2016 kicked off with this: A sunny morning, palm-tree reflections on a pool, book (and Joe) by my side, coffee in hand. While this photo probably looks like I was hanging out at a fancy Mexican resort, we were actually in Arizona, where my aunt has a house an hour north of Phoenix. Joe and I flew down New Year’s Day and met my dad, stepmom, and sister at the airport before piling into a rented minivan and driving to the gated community where the house is, shacking up there for five days. (We also ventured to a ghost town called Goldfield.)
The sun was fleeting (it rained every day after), but I savored every second of it that morning, feeling lucky to start a new year with people I love and a beautiful view. 2015 had a lot of highs (Louisiana, Mahood Lake camping trip, awesome concerts, Vashon Island), but there were definitely some lows as well. Sometimes the cynical part of me thinks this whole ‘new year’ business is bullsh*t, since really, we’re the same people with the same lives when we wake up on Jan. 1st, aren’t we? But the other part of me, the part that loves fresh starts and clean slates — the part of me that’s not cynical, but actually very hopeful and optimistic — gets excited about turning the page.
Recently one of my yoga teachers, Rosie, wrote a post about how you can’t start a new chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one. I like that idea. Imagine you’re literally reading a book, and you’ve started the first page of the next chapter, but you keep stopping to go back and look at the last one? You’d never move forward in the book. So when I find my mind going back to any of the ‘low’ points of 2015, I remember that I’m no longer in that chapter…and bring myself back to the current one.
From here, the view is great.
That’s not to say I’m done reflecting on or writing about some of my experiences from the last year. As I explain in my newly updated ‘Who I Am’ page, writers live twice, and re-living my experiences through writing about them is intrinsic to who I am. But in my daily life, I’m looking forward. I’m clearing out my space (decluttering and donating) and my mind (unfollowing…a lot of things), creating more quiet so I can move ahead with ease and clarity. I’ve learned that the trajectory of my life is not, and never has been, about speed. It’s about substance. Simmering, slow-cooking. Savoring.
On the blog, I’ve got some plans for a few longer, reflective pieces, as well as a Portland home tour, a behind-the-scenes post on designing my new business cards, and possibly an interview with a Syrian artist. I’ve also joined a group called the Portland Bloggers Roundtable, which is going to spark some upcoming topics I may not have thought to write about otherwise.
I’m always walking a bit of a line between sharing myself with you guys and keeping my personal stories…personal. But if I lean toward either side this year, it will likely be in the direction of opening up and going deeper. I know that my best writing is often my most vulnerable, and I feel a voice whispering that some of my stories need to rise to the surface and go out into the world.
On that note, what would you love to see/read/look at/learn about on the blog this year? What would get you excited to click on the second it shows up in your inbox or your newsfeed? What do you want more of?
I’m open. I’m listening. (Feel free to tell me in the comments.)
As always, thanks for being here. I can’t wait to see where we — you, me, and the blog — go together this year.