This year was terrible in many ways but really really wonderful in many others. Some good stuff…
In July I spent a few weeks in Sweden, most of it hiking. A couple cold, soggy, windy days were terrible, but I can laugh about them now. And some of those days were right up there with the best days of my life, period. One of them was so especially grand that I still haven’t quite yet found the words, and may never, and maybe I shouldn’t.
Other travel highlights: a trip to see friends get married in Maryland; a workation to Chicago to spend time with the best team on the planet; and a visit to New Orleans to celebrate my grandfather’s birthday. Along with his travel and stay in Georgia for a few months, I got to spend more time with him than I had in decades. I don’t take it for granted.
I mastered sleep. Oh my lord has this been huge. My family spent the previous two Christmases at the beach. Both times, I ended up sleeping 10, 12, 14 hours a night… and napping in the afternoons.
After a few days like that, I felt like I was seeing in color again.
The freshness didn’t last after the first awakening – I spent a year squandering it – but the second time around I realized it was dumb to let myself spend months decaying into zombie mode. I just can’t thrive on 6-7 hours a night; I’m more of a 9er. A regular, earlier bedtime has cost me a few dozen late-night movies, but it’s been so, so, so worth it.
I started making collages every now and then. I tried it on impulse because I had some magazines and scissors nearby, and it was instantly therapeutic.
I found a meditation routine and got into a groove with it, and fell out and found it again, and again, etc.. I eat veggies every day (pretty much, mostly, I try?). I don’t do as many straight-up workouts as I used to, but the average day is more active.
I biked more in 2017 than any year since I was a kid. I barely drove at all (yaaassssss), outside of trips to my parents’ house or out for a hike.
Aside from the Sweden trip, I had a lovely day knocking out a 35K at Cloudland Canyon for my 35th birthday. And on a lark one Saturday I walked 20-something urban miles from my house in downtown Atlanta to the summit of Stone Mountain. Really glad I did it, and I will never do it again.
I put in a bunch of miles at my favorite state park once or twice a month.
I read a bunch of good books (8 them by John Mcphee 😎). Here’s the best of my reading year, with the top 5 distinguished with a *:
- Assembling California 😎
- Black Flags: The Rise of Isis *
- The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream *
- Death: A Graveside Companion
- How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds
- Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI *
- Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath
- Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data
- The Odyssey (trans. Emily Wilson)
- On Trails: An Exploration
- A Philosophy of Walking *
- The Pine Barrens 😎
- Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games
- The Spy Who Came in From the Cold
- The Survival of the Bark Canoe 😎
- Stubborn Attachments: A Vision for a Society of Free, Prosperous, and Responsible Individuals *
- What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen
(On a related note, I’m in the market for more fiction…)
I didn’t see any movies released in 2017, which was fun for a few months… and then didn’t feel any particular way for the bulk of the year… and then felt deeply miserable for the last few weeks. But for the last few days it’s been nice to salivate and plan what I want to catch up on. Instead of trying to keep up with whatever happened to be new, I saw a lot of great old stuff and re-watched a lot of things I love.
The best of the new-to-me for 2017:
- 10 Cloverfield Lane
- 20th Century Women
- Allied *
- American Honey *
- Children of Heaven
- End of Watch *
- Frankenstein *
- In the Bedroom
- The Invitation
- Love & Friendship
- Punch-Drunk Love
- Shaun of the Dead
- Stagecoach *
- The Village
I perfected a bunch of small things. And I still feel really smug about these dumb little tweaks and upgrades to stuff that doesn’t matter very much but still makes a difference. I got a trim wallet and a fresh key fob and new keyrings that better fit my ideal pocket situation. I switched over to wireless earbuds and thin linen bath towels. I got new pens and longer Lightning cables and made fine-tuned some hiking gear. I donated a bunch of clothes, and standardized much of the rest (blue oxford-collar button-downs, grey sweatshirts, grey t-shirts, and jeans, or GTFO).
I finally took care of a bunch of tedious finance/household administration that I’d been putting off for, uh, years. I asked people where to spend more on charity, did it, and it felt wonderful.
Afters years of being inactive, I deleted my Facebook account and never looked back.
I let my 8-year-old Tumblr drift into dormancy, ported the posts over here, and decommissioned it entirely.
I let this blog lie fallow. And I started it again. ❤️