Sunday, December 31, 2017
Tell me something good
I love this. Tell me something good that happened to you in 2017.
In truth, 2017 felt calamitous in many ways. The news was relentlessly dark and exhausting. Conversations in DC are always political, and this year all the more so. I went to my dermatologist for my annual skin check and asked how he was, and he said, "Fine, thanks. I mean, considering."
That's how many conversations started this year. It felt inescapable.
But recently I read an article about gratefulness which said that basically, just thinking about what you are grateful for, even if you can't come up with anything, changes your brain for the better. Now at dinner we go around the table and say something we are grateful for.
I will say that one of the positive things about having 2009 be the absolute worst year of my life is that my benchmark for most terrible is very high.
But let me not bullshit you about being all zen and grateful because we all know I fret a whole lot and get sucked into depressive vortexes and the like.
Mostly I'm saying I try to be grateful, because it is a better way to life. I was delighted to learn that because of cell turnover, every seven years all of the cells in our bodies are new. I think it was seven. In any case, you aren't exactly who you were, and you are constantly changing.
Kind of like Heraclitus and the moving river. I like this idea.
This was a pretty sporadic blogging year, and I'd love to tell you it's because I was working on my book, but it wasn't. It was just because of life, anxiety, depressive vortexes, the moving river, and more life.
We had some calamities--mainly my mom's cancer scare, and her being hospitalized thrice in the summer for anemia.
But we had some good, beautifully good things, for which I am extremely grateful.
In January Betty, the kids, my friend Leigh and I went to Cartagena, Colombia. This is possibly the best piece of 2017 for me. We rented a great house, and Cartagena is a magical place. All of us loved it. The kids ask when we can go back.
These are memories I will cherish forever, and such a gift.
We also attended some protests in January and February. (We missed the Women's March, as we were flying back that day, the trip having been planned and tickets bought well before the election.)
In April we lost our friend John. In May we lost our dear friend Pat. Both of these people I had known my entire life, and Pat was another mother to me. These continue to be tremendously hard losses.
In June I walked with my dear friend Laurie and Team SOLOS in my fourth Out of the Darkness Overnight walk.
As I am listing them this way, I realize it really was a year with big events and travel
In July the kids and I joined Wendy and her family in the Outer Banks. They invited us for the second year in a row, and kindly included us as family.
Beyond that, my kids call Wendy's mom and dad "Mimi" and "Papa," which is what Josie and Zeke call them. My kids don't have a grandfather, and her parents are so loving; I am extra grateful that my children get to have these grandparent relationships with them.
The end of July, I had the good fortune to visit Seattle for the first time, to a Peace Corps reunion at our friends' house on Whidbey Island. In blogworld and real world convergence, my Internet friend Laura picked me up at the airport, and we spent the day in Seattle together, before she dropped me at the ferry.
I got to see friends I saw at Rhonda's birthday in Austin, and others I hadn't seen in decades. I am so very grateful to have these people again in my life.
It was a quick three-day trip, and then I was home for a few days before loading up the car and driving to Toronto. I have an unfinished blog post on this adventure and I plan to post in the new year. We visited Sophie and Sean and their family; it was an extraordinary week.
We got home in time for my birthday, which was the same day as Australian Builder Kim's memorial service. (We realized at Christmas dinner that it was Kim's birthday, and we put candles on the cake and sang Happy Birthday to him.)
Just days after returning from Toronto, Betty went into the hospital for the second time for severe anemia. I had tremendous guilt, having dragged her all over creation or anyway multiple states and a bit of two countries.
And then, then we went to Family Camp in Maine.
This fall I went with great trepidation to a reunion of my Kappa sisters in Chapel Hill. And I left with a heart so full of amazing reconnections. It was a fun time, and for me, it was healing.
We gathered because two of our sisters have passed away, and Melanie, the amazing organizer, took the lead on getting us all together before too much more time passed.
We all took a photo in front of the house, and signed mattings to give to the famlies of the two women who died. I delivered one of the photos, and the parents weren't home when I stopped by, so I left a note with my number.
The mom called to tell me how grateful she was that we had gathered in memory of her daughter. She asked about her daughter's friends. We talked for a while, and she asked if I'd get in touch when we are out that way again. I said it would be my pleasure, and in truth, it would.
I didn't go to the reunion looking for that kind of connection, but I lucked into it nonetheless.
So I suppose that 2017 was not the kind of year that I might have anticipated, but it taught me a lot about myself and the world, and brought me a surprising number of gifts.
I'm thankful for all of them.
I wish you all a beautiful, bountiful, love filled 2018. I am grateful for you.
Happy New Year.