Life · Observations

2017: A Retrospective

So, 2017…glad it’s over.

Depending on what side of the US political fence you sit, it was the best year ever or the absolute worst. Either way, it’s been exhausting. Polarizing.

Weinstein and the long overdue fallout.

Tornadoes. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

The Las Vegas shooting. The Egyptian mosque shooting. The Texas church shooting. The shootings. Always more shootings.

California on fire, again. Or is it still?

The birth of Fidget Spinners. The death of Net Nuetrality.

Friends were diagnosed with cancer. Or were declared to be in remission.

Friends lost jobs, some found new ones. Plans were rearranged.

Friends got engaged, got pregnant, got divorced.

Here at home, we lost two dogs to illnesses, four months apart.

We decided to keep the kitten who showed up on our doorstep in November. Against our better judgement.

Personally, 2017 was a year of introspection, although that isn’t really the right word. Probably not. Self-reflection is probably more accurate.

With so much going on “out there” out of control, it’s easy to get caught up in it. Show me one time that actually helps things, yet we still do it. I know it never helps me handle it. Much more effective for me is to just work on what I do with the information. Focus my attention and mental energy on what’s really important and the people I care about.

Late this year, I decided to make a conscious effort to do more of the things I enjoy, which sounds stupid, but I tend to be the first to say “I can’t [insert activity], because I have to [insert lame reason].” Little things, like having a beer with coworkers, carving out time to take a walk or read a book or work on a drawing, tended to take a back seat to other more responsible, grown up activities.

“I can’t hang out because the dog and cats have to eat at exactly five PM.”

“I can’t play disc golf on Saturday because I have freelance work due Monday.”

“I can’t go to Cars & Coffee because I have to clean the garage.”

This year I’ve worked on being more intentional about taking time for myself. Not to get away from others or shirk responsibility, but to be able to be more present and clear-headed when I get back to them. Doing things I enjoy makes me a happier person, which translates to being a better person, which, in turn, makes me a better friend, husband, employee. Shocking that we’re surprised that works.

By New Years’ I’ll have finished the third book I’ve read this year. Not that any of the three are difficult reads, but considering years have gone by where I haven’t read more than a few pages it’s a start. All three have been in the self-improvement genre though, so that’s new.

With any luck, I’ll be able to continue this trend in 2018. The ever-growing reading list will get tackled, read books will be shared.

I’ll write more, draw, paint and weld more. Hang out more. Care more.

Be more involved in things that matter and work to shun the things that don’t.

I guess luck has nothing to do with it. Maybe I should say that 2018 will be a year of doing things intentionally. More of the things that matter or that are good for me, less of the opposite. Why does that end up being so difficult?

Either way, good riddance 2017.

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.