2017: Some Things I Never Told You


I’ve spent more of these December days thinking about 2018 and looking forward than thinking about and looking back on 2017.  However, a reflection seems appropriate before excitedly charging into a fresh batch of days.

Get it? Reflection? Reflecting?… photo: bess-hamiti

Lots happened in 2017, and the best bits were probably the unexpected ones.  I traveled.  Lots.  Too much.  To too many places.  I finally made it to Tasmania and Alaska.  I learned more about myself than I expected and for different reasons than expected.  I didn’t say very much about meeting the male version of myself and getting really excited, mostly because I eventually and abruptly discovered that we don’t actually have as much in common as I thought we did.  Oops.  I also didn’t say much about getting into an overwhelmed funk several times this year or finally starting therapy.  Actually, I don’t know if two sessions several weeks apart followed by months of an intention to schedule another one counts as “starting therapy.”  But I did like briefly making deep connections between seemingly disparate things I’d like to change about myself.  I also realized that behavior change on multiple fronts while traveling is a tough nut to crack.

I set some goals at the beginning of the year.  I achieved one of them.  I gave up on the other three, but not in the order I would have suspected.

  • The first to go was my greeting-goal.  It seems my lack of appropriate hellos and goodbyes is a symptom of deeper perspectives that take more work to change than I was or am currently prepared to do.
  • Next, I stopped meditating.  I just don’t like it.  A few of my friends posited that I already have the benefits that meditation brings to many.  Maybe.  What I don’t have is a desire to stop my daily flow to spend time “quieting my mind.”  If I want a quiet mind, I take a nap.  On this front, I decided “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

    Provided you’re otherwise mentally and physically healthy, this is a completely appropriate place to be at any time of day. Anyone who thinks naps are “lazy” ought to think again.  Quoting from TIME: “…daytime sleeping that lasts between 15 and 90 minutes—can improve brain functions ranging from memory to focus and creativity. For some people, naps are as restorative as a whole night of sleep.”  photo: pixabay

  • The last to go was storytelling.  That lasted all the way into July when I attended and performed at the annual National Storytelling Conference in Kansas City.  After meeting individuals who successfully riding the storytelling gravy train adefined by me as easily getting bookings, having people come to you, making the amount of money you want to make, I realized that – as with anything in life – you don’t get icing on the cake without baking a cake.  Regular readers know that my greatest love is learning.  I’m a mile-wide, inch-deep kind of person.  I love knowing a little about everything, but I’m just not that interested in knowing a lot about anything.  It’s the reason I didn’t run away with the circus.  It’s the reason I’ve had a gazillion jobs.  It’s the reason I’ve never, ever, ever been interested in a career.  After the storytelling conference, I could clearly see I couldn’t get to gravy-train storytelling without investing the bulk of my time and attention.

My photo a day goal worked out.  I sung its praises most the year, although it got a little tedious in the homestretch.  I’m hoping the habit of taking the kinds of photos no one does anymore (or the kind that have been replaced by a deluge of selfies?) sticks around well into 2018.

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2017 Snapshots

Each month this year meant different locations, lessons, people, and scribbles.  Here’s where I went, what I learned, who I encountered, and what I published.

January 2017

Went:

  • Tucson, Arizona
  • Austin, Texas
  • Hippie Hollow, Texas

If January had a theme, it was storytelling: I performed twice and attended four shows.

Learned:

  • Being the last performer after six other disorganized and under-practiced performers is hard.
  • My Myers-Briggs type is the most likely to be mistaken for a sociopath.
  • It’s possible for people to get offended by my idiocy.
  • Social-justice warriors can be dogmatic hypocrites who create the very same conditions they rail against.
  • At least one sensitive man-bun type from a dating site has mismatched words and actions.
  • Picking up trash while having philosophical conversations with a fellow introvert and fiscal conservative is… fun!
  • Austin “hill-country” is overrated.
  • Crying about a movie feels just as good as crying about the thing you’re actually sad about. 
  • A good back-up PA system in crowds: have those nearest to the speaker repeat the speakers words.
  • Providing consistency and routine to a child is inordinately difficult, but worth the payoff.

Encountered:

  • Two amazing and dear new friends
  • My yoga youtube instructor in the flesh!
  • The most intense and interesting work exchange hosts I’ve ever helped
  • One of the most fun and then suddenly the weirdest couchsurfing host I’ve ever had
  • The publicist for the podcast taping I attended (she drove me “home”!)
  • A fellow storytelling aficiando who became my date for another show and evening of fab conversation.
  • A fellow nomad who I thought I’d never see again, but who ended up playing a three-month role in my life.

Published:

February 2017

Went:

  • Tucson, Arizona
  • Benson, Arizona
  • Summerhaven, Arizona

These kids were an awesome part of my February.

Learned:

  • The thrill of travel will probably never die.
  • Consequences of neglecting wordpress backups are scary.
  • Americans are reluctant to listen to those who don’t agree with them.
  • Land acquisition is a tangled web of bureaucracies requiring tacit knowledge.
  • Do not take a toddler with you to a county planning department.

Encountered:

  • a neat group of activists
  • some interesting locals on an inspired road trip to a small town

Published:

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Nevermind.

If I’m bored writing it, you’re probably bored reading it, right?

I liked 2017.  I’m looking forward to 2018.  I learned some lessons.  I hope they stick with me.

Happy Travels! ♣

References   [ + ]

a. defined by me as easily getting bookings, having people come to you, making the amount of money you want to make


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