We’ve hit the season when everyone reflects on what has occurred during the past year and dreams of the year to come. I am no exception.
What strikes me, though, is time’s beautiful ability to slip elegantly from one minute to one day to one year. Tomorrow may be a new year, but take away the countdowns, the parties, the reflection, it is simply a new day. Just as today was a new day. I love that.
It is difficult to pinpoint the significance of 2017. Before, each year had deep meaning, filled with momentous occasions and deep soul searching. 2015 was the year I finished college, filled with questions and striving. 2016 was the year I trekked across Europe and stumbled into my life’s work.
But 2017? I suppose it is an extension of all the years before, as if all the momentous occasions, questions, journeys, and stumbles were leading to what I am doing now: living day by day, moment by moment.
This year, I continued life in the small town library where I work. I experienced my first Summer Reading Program, started a Lego Club, and continued building relationships with my patrons.
This year, I applied, was accepted, and began graduate school online through the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Grad school is not easy, but it’s taught me to make time for self-care and that sanity is more important than grades. This attitude helped me get through my first semester with my sanity and GPA in tact. Already, pursing my Masters in Library and Information Science has helped improve my skills and understanding of my work. While I frequently whine and complain about the stress of my studies, I am deeply thankful for this opportunity.
This year, I continued living with my parents. All year, I have bounced back and forth. Should I move closer to work? Do I want to live in that community? Is it worth it to continue driving an hour to work and back each day? I’m still struggling with these questions. While I like living with my parents, I’m ready to be on my own. But I have absolutely no desire to live in the community where I work and cannot afford to both pay rent and continue commuting. This is something I’ll continue to wrestle with as the new year comes.
This year, I made new friends and continued walking with old ones. From road trip buddies to coffee shop chats monthly letters, I am extremely blessed in the friendship department and am so, so thankful.
This year, my faith journey brought me somewhere between the desert and the river valley. I’m attending church again and am encouraged by friendships, but still feel like I’m walking alone. In college, my faith journey was wild, frantic, and I pursued the path with relentless passion. My faith has changed dramatically since then. I’ve evened out. I’ve simultaneously rejected the fundamentalism of my upbringing while holding firmly to my spiritual beliefs and heritage. I’m calmer now. I continue to study, but I hold my faith with open hands. I long to be a person of high character, quietly bettering the world around me, letting my actions speak louder than my words. 2017 was a step in that direction.
This year, I spent each day with Wendell Berry. As part of my devotions each morning, I ended by reading one of his Sabbath poems. Of all my routines, this was my favorite. Morning by morning, his words brought me into still forests, quiet fields, and sunlit meadows. I reached the end of the book in October and went right back to the beginning.
This year, I continued my never ending love affair with the written word. Thanks to audiobooks during my long commute and a deepening passion for YA, I blew past my previous reading records, making it through 212 books in a mere 12 months. For more about my reading year, check out my previous post.
I suppose, in light of all these things, 2017 was a pretty good year. (Minus the dumpster fires of national politics and natural disasters, of course.) I grew, I worked, I learned. What more can one ask for?
Tonight, when the clock strikes twelve, we will slip elegantly into a 2018. Where will this year take us? What decisions will I make? What people will I meet? What places will I go? What words will I be writing one year from now? I haven’t the slightest clue, and that is a very exciting thing.
Whoever you are, wherever you may be, I wish you a very happy New Year!