Goodbye 2017.

You started by throwing me for a loop. You gave us a winter that showed up early and stayed late and I thought it would never stop snowing. Through that winter I struggled with my little sister’s death and asked why a girl with a perfect smile and one of a kind laugh could be taken from our family in a car accident — who could vanish from my life and now only be remembered. She was 24. That is barely a life.

My husband told me one night as I was overwhelmed with guilt about not spending enough time with her, to stop wishing she could have been somewhere other than where she was each moment in her life, because my wishing for her took away the time someone else had. I have contemplated and appreciated the wisdom in these words often. They helped me move forward with purpose and perspective, to be present in life right now and welcome every opportunity to create a deeper connection with myself and the people around me.

Despite the year’s rocky start, it completely filled up with happiness and treasured memories.

My family and I settled into our new little town. We finally found a home after a year of searching the crazy housing market of Cashmere. I’ve never been so happy to sign closing papers and see how much interest will cost us for the next 30 years.

I’ve made friendships with a group of women who enlighten, inspire and encourage me, who make me laugh and feel so damn lucky I found them and our paths intersected in this whirlwind life.

I’ve grown into a position at my workplace that was hard (and I mean really hard) to adjust to, but I’ve had to learn to embrace change and I couldn’t think of a better place to be if I’ve got to be cooped up in an office all day. The connections I’ve made through my position and people I’ve met have blessed my life.

In 2017 I gave far less shits about “stuff.” It was a year I found out I could be insanely happy living in a rental house that was one hundred years old and it didn’t really matter that the carpet and wallpaper were a different color and pattern in every room.

I was content with a tiny kitchen and the dining room table being in the living room. I realized that if I could go without something for a year because it’s been in storage, that I can go  without it period. I said “good riddance” to 35 pairs of high heels and haven’t missed them for two seconds since. I’ve donated box after box full of things and wondered why I had to have them in the first place. 2017 was the year I bought and wore less makeup than I ever have, but never felt more beautiful. It was the year I loved my body and appreciated its capabilities  instead of scrutinizing every inch in the mirror because it didn’t look the same as it has before. I skipped the gym to hike, mountain bike, kayak or play street basketball with my husband and kids and didn’t feel guilty about not going at least five days that week.

I cleaned my house less. I left the laundry, the dishes, the dog hair, the crumbs on the couch and god knows what on the toilets. I left the mess and walked out the door.

I went on a Caribbean vacation with my husband and discovered I love the mountains more than the beach. We took our kids to the Hiawatha Bike Trail and laughed until we cried because Cole’s hands were covered in syrup from breakfast at camp that morning and every time he put his bike down, the bees would swarm the handles.

I watched sunsets this summer from the top of a mountain with my daughter on a whim…just because she asked me to. My spontaneous husband bought us mountain bikes and we learned to ride together. I hiked the Enchantments through trail and never wanted it to end. I punished and pushed my body and mind more than I ever have running the Ragnar Trail Series in Mount Rainier Park this summer. I want to run 50 more. I started writing again,something I haven’t done consistently since college.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. However, I do have goals and one of them is to be present and live in the moment. To be kind. To live with my soul on fire. To make memories and cherish time with my family. To explore and travel more. To remember that is is not the destination but the journey.

“The aim of life is to live,
and to live means to be aware,
Joyously, Drunkenly, Serenely, Divinely,

— Henry Miller