In September I picked up a 2017 daily planner that was being sold for 75% off. Every morning for the rest of the year I used that book to jot down the happenings and affairs of the previous day. Something I decided I was going to do after seeing Austin Kleon’s fat stack of daily planners going back a decade.
Yesterday may be in the past and we can’t do much about it except learn from it and find a way to improve the day ahead. Additionally, being able to sit down in the morning and reflect on the day behind me has been a great way of setting everything that might still be bothering me to rest. Between that and the rest of my journaling routine, I’ve adopted lately, 8 AM to 11 AM are mercilessly productive.
Now that 2017 is over and there are no more surprises, I wanted to flip back through some pages and posts to see what this year had actually been.
It started with a haircut. The mop I had been growing for the better part of 18 months gets sliced. Immediately after that I am laid off from my full-time gig as a Sales Operations Manager. This move was nowhere near a surprise – the company had been making some strange decisions that I was ultimately glad to be away from.
Until I got the harsh re-education of what freelancing was nowadays. Long story short – Upwork can eat it.
I wind up in Mexico for a bit – a four-night run of the Avett Brother’s at the Hard Rock. First time in Mexico, first time at an all-inclusive resort. Then it was over for my first time in Cuba and my first time in a Cuba experience and all the stuff travel websites never tell you about. Cuba is the old and beautiful that everyone expects it to be. The people are nice to you because doing anything else might land them in jail. The government hates Americans still, but they’ll gladly take our tourist dollars because that’s less they will have to spend subsidizing a quality of life standard for their citizens.
There is an art show I’m a part of. There’s a lot of work that goes into preparing for it. Everyone I know supports it by buying the prints I prepared and the rest of the night is an absolute shitshow. I pursue photography a little more. Seriously, then casually, then rarely. All the reasons I first got into it are no longer reasons for anything. I still take pictures for myself because everyone would rather have a story than an image, but most people won’t stop for a story if there isn’t a picture.
I had resolved to spend more time fishing this year. That mostly worked out. At the end of June, I spend time in the High Rockies knee-deep in cold waters. I’m not catching much, which is fine. But the cold pressure of water on my waders and my knees is therapeutic from the old injury that still plagues me. I spend the day getting sunburnt on the water and the evening around a campfire cooking chili and drinking rye with John. It quickly gets cold at 10K feet and we burn a lot of the wood the Forest Service had left around. As it gets dark and the stars come out, the fire dies down to embers. One log has reduced down to the shape of a bear – a fat grizzly – totally wrapped in flames. This image has stayed with me. Maybe it was all the rye.
This was a year behind the mic. In April I started hosting for Geeks Who Drink at a little BBQ joint in Olde Town Arvada. Anywhere between 5 and 20 people show up week after week. It’s low-key, it’s fun, and I get to practice public speaking on a weekly basis. Some weeks I fill in for other hosts and do 3 or 4 quizzes each week. Maybe I’m good at it; maybe everyone is too polite to tell me I’m not good at it. Whatever it may be I absolutely love the microphone.
The year dwindles towards the end. A handful of trips. To Nashville to see Eddie Vedder. To Portland to see friends. To Raleigh to wind down the year with the Avett Brothers. Every energy is steadily ambient. Something has absolved all of the anxieties that I had started the year with. There has been some careful meditation here and there to ask if I’m actually free of that anxiety, or if I am somehow burying it.
The 2017 book is closed. The tired elastic band wrapped back round the covers and waiting for its place on a bookshelf I have yet to create. Shortly, other books will be piled upon it. From afar, it will be the bespoke mess of paper and covers mixed in with other texts and novels and tidbits – an archive to some completion.