I guess I am now that person who posts on my blog once a year on New Years now.
So 2020! Wow! What a year, am I right?
Here is my 1 Second Everyday video.
do I even bother to do this? To recap this year?
It started out pretty cool for me, with a trip down to California to Hearst Castle and Cambria in January. And then the world changed with the Pandemic, as we all know. In Oregon we had to also deal with the president hyper focusing his ire on Portland this past Summer, when we were experiencing daily riots. We also had the fires. This was, personally the worst thing that happened to us. We had to evacuate our home in September and it was terrifying. Everything turned out ok, though. Our home is fine. But there was a week in September when things were pretty scary.
The good thing that happened is that we bought our dream home. My husband and I are working from home and we are doing ok. We are hunkering down and hanging in there are really grateful at the moment that things for us haven’t been devastating.
I wish you all health and safety. We are not out of the woods yet, so please stay safe. Wear a mask and stay home. Let’s hope for a better year in 2021. ❤
I didn’t do this. Well, that’s not entirely true. I did this for a few weeks. And then I stopped. I had this long list of things I wanted to do: play ukulele, get better at drawing, write poetry, etc. Again, I did none of those things. I didn’t write a single line of poetry this year and I didn’t even try. My ukulele practicing was off and on. I drew everyday but I don’t feel like I improved much. I read this journal entry this morning and was tempted to feel like a failure. But then again, I think this past year I realized some things about myself which cancel out this feeling of failure. I realized that when I am not depressed I tend to think that I can tackle ALL OF THE THINGS. This is very unrealistic. Because then when I enter a state of depression I can maybe do 25 percent of the things, if I’m lucky. And by “things” I mean, just the basics, like cleaning my house and making dinner. So I learned to be wary of the Monica who feels good enough to do ALL THE THINGS.
This is progress. This is me being kinder to myself. This is me being realistic.
There is a part of me that doesn’t feel hopeful for the future. Our climate outlook is bleak. Trump is still president. things are grim. 2020 is going to be a dumpster fire.
But I don’t want to go down that path. So I will focus on the positive. Here are a few highlights:
This past year, on a personal level, has been fantastic. A year ago I had no idea that my husband and I would be in the place we are in now. Today we are looking at opportunities that I didn’t even think were possible a year ago. In that way this past year has been magical and I can’t help but be very grateful. I’m being a bit vague here, and I apologize for that.
I spent my summer immersed in The Diamond Sutra. It was intense, eye opening, and transformative.
I visited Boston for Pinholeday and met up with some of my pinhole buddies while touring the city. I got to see Salem while I was there.
I got to hold actual Moon rocks!
I danced with my family at my neice’s wedding.
It really was a great year.
Do I dare have hope for 2020? When I look at all of the good things from 2019 year I think I can allow a bit of hope. But I am also looking at things realistically.
I will check in tomorrow to talk a little bit about my plans for next year. Until then, I wish you all a fabulous New Years Eve.
2017 was such a shitty year for me that I decided that my mantra for 2018 would be “Roll With The Punches.” It turned out to serve me very well. To be honest, I didn’t get punched very much in 2018. Or if I did, I don’t remember the sting. In which case, the mantra really did serve me very well.
I feel like I learned and grew a lot this year as a human. I was very introspective and did a lot of self reflection via the Tarot and journaling. I enjoyed sketching everyday.
So what exactly does “Roll with the punches” mean for me, after a year of living it? It means acceptance. It means acceptance of everything, good or bad. Just lean into everything. Don’t ignore the bad stuff. Don’t ignore the anger, the grief, the sadness, or the pain, just because it’s an uncomfortable experience. Invite it in and ask it what it has to teach you.
I think the biggest example of this lesson for me this year was when I sprained my knee. It was very tempting to be angry with the turn of events and get down on myself for not being able to exercise. But when it happened I decided that I was just going to accept the circumstances. So instead of getting angry and upset I kind of enjoyed moving around the world more slowly and noticing things I wouldn’t normally notice because I’m usually rushing around. I don’t want to say that hurting my knee has been a blessing but in a way it kind of has. It shook things up and changed my world for awhile.
I feel like, learning this lesson, I’ve unlocked an achievement (if life was a video game). I feel happier than I’ve been in ages. I have learned that I can be happy even when I’m sad. That’s kind of a neat trick.
Here is my 1 Second Everyday video for 2018. Happy New Year! I hope 2019 brings happiness and peace to all of your lives.
I’m just going to get this out right here at the start: This was a year of letting go, of losing things that I’ve taken for granted. It was a painful year, starting with the loss of President Obama, and not knowing where our country was going to go with President Voldemort in power (sorry, I still can’t speak his name and “president” in the same sentence). It was an anxiety-ridden, painful fucking year.
I don’t want to go on about the losses because that isn’t where I want to go with this post. But I just have to say that, damn, it hurt when Newspace closed. It still really hurts to think about it. I did not see that coming. I had lots of plans to utilize that space, to improve my darkroom printing skills and, boom, it was just gone in a weekend. The good news is that the awesome equipment was saved by some Newspace volunteers and The Portland Darkroom was started and they are doing a great job. It’s not really something I am able to use at this point in time but I’m glad they are there. Still, I really miss the easy accessibility of Newspace. I miss that space.
The fire in the Gorge was another devastating blow. We’re still are unable to visit all of our favorite waterfalls and I’m not sure when they will reopen. So there is that. But life, renewal, new growth, etc, etc. We will be able to go back there someday. Nature is stronger than the stupidity of humans.
The theme continues: Our sangha is losing it’s lovely space because the owner of the building is selling. But, again, there is the theme of renewal here: we will end up in a fantastic space that may end up being better than what we have now (though some of our conveniences will be gone but that is OK. We will work it out). I’m actually kind of excited about this new space and have even envisioned us being in that space! It’s kind of cool to see this manifesting.
The List Of Bad Things kind of goes on an on, but I want to stop there. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, Roll With The Punches is my new motto and I think this year has taught me to do that. I just got so tired of getting upset at everything. It was exhausting. I’m not saying I’m going to not feel upset. Fake positivity is unhealthy and I don’t even think I am capable of that because I feel ALL THE FEELINGS. I think the key for me is to feel the feeling and then let it go. Not dwell on it. Don’t get caught up in that horrible recursive loop of negativity. Instead, find the silver lining and move on.
What I really want to do here is focus on the highlights and there were some wonderful highlights! One of them was meeting an internet friend in person that I’ve known for more than 10 years. We had such an amazing time catching up and I hope that we will have many more real life chats in the future. Another highlight was running a half marathon! And I beat my time from last year! Also, I got to display my pinhole photography at the library, which has been a great honor. And the total solar eclipse! OMG. That falls under a highlight of my life, and I wasn’t even in the path of totality! I’m making it a mission to see the next total eclipse in a few years. And finally, I was profoundly moved by the women’s march, and continue to be moved the the #metoo movement. The bravery of the women who have come forward is empowering. I feel like this has been the year of Don’t Fuck With Women and it is amazing. This collective empowerment has empowered me on a personal level, as well. And I go into 2018 filled with optimism and hope for the future.
Happy New Year to all of you, my friends! Here’s to a fantastic 2018! May we all have less punches to roll with.
Last month, after the devastating election results, I had dinner with a couple of wonderful women at a friend’s house. After dinner my friend wanted to do an activity. She had this fun paper with a rainbow printed on it as background decoration. She wanted us to make a list of all of the good things that happened this past year. She thought this was a great way to get our minds off of the possibly terrifying future. It totally worked. As soon as I started writing I could think of dozens of really great things that I experienced in 2016.