Let’s be real, my dears, 2017 often felt not unlike an epic journey such that Odysseus, with his sirens, six-headed monsters and homicidal cyclops, would not have been entirely out of place. Can I get an amen? With that said, however, if you were keen to do so, I daresay there were any number of delightful things, big and small, that we also encountered. I think it is never a wasted exercise to reflect upon and share such joys, and in that spirit, I decided to tally up 24 such items that thus beguiled me. I briefly considered making it a full 2,017 items, in homage to the year itself, but decided that would be a somewhat insurmountable task, and would likely drive all of you fine souls to immediately seek refuge elsewhere. As we can’t very well have that, 24 it is, because 24 seems like a perfectly respectable number. These are in no particular order, so let’s begin!
(1) Keeping a semi-regular journal. A practice I enjoyed through much of my adolescence and renewed in 2017. A meditative and fun exercise if you just let your mind at it, free of critique and overt planning.
(2) Officially checking off a full calendar year of full-time, small-business ownership. Lessons learned with much more to discover and perfect moving forward.
(4) Reading, reading, reading. I came a bit shy of my reading goal of finishing 40 books in 2017, but that hasn’t stopped me from setting a similar goal this year. There are so many fabulous books in the world, how can anyone stand it? I’ll share some of my favorites in a separate post soon, but until then, what did you read this past year that you loved?
(5) On a similar note, bookstores. This is a delight for all seasons, without fail, but deserves a mention at every occasion.
(6) Coffee. Always. Love you, coffee.
(7) Hiking in the San Juan Mountains with Daniel in July, though one particular hike felt like it may just kill me at the time. Climbing the near vertical equivalent of two Empire State Buildings will do that to a person.
(8) Sending postcards to loved ones. Mostly these came from my travels, but now and then they came from silly shops in Denver, just because. Want a postcard to arrive in your mailbox this year? I may just launch a little project to do just that. Stay tuned.
(9) Voting in the local election this past November. Voting is something I believe to my very core is something we all must do at every opportunity. Don’t fight me on this.
(10) Joining a choir. There is nothing quite like turning your mind toward a goal entirely separate from your career and daily ambitions. It lifts the mind and soul.
(11) Hosting a women’s group in my living room once a week. Never before have I met such an immediately familiar and cherished group of women. They epitomize that beautiful C.S. Lewis sentiment:
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.‘”
(12) Carrying on the holiday tradition that my younger sister and I started years ago: Attempting to construct a (moderately) stable gingerbread house. Although, we don’t use gingerbread, we use graham crackers, and though we were rather impressed by our efforts this year, our other sister and brother felt the structure lacked the necessary merits of a gingerbread house — or really, any construction that dares call itself a “house” — and challenged us to a duel in Christmas Season 2018. So if you need me, I’ll be studying up on techniques. Send along your tips.
(13) And speaking of siblings, our Sibling Trip 2017, which took us on a week-long exploration of the mountains, cities and beaches of California. One day I will write up something to memorialize the trip.
(14) Working from my maternal grandmother’s desk, in my little cottage house second bedroom/home office. It radiates memory and dignified calm.
(15) My floral studies. The wonders of brightly hued buds and photography.
(16) Cooking meals at home. I have plans to put together a post with my favorite meals and recipes soon. If you’re noticing a trend here, it’s that I have plans for this blog in 2018. Not to be overly redundant, but stay tuned.
(17) Spending my 30th birthday with Daniel in a small jazz club, eating chocolate-rich dessert, and drinking cocktails in fancy little glasses. It was an unassuming way to start a new decade of life, but entirely perfect.
(18) Witnessing the total solar eclipse in Glendo, Wyo. I still get chills reflecting upon it.
(19) Touring museums around the nation. (A special shoutout to the Met in New York, and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C.) Such an enriching and inspirational activity.
(20) Working up the courage to put myself in front of the camera in a continuing series of self-portraits, thus far all created around my little cottage house, but that will perhaps venture forth elsewhere sometime soon. It’s an exercise that forces me to more fully understand what my photo subjects feel when they are in front of the lens, and how best to direct them and make them feel at ease. There is much to learn; onward.
(21) Quiet Sunday afternoons spent napping on the couch. Need I say more?
(22) The Little Prince animated film (and book!). Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too: A Book, by Jomny Sun. (I gave several people this book for Christmas, it epitomizes the word “delight.” Look it up.)
(23) Staying motivated to maintain a consistent exercise routine throughout the year, and adding in running several times a week, in the last months of 2017. Is 2018 the year I actually sign up for a 5k?!
(24) And finally, all of you, the fine humans who return here week after week (even if/when my posting schedule is sporadic at best) to read and comment and share in this little blog that could. I appreciate your kindness and support and I look forward to sharing more stories with you this year. Bless you, and cheers to you all.
SIGNED, anya elise