Three more years later…

(So much has happened since my previous post. If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you’re caught up: I work at Parallax Press, a Buddhist publisher founded by Thich Nhat Hanh, Dessa only has one eye, I still live in San Francisco and bake bread. Read on for 2017 year-end reflections, you’ll see…)

2017-the-end

2017 has pretty much been a trash year, but some things went well. I am glad most of us survived. I lost my father and my beloved Janie Sparkles (in January and February, respectively). There’s an unstable tyrant in White House. Every day it feels like the world is ending. My depression reared its head (once again), but I’m muddling through.

However, plenty did go well this year. I stuck to a daily writing practice for the first time ever. (750words.com, or just use a journal Julia Cameron style!). It was a slog at times, but I also found refuge in taking 15–20 minutes a day to air out my head. I developed a habit of (mostly) doing my writing in the morning. I was able to see a personal benefit in how I felt, not an external badge to wear, bragging about what I’ve done.

I also gave myself the more relaxed “goal” of posting to doughtown.com at least once a month. It’s not writing per se, but a small side Tumblr to collect links about bread, gluten news, and anything tasty morsels that caught my eye. So, although there is no blog proof, 2017 was a year of writing success.

In a similar once-a-month, doable achievement, I scampered a smidge. And, yes, some months were just a single run (like this one). I chose not to Big Sur Marathon again because my training completely fell apart in February. Why do something that you aren’t ready to do? Why do something that feels like a burden? Right now, I don’t love long runs. A training program weighs on me and becomes an albatross around my neck. Who wants to live in constant self-disappointment?

Another first, I completed a daily Instagram challenge. Maybe I’ll be glad I have a document of these past 365 days, but it doesn’t feel that special. I’m not more creative or more observant or a better iphonographer. Perhaps I’m more critical of the medium, as in, more negative. A key to my “success” was not talking about it. No hashtag, no declaration. In the past I’ve started gangbusters and fizzled out. Then I feel bad about myself. (Which seems to be a key feature of spending too much time on social media.) This year taught me I don’t want to do it again next year. So, that’s two wins in one!

More important than social media, I telephone my mom almost daily.

Thanks to a daily commute across the Bay Bridge, I’ve returned to reading audiobooks. Previously I’ve beat myself up for not reading enough. I’m proud to say I’ve listened to some 30+ novels, memoirs, and non-fiction titles. Plus, a handful of physical books. (Libraries are pretty great places—they give you books… for free!)

There were trips to Dollywood, to NYC, to Kentucky, to Mississippi, to Iceland. There were loaves of bread and lemon-blueberry cakes and cardamom buns. Two sweaters and a pair of socks are teetering on the edge of completion. This was the year that I picked up the ukulele. (Thanks, Dad.) I’m ending the year with a smattering of yoga classes, a coterie of succulents, and loads of laundry.

Despite it all, thanks, 2017. I’ve got higher hopes for you, 2018.

I’ve have dusted off Twelve12s for a gentle go in 2018. I don’t recall whether or not I had a word for 2017, but I have a word for the coming year. There’s a story behind it that I may write about at a later time. My word?

Impetus /?imp?d?s/
noun

  1. the force or energy with which a body moves.
  2. a driving force
  3. stimulation or encouragement resulting in increased activity

Illustration by Marc Johns

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