Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 | A look back

It's that time of year--Christmas is over and a shiny new year is only days away. But before I start setting goals and intentions for 2017, I want to reflect back on the last year.

My word for this year was create, and I have to admit that it was mostly a fail. I did have a good stretch of writing in July and August, and launching the podcast was a success--though something I had not planned on doing at all when I chose the word create--but I did not make time for the other pursuits I intended to like hand-lettering, playing piano, and collaging.

I think the problem was one of priorities: I wanted to create, but not more than I wanted to go to sleep or read a good book. Sleep is much improved in our house, but still in limited supply. I start parenting in the 5 o'clock hour, so by the evenings I am ready to read, watch a show, or hang out with Neil. My best creative work happens in the morning and that is not time I have available for my own pursuits at this stage in our lives. I had listed those same problems in my original post and was overly optimistic about my desire to work during the blocks of time I did have available. I am going to try and be more honest with myself as I set my goals for 2017 so I don't have to rehash the same shortcomings this time next year. I may not have done everything I wanted to, but I am happy with what I accomplished under the circumstances.

Three big things that happened in 2016:

We bought a house and moved. Finding, buying, and moving into our house consumed much of my time, energy, and thoughts for the first third of the year. We are now in a house with no move in sight, which feels strange, but in a good way.

We started going to and then joined a church. Being part of a church community again has been a highlight of the year for me. Being connected to the ritual of church, the support of a community, and a place where social justice is a central aim has steadied me, particularly in the days and weeks since the election.

Abby and I launched a podcast! We started discussing this idea in the early summer and uploaded our first episode in November. It has been such fun to work on a creative project together and to share it with the world.

If I had to pick a few words or phrases to describe our year in retrospect they would be:

Settled. It was our first full year in Indiana. Our family is settled in the house, HP is settled at preschool, and Neil is settled at his job. We have now been in Bloomington for a year and a half. Things feel less new and more routine, but not in a boring kind of way, in a feels like home kind of way.

Easier. Parenting two kids is not easy, but it is getting easier all the time. HP and E can play together and entertain each other in a way that was only a dream last January. E is down to one (or no) nap, which simplifies just about every aspect of our days.

Content. I have been feeling at ease with where we are--the amount of stuff in our home, the number of activities in our lives, and the relationships we are building here in town. Life is not perfect, but it is ours and it is good.

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