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Two thousand and sixteen has been a strange year for me. In many ways, I think I have matured (about time, I'm sure many would say), but in many other ways I have felt a kind of regression taking place. My responses to situations have sometimes been very childish and I have lashed out (both silently and audibly) at others. I have also become acutely aware that I have, somewhere along the way, lost some of my ability to act, and then think post-action. While that may seem like a good quality or a step toward growth for many, to me I feel as though I've lost a part of myself. I miss the person who acted instinctually or impulsively, rather than after days, weeks (sometimes months) of arduous thought and planning. I have always struggled with these two sides of myself, but generally the spontaneous side has won out in the past without effort. The passing years have turned me into what many would consider an adult, and I can't say I care for it at all.
I have struggled to fix my body as well. Injuries that arose a couple of years ago seem to plague me even today. While there has been some recovery, age has also made healing a longer process it seems, though I am grateful that progress is made, even when it feels inhumanely slow at times.
I tried to start a business this year that failed miserably before it even really got off the ground. I had invested a great deal of time and effort (and a fair amount of financial resources too) into trying to make my plan work, only to come to the understanding that our city would not allow it. It was a big blow to my emotional state, I have to say, but there is a part of me that still believes anything is possible. The fact that it involved the use of my bicycle was exciting, but sometimes timing is simply off, so who knows what the future may hold?
Although there have been many deaths that occurred this year, there was one that affected me more than any other. My father passed away at the end of April after only 72 years of life, which left me searching for answers that I didn't and likely will not find. I was grateful, however, that after multi-decades of not coming face-to-face we had an opportunity to see each other and clear the air before he left this earth. While I still may not comprehend many things, I am thankful that I came out of it with an understanding I might not have otherwise had. I realize not everyone is so fortunate and I didn't and don't take that opportunity lightly.
Sam and I have continued to push our house-renovating selves in 2016. We have some pretty cool work to show for it, but it is exhausting, body-breaking work to do for two people and it often feels as though we have no life outside of demolition and rebuilding/remaking. I appreciate that we've found ways to reuse so many materials that were already in the house or that others discarded, and have been patient enough to wait for second hand deals or sales on most other items. I promise, the house is far less dumpster-dive-chic than it sounds after that sentence. After two years, we are nearing completion of this house (if we can only stop adding projects to the list), and I think we've proven to ourselves that we are capable of more than we ever thought possible. This time has allowed me to practice patience and has taught me not to be afraid to try things that seem daunting or even nearly impossible.
My art-self has taken a full swing at switching from painting to clay sculpture. It has been challenging to find time to do what I should actually be doing (you know, my actual job and all) with continuing house renovations, part-time gigs, and so on, but the pieces I have been able to complete have shown me that I definitely have my own voice (strange as that voice may be at times), and that I believe I prefer the creative process in three-dimensions as opposed to two. Who knew? I find that I have a far less-tense approach and more creativity while working, and when pieces don't work out it stings just a tad, but I try, try again or shrug it off and move forward.
I am learning that I prefer simpler, less technological things much more than I ever thought. Things like iPads and iPods, laptops and Netflix are all fantastic to have, but I am of the belief that I could live in a much smaller space, with many fewer things and be just as happy (or maybe even happier), and my most memorable and thought-provoking rides have been those that were not recorded or shared other than perhaps with another person along for the adventure. I am still not ready to limit my bicycles (though I know I could, if it were necessary), but as for other items in life, I really don't require much and I seem to be happiest during the most ordinary moments.
As difficult as it is for me to believe, I have written fewer than 40 posts over the last year here. I'd like to say that quality outweighs quantity, but I'm fairly certain that would simply be an excuse for my lack of time dedicated to this space.
I did share my thoughts about potential road-side potty breaks, and some of you shared your own tales.
We chatted about winter and riding (and I even stated that we in our house did not need fat bikes - and yet, here I sit today riding one).
I got a bit sappy about my Rivendell, too.
Our years in Colorado have been positive, as I relayed in a post when Sam visited San Diego earlier this year.
Although the BDB Pelican technically came into my life in 2015, it really took me places in 2016.
Sam shared his summer Leadville, CO adventure riding in the Silver Rush 50 and then later his tale of the Barn Burner in Flagstaff, AZ.
I changed a flat road-side for the first time on my own (at least without a watchful eye).
And, we somehow grew a real vegetable garden for the first time with success, which brought unexpected benefits.
I also found myself working part-time in a bike shop for a decent chunk of the year.
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May anything negative stay in the year that is leaving and only positive moments be in store for your 2017! Thank you for continuing to read and share your thoughts here in this space. I am grateful for short and long distance interactions with the fine folks who happen along here, and I look forward to continuing to share and grow with you in the coming year. Thank you for taking time to leave comments, and huge thanks to those of you who have e-mailed to share ideas and photos as well.
Happy New Year! I hope it finds you riding in good health, with a smile on your face and any wind always at your back.