You’re a Good Year, 2016

I had big plans in November. I made the obligatory gratitude list and then asked myself, “Then what?” If I’m grateful for my family, then what am I going to do differently to demonstrate it? If I’m grateful for my home, then what can I do to take care of it better? I realized it’s easy to express gratitude, but showing it can be much more challenging.

One thing I noticed as I began this exercise is that many of the things I say I’m grateful for are the very same things I complain the most often about. I’m grateful for my children but I’m pretty sure not a day goes by where I don’t complain about at least one of them. I’m grateful for my health but I neglect it and then complain every time I look in the mirror. This is probably obvious to everyone else, but it was a real revelation to me that I won’t feel truly grateful for something if I’m always expressing my discontent. It was quite difficult, but I noticed that I was able to shut down the complaining if I really tried.

Like most amazing, life-changing insights I discover, this one lasted about a week before I was distracted by other concerns. Then this week, I noticed the entire internet got together and decided that 2016 has been the worst year ever. My first thought was that, sure, the last few months have been rough, but before that, everything was great. Then when I actually thought through each month, I was reminded that 2016 was indeed pretty awful for me in some areas of my life. “Wow, they’re right,” I thought, “It was a terrible year. Here I was thinking I was so happy. How could I have been so wrong?”

Then I remembered my Thanksgiving Resolutions and decided I can’t really make any New Year’s Resolutions without reflecting on the positive aspects of 2016 and letting go of the negative experiences I seem to love to keep fresh by revisiting again and again.

But since I feel like most of the really important stuff is private (and probably boring), and because I’m finding it hard to get back into making myself try new dumb things just for a blog after taking a month off, I’m only going to focus on revisiting the good stuff I posted here. Hopefully when I’m done, I will be convinced that 2016 was awesome and blogging is awesome and everything is awesome.

2016: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

January
My recollection of January is that I spent a lot of time sick in bed and somehow, I had forgotten all about our magical visit to the laser showIt just goes to show that even January can be less dreary with the right partner.

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February
Still sick and feeling like a failure, I thought when I tried the claw machine for a blog post that I was a big fat slacker, but Fritz talks about that night all the time. It was a really big deal to him, so I will count that as a success.

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March
Apparently March was a good month for me. I faced my fears, tapped into hidden crafting abilities, and worked to conquer negative self-talk. But most meaningful to me was the time I spent observing Holy Week.I loved taking the time to read and listen and think, and I plan to make that an annual tradition. March, you were awesome, my friend.

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April & May
April’s posts reminded me that I have some pretty great friends and a really great husband, and May was that month I changed my whole life as I knew it, nbd.

June & July

Hello! How could I ever think badly of 2016? We had a beautiful trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons followed by FIVE weeks in Bali! It was a superb summer.

August & September
I had a burst of energy, moving stuff and cleaning stuff and learning how to best make use of all my newfound time and freedom. Man, I did a lot! It makes me tired just reading about it.

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October
This was a pretty great day.

November
And this was a pretty great 15 minutes.

December
This month was rough in ways we didn’t expect and didn’t really have experience dealing with, but by eliminating all of the extra things we put pressure on ourselves to pack into our Christmas and retreating to our home and acting like hermits, we were able to focus on the essentials. No cards or parties or visits to see lights. No gingerbread houses or sugar cookies. We pretty much cuddled all month, and that was what we needed. We tried to feel guilty about dropping off the planet, but we couldn’t and we didn’t. We needed that time and we took it, and we’re feeling better about moving forward.

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Bring on the New Year! I’m determined to like it. In fact, I have resolved to love it, to appreciate it, and not to complain about it. And now, as Fritz shouted last New Year’s Eve, “Let’s disco some party!!!”

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