11 Things I’ll Remember from 2011

So it’s almost New Years…now what? 

In only a few more days we will start the beginning of a New Year. Sadly, I have maintained for several years, that New Year’s is a big load of hooey, so far as holiday’s go. Most people seem to use the Eve as a.) an excuse to party like a college frat boy and/or b.) a natural ‘restart’ in the year where they can make a long list of promises to themselves, that they don’t really intend to keep. However the New Year does make a nice natural ending and beginning; a pleasant enough way of marking and reflecting on the passage of time. Now, honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve been to a ‘good’ New Year’s party.  It’s actually been a couple of years since I’ve done anything social at all for the New Year—ai ai ai.  I’m not sure exactly what that means, but I digress.  Last year, however, what I did do was make a nice countdown ( I really do like countdowns.) Over the few days between Christmas and New Years, I made countdown blogs highlighting the best (or sometimes, simply the most memorable) happenings of my life in 2010.

Looking back on those post this year, I found it kind of refreshing. As I find myself nearing the end of, not only another year, but also drawing closer to the end of my third decade on planet Earth, I am finding that many of the ‘normal things’ people tend to measure adult success by, are lacking in my life. I say this not as a complaint by the way, it’s just that sometimes, particularly around seasons when the passage of time is celebrated, I need to have little reminders that even though I don’t measure so well on the typical bar of measurement (whatever that may mean), life is still good. And no, I’m not just talking vaguely about other people’s life or life in general—but my life—my life is good.  In saying that, I will add that I hesitated to write it because I don’t want to write up my ‘brag list.’  I mean, allow me to assure you,  frankly, my life isn’t perfect ex: that season of my life just this past year when my bank balance contained fewer digits then my left hand—times like that definitely not perfect. So no,  my life isn’t always exciting or perfect. But despite imperfections and occasional periods of lackluster, life is still good. And I need to remember that it’s good.  So as a way to kind of ‘Raise my Ebenezer,’ and so I remember the good stuff, here in no particular order, are 11 of my favorite moments from 2011.

#1. Blizzard! (Dubbed by a few, the snowpocalypse of 2011)

Ok, so I know, it’s just a lot of snow.  If you live some place where blizzards are common well…you probably won’t be that impressed.  However, the thing is, I grew up in Missouri and while we DID get snow, it was just rarely that impressive.  Missouri hasn’t had a blizzard in say… well my Grandpa seemed to be the only person in the family who could remember that much snow.  It was lovely, fantastic, inspiring.  Don’t judge.

#2 Snow date with Friends! 

One fine winter day, we played and played outside.  Yes, feel free to be impressed by the snowman craft.  We were.

#3 Montessori Kido-s 

I hesitated to put this one on the list–but the thing is I spent a good chunk of my year doing this–watching kids.  I discovered quite a few things, but two I’ll mention here.  1.) It probably isn’t my bliss career but 2.) bliss or not, I really did love that class of kids.

#4 Road Trip West

I feel like everyone should take at least one good long road trip with someone nice for company, at least once in their life.  That being said, I had never done that until last summer.  I had been on lots of family road trips as a kid, but never had I just got in the car with a best bud and drove out into the great wide yonder.  Thankfully for me, my good friend Jody was up for just such an adventure, and so over three days we drove from Saint Joseph Missouri west to WA.  It was quintessentially, exactly as it should be.

#5 Antelope Island 

On the second day of above mentioned road trip, we stopped at Salt Lake in a state park called Antelope Island.  I think it might be one of the most serene places I’ve ever been.  I’m not sure if the place is always like that, but at least on that afternoon, it was the physical manifestation of  calm.

#6 Locks of Love

I’ve spent the last five years trying to get ’em long.  And then this summer they just were–long.  It came over me suddenly in August, the NEED to chop it off.  And so I made an appointment and lopped off ten plus inches of hair.  The funny thing (that surprised me) was that despite it being an impulsive decision, I didn’t miss it at all for almost four months.  It’s only been in the last couple of weeks that I’ve thought, ‘oh I really do like having longer hair.’  But thankfully, it doth grow. Meanwhile there’s probably some lovely kid out there wearing some snazzy copper locks.

#7 Leavenworth 

Sometime last year I think, I was looking at towns in WA, and I found a picture of this really cute little Bavarian looking town in the Eastern Cascades.  I quickly added on my list of ‘places to to.’  Although most places on that list seem to be off-continent, thankfully Leavenworth was a very attainable visit and very worth while. T’was just about as charming as it is cute.

#8 Banff & Canadian Rocky’s 

Another location that has been on my visit list for a while is Banff, and the Canadian Rocky’s.  I FINALLY got to go, and sadly the only thing it did was help me determine that I should visit AGAIN.  It wet my appetite if you will.  It’s just miles and miles of pretty.

#9 Westward Migration 

This year I decided that I’d hung out in the Midwest for long enough.  Or at least for the time being anyway.  And so, I packed up my stuff, put some in storage and put the rest in my car and hit the road.  My mum once told me I should live my life in chapters.  Well, this is NW chapter.  I’m not sure if it is going to turn into a whole part of the book, or if it really will just be a chapter.  It is, as of yet, unwritten.

#10 Becoming Auntie M. 

One of the big reasons to be in the NW (or maybe I should say little reasons…7 lbs. 12 oz. to be exact) was that my sister was due to have a baby in November.  On November 14th I  took up the title of Auntie M. for the first time ever, and I must say, he’s perfection.

#11 Family Christmas 

So because I’m in the NW, and my parents are in the Midwest, my big Christmas wish for this year was to go ‘home’ for Christmas.  Well, I’m not sure it exactly worked out he way I thought it would…maybe I was home? in a new home? But I stayed here, and they came to us, and even though it didn’t happen on Christmas day, we still got all the important stuff in. (i.e. Family time, movie nights, good food, tree decorating, cuddles, presents, etc.) Not what I thought it would be…maybe not perfect…but totally good.

The load of hooey aside, New Years can be nice.  You can reevaluate dreams and envision the future; but also it’s a good time to raise your Ebenezer and celebrate how far it is you’ve come.  I know in my life, I’m not where I want to be. Is there still some work to be done? Oy, Yes. But thank God I’m not where I used to be either. Progress has been made. Now, onwards to 2012—may it be the best kind of adventure yet.


~M.R. Berry