Friday, December 30, 2016

In the End, There Was a Beginning

If there was a medal for re-writing end-of-year/new year posts, I think I would take the gold this year. I have started writing, completed writing, and re-written so many that I have lost all train of thought at this juncture. Initially, I wanted to write about my frustrations with 2016. Not so much bike-related (though there have been those too), but more so with the state of this nation. I thought better of it though and decided to nix that would-be post. I tried starting it again with less of a bleak approach, but still, I couldn't shake the tone that was developing, and so I tried re-writing beginning with something more positive. It still didn't feel right and I wasn't expressing myself well. Over and over these rounds went, trying to find the right words to end this year without it appearing as though a dark hole has consumed me (for the record, I've only been partially consumed by a black hole).
*Image found here
Ultimately, I have come to the conclusion that there are not "right words" and while I really do want to pour out my soul, bemoan what is coming, and ultimately try to figure out solutions that work, I am not in a state of mind currently to capably express thoughts and emotions without it turning into a completely depressing post, and frankly, I don't want to be depressed nor do I wish to be a big downer to anyone else. I cannot change what has taken place and all anyone can do is move forward, believing that the best will come with work and dedication. I am choosing to believe that there are enough people who want, believe and will work for positivity that it will come about in 2017, regardless of the clouds that sometimes feel as though they loom heavy on the horizon.

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.
*Image found here
All in all, the year was a positive one, just as I hope it has been for you. There have been some questionable moments, but without those, I suppose life would be rather dull. I have hopes for many things in the coming year, but I am trying not to get ahead of myself, and instead focus on appreciation of today and what it has to offer instead of jumping into the future. Ah, growth, it rears its head yet again (let's see if it lasts).

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.

12 comments:

  1. Happy New Year to you! Please keep writing (and riding).

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  2. I can identify with your personal ups and downs. 2016 has been a very full year for you and, the election not withstanding, you've accomplished quite a lot on house projects and wow, even got a fat bike! Think positive, injuries may take a while to heal, but in the interim, ride any way you can, enjoy your animals, that wonderful hubby, and sunshiny Colorado. 2017 will be Your Year!

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    1. Really, the year hasn't been all bad. I think it was the act of sitting down to think about things that made it all seem far more dismal than it truly was. I look forward to improvement in the coming year though (there's always room for improvement, right?).

      Thank you for your continued time to make comments here - and for your blog! I always enjoy reading and seeing the adventures you (and your family) take.

      Happy New Year!!! :)

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  3. 2016 has been a weird year for me. It was filled with wonderful things at a personal and professional level, and (with the remarkable exception of the Cubs winning the World Series) a sense of real loss and even horror at the public/national level. I don't know what to expect or even hope for in 2017.

    On the biking front, though, I had a good year. I topped 4000 miles for the first time ever, got certified as a bike safety instructor, and gained confidence in my wrenching skills. Plus, I only put 1065 miles on the car, confirming my suspicion that we definitely do not need two cars! I still didn't ride my century though :-(. For next year, I'm not setting higher goals. 4000 miles is plenty for me. I just want to enjoy whatever ride I'm on.

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    1. Whoops - I hit "publish" too soon. Happy new year! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us here. I always enjoy hearing from you!

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    2. An impressive number of miles this year... Congratulations! :) Very exciting to get your bike safety instructor cert too - and I'm impressed with the limited miles on your auto. I think the century will come when and if you so desire. I think it's so much better that you ride when and how you like.

      Happy New Year to you and yours as well! Thanks for always "hanging out" virtually and giving your opinions and thoughts. I am always happy to read your words.

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  4. Love to read your blog - and Annies. 2016 was a challenge for me, also. Still recovering from an accident, which has slowed me down enough to read more and do some soul searching. I've changed and grown. This was for the better, as I was stagnant, and a bit impulsive and childish. I think of it as coming from being more childlike to more mature. However, I'm keeping my childhood way of looking at nature and wondrous things, appreciating a simple ride on my bike. I lost my Dad last year as well. It was a year of loss and transition, learn and grow. May 2017 bring rewards for you.

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    1. Agreed. Annie has some great posts!

      It's tough to deal with being active and having injuries, but it sounds as though it's brought some positives for you and allowed time to reflect. I know that (at least for me) those times can be invaluable for personal growth and appreciation.

      I hope 2017 is fantastic year for you (and thank you for reading)! :)

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    2. Also wanted to add that I'm sorry for the loss of your dad. It's a tough thing to lose a parent (I think, whether there was a close relationship or not). I know it reminded me of my own mortality and the fact that no one lives forever... and that we truly just don't know how long we have here. I think it definitely taught me to stop and enjoy the little moments now, and I hope that it will help me live more in the present.

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  5. I also am one who likes reading your writings. I have no complaints about 2016, probably because I'm retired and don't really pay much attention to things outside of my control. I got lots of miles riding. Did a tour, and rode in some pretty cool events. The Boston Midnight Marathon bike and NYC Five Boroughs to name two.

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    1. Cheering for you! Having no complaints is a wonderful thing that not many of us would say, but it's so very nice to hear from others who've had such a fantastic year. :)

      Congratulations on all of your events too - sounds like quite an eventful year, and I hope 2017 brings just as much enjoyment to your life.

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