thud says the door.

I lean my back against it, exhale, and as I do, I finally hear the click of the latch as it slips into  the strike plate.

I have closed the door on this year gone by, although a few days late and not without a loose end or two escaping into this new space with me.

We had an odd relationship, the old year and I. It's lessons were painfully won, but were in some ways weightier for the struggle.

Most years, despite the fact that New Years resolutions don't seem to be en vogue any longer, I take a day to reflect on what I have to show for the time that is now spent and, looking ahead, to orient myself like a navigator, setting points on a map. I used to write in terms of goals and accomplishments, but over time that's changed. Especially this last year.

Because.

Little to none of the year's most valuable returns are things you'd call a success. How, for example, could you ever quantify a thing like

spent seven months caring for my father, who raged violently against his mortal cage even as he slowly turned to dust before my eyes.

A vast and wild undertaking, in time and energy and most of all, gravity. Something I could never trade, for all the pain it gave me and all the will it took. And maybe, once I'm finally all patched up inside, I'll be able to honestly say I'm a better person for it.

But there's no buzz word for that.

What about the time we spent with the kid? There's no resolution to the time that you give to a person, no finish line and subsequent trophy for the case.

There was my growing business and our growing business, my recovering identity, school, Seven; the little community of artists we founded, for whom I feel a most thorough affection, and in the middle of it all was daily life. Sweet dogs needing time, my little home needing care, faces I couldn't bear not to see; Marty, Larry, Katharine, The Kristi/ens, Gia, Tara.

There is wife for husband - another year committed, another year of working and learning how to remember what makes love a thing he knows so deeply he can feel it, not just a thing he hears, especially when you're in the heinous middle. For the first 5 years that he and I were together we were inseparable. Our work and home and social lives were together and that was fine. We each had our own interests, but we deeply enjoyed together. A few years ago, when that started to change, when we adopted the divide and conquer strategy, we missed one another. But this year was like nothing we've faced before. We barely saw one another; would steal minutes to talk, where before we had had years.

It could have broken us, but it tempered us, instead.

You can't call that an accomplishment. To say so is like saying you carefully designed those circumstances in order to improve.

But what I realize about this year and about life is that the power in living doesn't come from a list of accomplishments and goals, but rather from the strength you earn when you lean hard into a difficult thing and then you see it through.

That's what we did. It's what we had to do.

We leaned in and we saw it through.

Some of what we started we've carried with us into this new year and those are things we're excited for. I'll share a few, since I'm sure I'll write about them here;

We started our foster license last year, and when dad got sick, we put it on hold. This year we will see it through and lean hard into growing our little family.

I'd just begun to connect the dots between my creative nature and contributing financial resources to the family dream through my photography, writing and even this blog. Gonna lean in and build.

We spent a good deal of time looking at land, last year. Since we're debt free, we're finally ready to go if we find the right place. Finally ready to begin developing our homestead, the one with the tiny cabins and the gardens, the chickens, goats and bees; the place for the widow and the orphan and restoration for the weary. This year, hopefully, we will find it and go.

I'm also looking for a personal trainer this year. I suppose if we find the land, that alone will go a fair way toward forcing my hand, but I'm looking for a little extra help for the time being.

Finally, I'm going to see through what I've begun with getting my counseling certification, and with The Seven Collective.

If by chance I got to add something fun to my pile of things, it would be to begin learning Hebrew, with a side of photoshop advanced.

And on a personal note, I'm implementing the Three Question Habit, which is a post for another day.

What things are you aiming yourself toward, this year?

Here's to you and to us and to seeing it through.

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