It’s the last day of the year, so it’s a good time to pick at what transpired over the last 365 days. If I was a more energetic and scientific guy, I would have stats and charts here. Alas, I am lazy. 2017 was a pretty good year for some basic reasons. It also had its hardships. I don’t know how to write this up, so I’ll just make a list of stuff.
1. Daily blogging. I told myself I would try to write more this year, and I did get a post in every day on this blog. Some of those posts were very poor. Some were pictures. Some were poems. And some were short stories that I ended up liking quite a bit. But the goal was 365/365, and that happened, so I can feel good about accomplishing that. And not demand that I do that for myself next year.
2. Dental work. On the boo list, I had the most work ever done on teeth in my mouth this year. Once a model of dental integrity, that all crashed in this year. I am hoping it is not true, but I may have my mom’s teeth after all. And her- and my- dentist would not mind that, I reckon.
3. Photography. Picking up the Canon Rebel in the Black Thursday sell last year was the greatest gift I could have given myself for this year. I used it quite a bit this year, and if it wasn’t used when I was taking a weekend road trip, I copied Tim’s approach and carried it more to work each week, which prompted a few after work photography sessions downtown. It has been challenging to try and figure out how to use the camera out of the Automatic setting, but I’ve tried to experiment with it and its different modes, and I learn a little more about it and how to use it each time I am out.
4. Monument Valley. Having the Canon led to my best and most satisfying adventure of the year- a visit to Monument Valley in August. Not only did Monument reinforce my notion that there is a treasure trove of photography sites in the Four Corners area and along the Arizona-Utah border, but it also gave me a chance to try and capture a tremendous photographic destination with little skill. The buttes and mesas and geological formations with their red soil made my photography safari rich in results, and my awe of the area grow.
5. Boardgame Group. I’ve felt lucky to have a circle of three guys and myself that enjoy modern boardgames, and we did a pretty good job getting together once or twice a month this year. Stability is invaluable to me in friendships within my life, and that we have continued to meet with some changes in our lives has been meaningful, and enjoyable, to me. Game Night is always one of my favorite events during any week. We played a few new games this year, and enjoyed some favorites as well for a few meetings. The mix of familiar and new is always good for keeping the gears in one’s mind grinding.
6. Family. What can I say. From co-production with my sister on chile pepper farming to meals out with the nephews to visiting Scott and Ronda in Wisconsin to enjoying Papa Felipes or The Quarters with my folks, my family is really the best part of what is in my life. I am grateful we have each other and can spend time together.
7. Writing and Writing Classes. I wrote a little more seriously this year which tumbled out in a few decent short stories. I also took a few writing classes which most of all spurred me to want to become a better and more disciplined writer.
8. Tony Hillerman. Picking up his biography filled the last two months of this year with some rich reading, and primed me to want to read all of his Navajo mystery novels. Having heard his name as a New Mexican luminary, it’s nice to meet the man and see why he is celebrated as an author and a local.
9. The Green Chile Farm. We had a great crop in the planter box this year, which gave us three rounds of harvests. We’ll go for more next summer.
10. Self Care. On the boo side, I am reminded that if you don’t take care of your body and try to eat right, your body will let you know, and from back issues and blood pressure changes to neuropathies and aches and pains, my body reminds me: You are not young any more. You have to work to be healthy.
11. Less is more. Less stuff, more experiences. Less watching, more doing. Less procrastinating, more trying. This is probably what I want to throw over into 2018.
12. Christian living. I finally got back to a church after a long while of hookie. I’m not really who I want to be, or who I am supposed to be these days spiritually. But despite that, I love the Word and the Gospel message of Jesus’ work, and I know my attitudes and failures cannot stop God from loving me or wanting to strengthen me through the Word. I am grateful to be listening again, at least, and am willing to be changed by the Spirit.
I come out of 2017 still owing debts- to friends, to kind people, to creditors. Some I’ll pay, some I will never be able to. I still have, as Paul puts it, a debt to love more and hate and fear less.
I am hoping to write more,longer, more solid pieces in 2018. I’d like to say I am pulling the plug on social media in 2018. I hope to get back up to Utah in 2018, and have less dental issues, and better health, and live wiser in 2018. More reading and less TV watching. But these are all decisions I ultimately have to make, and not accomplish because I “do what I always do.” Change requires choice.
“Purge and surge.” Get rid of the noise. Focus. Do what matters. Throw away the baggage and garbage.
Thanks for leaving us intact, 2017.
Welcome, 2018. Thank you for releasing me from my obligation to blog daily. I’ll do my best to put worthwhile things up here anyhoo in the coming well.
Thanks for walking with me, faithful reader.
In the spirit of the celebrated John Daker videos a few years back, the Star Wars Bad Lip Reading videos win videos of the year. Shared with me by my brother, besides the wondrous grafting of semi-non-sensical lyrics to video segments, the music on these things are incredible.