This week’s photo challenge is “names.”
This week’s photo challenge is “names.”
As much as I enjoy sharing my annual inspiration, I truly love these travel posts. (smile) There’s something about looking ahead at all the fabulous adventures that just makes my heart beat a little faster!
I did pretty well for my 2016 travel list. I did visit White Sands National Monument in New Mexico (see below), ventured on a South Dakota road trip with my family, and spent plenty of great quality time in California with my niece. Although I did not mark off all of my Arizona Bucket List, I did make it to a couple locations so maybe this year I’ll see the rest! I also didn’t make it to Santa Fe or San Francisco. One day…
What’s interesting is that I ended up in Iceland (see above) last year. Of all the places I had in mind while writing last year’s post, Iceland wasn’t one of them. But it turned out to be the perfect location to celebrate my brother’s 40th birthday. I’m still working on editing photos, but I will definitely be sharing more adventures on the blog this year! (In writing this post I’ve only just realized how far behind I am in travel stories 😕 )
Arizona: I really want to finish off that bucket list – namely the slot canyons (e.g., Antelope Canyon) and Chocolate Falls.
California: As always, I want to spend as much time with my friend and niece as possible, but I would also like to take some time this year to drive up to Big Sur. I hear such wonderful things about the area, I think it’s time to make it happen!
Alaska: My dad is officially retiring this year and has requested that we all join him on a family cruise to Alaska to celebrate. As I’ve kinda wanted to do this forever, I’m totally on board!
Ireland: This is the year of the solo tour. I’ve traveled all over the world, but never have I ever traveled totally by myself. Someone’s either been with me from the start or I’ve met someone at my destination (even if they were total strangers). I’ve wanted to go solo for some time now, but it hasn’t worked out for one reason or another. This year, however, is my year. I have a nice little cottage on the coast all booked and ready to go and I am unbelievably excited! Here’s to a week of peace, quiet, and breathtaking landscapes! (smile)
What are your travel plans for the year??
This is one of my favorite posts to write each year (the other comes on Tuesday!). When I initially sat down to write this one I had the worst time getting started. Then I realized that yesterday’s post had to come first – a proverbial clearing of the air. An old year has ended and a new year has…begun.
theme battle-cry resolution is “BEGIN.” Unlike previous years, this one didn’t come immediately, but rather after much thought and a bit of reflection. I was looking for motivation to finally finish all of the things I’ve been meaning to do forever, so my brain was circling around words like end, complete, finish, etc. But I just couldn’t shake the feeling that those words would set too negative a tone for the year. Since thinking didn’t seem to be helping the feeling, I decided to go with my gut and the word came immediately. Clearly my heart knew the answer all along – every end is really just a new beginning.
There’s something very hopeful in a beginning, a feeling of infinite possibility that doesn’t carry the feeling of obligation or sadness that an ending sometimes does. There’s more excitement and less pressure – exactly what I’m looking for in this new year! So instead of trying to finish all those crazy things on my never-ending list, I decided that it’s time to simply begin them.
I understand that some of those wonderful beginnings will first require some painful endings. I just don’t want those to be my primary focus – because I know myself well enough to admit that I would use the fear of the end as an excuse not to begin. I know that because, in a way, that’s what I’ve been doing for some time now. Enough now. Looking back, I can see the value in waiting, however impatiently and unwillingly, these past few years. I’ve grown in ways I’ve only recently learned to credit; but it’s time now. Time for excitement, challenge, facing truths, facing fears, letting go, and being present. It’s time for change, for staying true, for living. Above all it’s time to begin and let the adventure unfold from there.
What’s your word for 2017??
In preparation for tomorrow’s post announcing my “word” for 2017, I was looking back over similar posts from previous years. In doing so, I was struck by an interesting commonality – each was positively focused on the year ahead, but also quite dismissive of the previous year as “not great” or “uneventful” or (worst of all) “unfulfilling.” I love the fact that I could manage the positivity for the new year, but I’m also a bit distressed by my lack of appreciation of growth, no matter how spectacular the previous year may or may not have been. This observation was particularly poignant given that I had every intention of repeating the pattern again this year.
I believe I’m not alone in saying that 2016 was not a banner year – personally or globally. I did not accomplish all of the goals I set for myself and somewhere along the way I lost sight of my wordy reminders I’d so cheerfully set in January. But taking a deeper look at 2016, I can see a lot of personal growth that makes me proud.
I learned a lot this year. I took classes that taught me new skills, but more importantly, exponentially increased my awareness of the world around me. I faced physical, mental, and emotional challenges and lived to tell the tales. I persevered in activities that, in my youth, I would have tossed aside in favor of a new distraction the second they lost their shine. I find, in truth, that overall I’m much less inclined to seek out distractions. And just typing that sentence brings tears to my eyes – it wasn’t all that long ago I could not have imagined being comfortable just being. I’m not 100% in that yet, but I’m grateful I’m on my way!
2017 is going to be the year that all those changes I’ve longed for and lamented in prior years come to fruition. I can’t tell you how I know it, but I do. Looking back, I can see now that there were lessons that needed to be learned, skills that needed to be acquired, and confidence that needed to be rediscovered. 2017 scares me…but it excites me even more.
So, perhaps I won’t look back upon 2016 as “my year,” but I also won’t bind it up and put it away on the shelf. It’s a year to be remembered, even if those memories come hard. Good things happened and need to be appreciated. Bad things happened and need to be learned from. Each lifetime is so finite, it seems a shame to purposefully forget or live only in the future. I may have a long battle ahead with reconciling with my past, but I find my present pretty okay these days, a proper balance of good and bad. And as many enlightened beings will tell you, that’s the best achievement you can strive for – the present as a present.
Good-bye 2016. You’ve earned a lacking reputation, but I’ll forgive you for it. May you rest in peace.
2017, I look forward to our time together. (smile)
After much consideration, I’ve decided to take the rest of the year off from blogging. I have so many ideas for this space, but I need a break. I plan on spending my time catching up on my reading instead, both on- and off-line, so I’ll still sorta be around!
I wish each and every one of you a wondrous holiday season, no matter where you are or how you celebrate – may the end of 2016 be the best part of the year! 🙂
This week’s photo challenge is “magic.”
Weather: Unseasonably (and record-breakingly) warm
Days til winter: Unknown
As you can see the weather outlook is back. Apparently, I was a bit optimistic in my last update back in September about that whole “yay, it’s fall!” thing. What makes me really sad about the weather is the realization that winter days here are finite and every too-warm day means one less cooler day before summer strikes again. I’m slowly moving from lovingly annoyed to downright resentful of the desert these days.
I feel like I have to at least acknowledge the whole election mess. I’ve debated writing more about the whole deal but I feel like I’ve still got a lot of thoughts to work through first. Even then I’m not sure if I’ll share or not. I do know that it’s been really disheartening to see all the negativity post-election. Perhaps if I was in a better place personally I might be able to put some kind of positive spin on it all, but right now I just don’t have it in me. Truthfully, that statement pretty much sums up how I feel about life in general right this moment.
I’ve been pretty quiet the last couple months here on the blog and on other pages. I haven’t had much time to update my page or keep up with my usual reading – and I really, really miss it. I miss the interaction – every time I read a post I feel like I’m catching up with a friend and it’s been a little…lonely without that. I’m determined to re-prioritize as soon as possible, but in the meantime, just know my absence isn’t by choice.
The primary reason for the quiet is a perfect storm of maladies. My teammate at work was out the whole of October with pneumonia. It was actually pretty scary there for a week or so and I can’t tell you how relieved and grateful I am to have her back. The other issue has been my own personal health.
I’ve mentioned previously that I have fibromyalgia. I’m lucky in that my symptoms generally allow me to function fairly normally most of the time. But due to a number of things (aka “life”) I suffered a “flare” at the end of October that totally knocked me flat. Just as I was rebuilding from that I got the mother of all sinus infections that took me right back down again. And through it all I had to keep up with work while trying to keep myself and Oxford alive (he’s a very high maintenance cat). The last 6 weeks have been hard – and I am so tired.
Ah but today. Today is my birthday. So, I’ve been desperately trying to keep a smile on my face and to be grateful for all of the good things in my life. Even though I’m having a hard time with positivity right now, I can always find a reason to be grateful. Gratitude has become a bit of a life preserver for me on those days I can’t pull myself out of the dark. It pulls me toward hope and that’s the best first step towards getting my head back in a positive space. So there’s my silver-lining – guess I had one in me after all! (smile)
Yeah, so this wasn’t really the birthday post I’d been planning. That one was a much perkier ode to the last year, full of positivity about the future. But this one is a more truthful account of my life lately and so I’m going to leave it as written. I’m tired and I don’t have it in me to pretend today. Besides, to paraphrase the song, “it’s my birthday and I’ll [insert verb here] if I want to…”
* Photos were taken in northern AZ back in October.
This week’s photo challenge is “tiny.”
This week’s topic is “signs of any kind.”