We’re entering into that special time of year of reflection, and I don’t mean leaning into the mirror before your New Year’s party and futilely picking at your face.
Or maybe that is what I mean, because FACE, why you always act out when my visage will be most visible to the general public?
Would you believe I sometimes spend days, months even, unengaged in personal meditation, until a bunch of observations come dropping in on my head like a cartoon coyote under an anvil? I had one of these anvil moments recently when I was asked to share my 2013 accomplishments, and my first instinct was that outside of learning to peel a head of garlic in just a couple minutes1 I had none. But when I really got to pondering it, I realized I had accomplished stuff. Lots of it.
I managed to get older, for one. I definitely believe that I have noticeably aged since 2012 was ushered out the door. Sometimes I form my hand into a peace sign and use the two fingers to smooth the permafurrow some pensive farmer of time has sown between my brows. Permafurrow is maybe not my best look, but it’s also just the way aging works. Strap in because it’s going to be a long, disorienting ride.
What else did I accomplish? Here are some personal 2013 highlights and lowlights:
- Said goodbye to my old friends, packed house, and moved from surfboard land to snowboard land
- Did not die on an icy road near the Continental Divide
- Partially unpacked and repacked house twice more, hisssssssss
- Bought a 117-year-old home, started remodeling it, didn’t (yet) murder my spouse
- Speaking of murder, turns out there aren’t any killers in my basement, so A+
- Learned more about asbestos, knob-and-tube wiring, and plaster than I ever wanted to know
- Lived amongst chaos and cardboard boxes for a full year and managed not to totally lose my shit
- Dealt with cars breaking down 3+ times
- Spent the most stomach-wrenching amount of money at one store I’ve ever spent and probably ever will ($4,644.27 on home appliances)
- Had feelings, too many of them for my tastes
- Drove through the Plains states in 90°+ heat in an un-air-conditioned car all the way to Michigan, just me and my copilot Bruce Springsteen, and stopped to meet some wonderful internet people along the way
- Visited Omaha and Lincoln for the first time, and ate deep-dish pizza in a bar below street level in Chicago
- Experienced my first full green hot sweaty thunderstormy summer
- Tried wearing shorts and drinking beer to mixed results
- Got drunk on coca-cola and bourbon slushies and got stranded in Fort Collins, CO, for the night (the two events were unrelated)
- Got saved by the generosity of friends when we might have otherwise been stranded without a car in Spokane, WA
- Attended two weddings in two states, one week apart
- Explored Montana for the first time, discovered much of it was nature and Jesus-related billboards
- Sat up with my husband in a rural hospital through the middle of the night when his face required stitches
- Stayed in the Sleater-Kinney room at the McMenamin’s Crystal Hotel in Portland, in which was inexplicably hung a woodcut art print of the band with Jeff Bridges holding a ukelele
- Celebrated my grandfather’s 90th birthday during which he tried to steal his own party favors
- Got my best friend hooked on hockey, and now we can squee about it together like schoolgirls
- Lived with Mennonite strangers and their chickens for two months
- Did my first 14,000-ft elevation hike, took a photo of my giant nose looming under the shadows of my permafurrow to mark the occasion
- Stained staircase wood by myself, disassembled a pedestal sink by myself, and other minor feats of DIY home improvement
- Bought my first pair of fleece-lined leggings, and then immediately bought two more pairs
- Acquired so many things related to snow, why does snow require so much stuff
- Became sincerely invested in the lives and daily dramas of the squirrels that live in the tree out front
- Accidentally killed my 10-year-old african violet that’s been with me since I graduated college and I haven’t recovered from the loss
- Sobbed while mountain biking
- Made a 2014 resolution not to participate in sports-like things with other people ever again, I’m serious this time
This year was a hard one for me, harder than I thought it was going to be. I hadn’t been quite so unmoored for quite so long before, and the stress collected its tolls. But in the unbalance and disorder some winsome things were found, things that would have remained hidden had I not been vulnerable. The beau and I bodysurfed good and bad breaks, and now find ourselves washed on the shore, on the doorstep of 2014.
I don’t want a new start, I just want some space to be with what I have. But time keeps going whether we want it to or not. The clock ticking over to 12:01 tonight won’t fundamentally change me, but I’ll change anyway, eventually. And the anvil will drop again and I’ll be like, duh, wow, stuff sure is different now!
I’m not ready for more different yet. For now I just want to sit here, count the things I did and hold them to my chest for a while.
Good night and good luck, friends. I hope you squeezed something out of 2013 you’ll want to take along with you, too.
1 They SAY “in 10 seconds” but in my experience you have to shake the bowls several times to strip all the cloves.