was spooky – 70 mph gusts – not the norm for Sonoma County. We were evacuated twice. We live about two blocks from the foothills. We can see the hillside from our backyard. Our home was spared and we know we are lucky. Had the winds been blowing in another direction that night, things most certainly would have been different for our neighborhood.
I have tried to write about it several times and I just can’t wrap my head around it all. I think I don’t want to. The devastation is unreal. Thousands of homes. THOUSANDS. Entire neighborhoods incinerated. We are talking about 4,658 homes wiped away – in a matter of hours – just in Santa Rosa and it’s immediate vicinity! Homes of so many friends. It’s still very fresh and yet, oddly, it feels like a lifetime ago. The photos, news stories and videos don’t do it justice. They can’t. The reality is truly so shocking and surreal that it takes your breath away.
That said, I must also add, the strength and sense of unity, born from the ashes of this disaster, will also take your breath away. Our city was covered in signs expressing gratitude for first responders and our community showed up in force to offer support to those affected. I have never been more proud to live in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County.
With everything else happening, the holidays came and went in a blink. We hosted Thanksgiving and I was grateful to be able to do so. For me, our Christmas tree was the bright spot. It is always about the small joys. That is especially true this year.
We usually visit a local farm and cut our tree, but this year we went to Tahoe and cut it down for the first time. If you haven’t done it, I highly recommend it. We had breakfast at our favorite spot (The Red Hut) in town, hiked through the forest in search of the perfect tree, and there was snow on the ground.
It was a beautiful day!
I finished up school just in time to pull everything together and slow down to enjoy a few family traditions we have (decorating gingerbread houses, baking, Christmas movies, hunting for holiday light displays, and T’was the Night Before Christmas). I truly appreciated those moments more than ever this year.
I still feel like I am holding my breath a little, but I am looking forward to what the coming year has in store. I believe there are far better things ahead than those we are leaving behind.
Yes, I am purposely not using the exact C.S. Lewis quote. His was not about optimism.
My glass is still half full.
EXHALE. I guess that’s my resolution for this year. Simply to #exhale. Then I can step back, breathe in all the possibilities for 2018, and see where they take me.
Wishing you all a bright and beautiful new year!