2017- A YEAR IN PICTURES

2017 began with the knowledge that my marriage would end. Id known it. But its a helluva way to start a year. Theres only about 6 weeks left in this year. And its been a week of reflection for me. To say Ive walked through every emotion that exists more than a few times would be an understatement. I was trying to think of just ONE word to describe 2017. The word that continues to come to mind is “rebirth”. And though it sounds new and fresh and happy….and it can be…..rebirth is preceded by some painful shit. And at 45, not many of us have come this far with no pain. I am no exception.
My divorce became real and then my grandmother died in March. On what would’ve been my parent’s 45th wedding anniversary. She was my Dad’s mother. She was my Nanny. She made me chocolate chip cookies and dresses and quilts and came to all of my football games to watch me cheer and taught me to sew and came to see me in college when a boy broke my heart. The hardest thing I ever had to do in my life was tell her that her child was dead. That my Dad had been killed in an accident. No parent should outlive a child. Its not ok. At any age. I miss her. I miss Pawpa. I miss my Dad. And sometimes I feel like they are somewhere without me.
In April I got to go to the Dominican Republic with my Beachbody friends. I don’t know that there’s words for that trip. Theres something about being on a beach a million miles away that cleanses you a little. Had a few good cries and many great laughs there. And I’ll never EVER forget that trip.
My friend’s 11 year old son took his life shortly after my grandmother died. I was there when Carson was born. I felt numb for several days. And then I began to walk. And I walked  11 miles a day for 11 days and didn’t stop. I walked 121 miles. Because I felt so unbelievably sad and distressed and lost and helpless that I just didn’t know what else to do. And if the year was a birthing process- Id say the physical pain of those 11 days and the mental cleansing that accompanied it were the hardest parts. Being alone with your own thoughts and no music for that many hours insists upon some serious self reflection. And guilt and shame and regret and sadness and joy and happiness and loss and all of it. All. of. It.
In June I met someone who has no idea how they changed my life. And though they were only there for a brief bit- it mattered.
July brought New Orleans. Amazing. Patrick is from there. I’ve been a million times. That city means more to me than I can say. The memories, the food, the music, the smells and sounds and rawness. What a cathartic trip- to return new, to a place that was old. Thank you, Donna.
I moved out and got a rent home in August and that was HUGE and scary and I don’t think Ive ever cried tears of happiness and sadness so much together in my life. I can’t even describe what its like to be so happy and have my kids here & laughing and leaving the toilet seat down and buying my own favorite foods and looking out the back window to see a mountain. I also can’t describe how quiet it is sometimes and how much silence can pierce. When the kids are gone and Im alone and ALONE. I remember aching for silence when they were very young. Needing some solace. I like the quiet. Until I don’t. Ironic.
And I met a dude. Not meaning to. AT ALL. Last thing I ever wanted was to meet someone. Good grief. Horrible timing. I don’t think there could be one more person to tell me to take it slow, be alone, do “me” for awhile, concentrate on myself and wallow in the solitude. Funny thing is…..I’ve been doing all of that for YEARS. Just no one knew it. You can be surrounded by people and feel very alone. So I’ll listen to the advice like I do with everything else…..with one ear closed. And I’ll do whats right for me and my heart and that is all. Because good lord people- life is fucking short. Very short. Be happy when you can. “Enjoy the wave” 😉 Even if your wave moves “too fast” for some.
I slept in a hay field in Nebraska to watch a total solar eclipse in August. It was the absolute coolest thing Ive ever seen in my life. Hands down. No words can capture it.
In September I spent 3 days backpacking through the Snowy Range of Wyoming. I slept in a tent and caught fish and cooked them for dinner. I lit a fire and climbed boulders and had no cell service for over 3 days and it was fucking awesome!! I’d do it again tomorrow if I could. Id do it every day if I could. I am so very much stronger than I ever thought I was. More capable. More resilient.
In September I also stood front row at the Zac Brown concert in Dallas. Thank you again, Donna. Fucking BAD ASS!! Seriously. BAD ASS!!
In October I made the FINAL decision that I was going to buy land and pursue building my own home. Scared shitless once again. This journey will NOT be easy or without obstacles. But I guess nothing worthwhile really is.
I learned to rock climb this year. I learned to fly fish, backpack, set up my own cable, how to dig a septic tank. I fed llamas and shook hands with Zac Brown. I buried my grandma and ended a marriage and walked 121 miles in 11 days and cried and laughed and met a guy. I learned some lessons about true friendship and judgement. I got two new tattoos. One to honor a boy. One to honor a journey. I found who I am. Im learning to be ok with her. I got a friend back, I watched a football team go undefeated, I saw some mountains I’d never seen and went on some VERY special drives ;). Im going to Houston for Thanksgiving. With the Dude. I will miss my kids more than there are words for as Ive NEVER EVER spent a Holiday away from them. And so it goes.
I don’t know what 2018 holds. And I like it that way. I know 2017 was hard. And sad and amazing and full of tears and laughter and friends and new beginnings and forgiveness. And being on the downslope to 50 is a good place to be. I love more. I have more patience. Im slightly more mature and working through the remainder of my shit that I need to work through. I am always grateful for good things. Its harder to be thankful for hard things. But I am. What a year. What a trip around the sun. Here’s to whats been and what will be. Thank you for the lessons and the gifts, 2017.
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