I remember the beginning of this year. I can safely say I had no idea what was in store and I believe that will always be the case. I’m accepting my inability to predict the future even as I live in it. I’m also accepting the biological and unavoidable fact that a “year” gets shorter each revolution. Accepting this reality has informed my new approach to daily life. I attempt to wake up grateful each and every day. I had a few good lessons about gratitude in 2012 that have taught me why this is a good way to move forward.
As the year began I was well on my way into the Skinny People Eat Salad Journey but had no idea how dramatic, revealing, heartbreaking, liberating and empowering it would become as the year marched on. I had the honor of showing my first images from the project at the Wing Young Huie Photo Salon show this fall. I’m still in the middle of that process but I experienced the bulk of transformation in 2012.
We celebrated a nephew’s birthday in March. Driving home from South Dakota we decided it was time for us to stop eating the pigs and the cows. We encountered this livestock as we drove and it was the last time I could look the animals in the eye and be ok with eating them, so I stopped. I can’t account for how anyone else feels about that and will not judge. This was personal and I personally decided at that moment I was done eating mammals. It’s that simple.*
Not only did the mammals stop but the running began. I started to run this spring. I was just beginning when I took an art vacation to NYC to visit a friend. I was feeling so strong and in shape that I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge so I could take photos of the journey. It was a great long weekend in the city walking everywhere and feeling so free and light. I even navigated by myself from the airport to my hotel near the Brooklyn Bridge. There really is nothing like navigating NYC to make you feel like a grown up. The trip was made more precious by the tragedy that beset the city and entire area from storm Sandy later in the year.
In the summer we attempted to adopt a third doggie into our home. She was so lovely and sweet but for reasons that are private we could not keep her here. It was heartbreaking and gut wrenching but ultimately it gave us a better understanding and appreciation of our situation. We are just going to hang out with our very old dogs and take good care of their special needs. I’m grateful every day I wake up and have them in my life. This is a big part of the gratitude that I now understand needs to be recognized in my life when I have it. The recognition must happen in process – because now is all we have.
And as someone who didn’t start until late in life, I found comfort, strength and serenity in my runs. I ran so much I needed a second pair of running shoes. I’m so grateful I was running during some of the challenges life served up this year. Running balanced with yoga and nutritious food provided me with exponential additional mental and physical energy I never had before. These activities were the cumulated result of changing into a healthy person – better later than never, indeed!
We saw our last show at the 400 Bar. The Archers of Loaf came to Minneapolis for two nights. The power kept going out at the venue and since the bar closed this week, I now know why. :-/ It was amazing to see them a second time after all these years (last year in NYC) and to see them at home and at the now defunct 400 Bar. I could not have written a better John Hughesish script for that weekend. These performances were definitely a highlight of the year.
There was a family reunion in September. It was great to see almost all of my cousins, aunts, uncles, nephews, siblings and mom. I took photos at the 2011 reunion and made books and prints for family members. It was lovely to see everyone and to share.
On a less up note, grief has been in the air, not directly near me but in a general sense. Lines keep getting crossed in society that made it all feel more on edge. Not only did natural disaster reek tragic nature havoc on the east coast this year, many people died tragically in intentional ways too.
Our UPS man was killed in a workplace shooting in my neighborhood. He was part of our life for all of the time we have lived here, almost ten years. He served this neighborhood his entire UPS career, almost 30 years. This too was heartbreaking and wrenching. Life is more on edge when that gentle soul you see at least once a week in your life, a person that never complains and always has a positive attitude, that person is in the wrong place and in a minute, they are gone. I have decided to honor Keith by taking up that positive attitude as much as possible – having gratitude and bringing light to people in my interactions.
Many friends suffered loss as well. The entire nation felt this most deeply when so many children were shot and killed in CT. There was a new level of sorrow and disgust. This was followed so closely with a mentally ill person pushing a man into the path of a train motivated by unbridled hate. It just feels heightened. All of this spurs me to cherish every moment of happiness and wonder and to work hard to diminish the moments of suffering that I can control.
I’ve heard the people around me say it’s a weird year. Maybe it’s because there was so much planning for the end that when it didn’t happen we just had to keep going on… like you do.
For me I’ve decided to take positive nuggets, collect them, surround myself with them and fortify my attitude. The world is truly amazing right now even though the energy is intense, that because the stakes are high. I appreciate being alive right now and having been born when I was because I’ve seen epic shifts and I’m ready for more. The only guarantee is that things will change. I’m ready, willing and grateful!
Let’s go get ‘em 2013.
* There is a story related to a wild turkey in my yard that does not turn out so well for the poultry.