[I started this blahg post four days ago. I truly thought I would start and finish it four days ago, but here we are. this first part was written four days ago. then—now—we are four days, four years later.]
What a day.
Today, is the four year anniversary of my tragic ski accident. It feels like it was a lot less time ago. And in that vein, it feels as though I’ve talked about this accident a lot. I talk about it “a lot” because it changed me… a lot. It defined so much within me and made me declare, “I want to be here.”
It also made me start defining my years. The year of my accident was a bad year. A year of just surviving. Then there was the year of thriving. Then the year of change.
And now we’re here. I take January 21st and celebrate the birth of a new year, because it is when this huge, heavy calendar within me flips all at once—it’s heavy momentum hanging in my chest for a half second, before dropping all together.
This year has—frustratingly—been a year of stagnation. Stagnation might not be the exact right word. Spinning wheels and getting nowhere is the feeling of this past year. Evan has been in nursing school and it has been so. hard. Near the beginning of 2016, half of my company was laid off. It was horrible. I said goodbye to working with many of my friends this year. And while I worked 50-hour work weeks, I still feared for my own job for most of the year. Evan and I did so much moving, spinning—so much work—but felt like we were getting slowly pushed back or pushed down by some force of frustration.
This year of frustration and moving backwards has also been prominently obvious in our nation’s politics. It feels like huge steps backwards. Huge steps backwards for so many things I care about—women’s rights. environmental causes. funding for the arts. health care. racial equality. immigration empathy.
Today is a big day. I am sitting with Evan in a coffee shop in Helena, Montana—our capital city. We are getting ready to march with thousands of other Montanans who are fired up and upset about our newly elected president.
In a couple hours, we march.
[end of four days ago writing.]
We marched, we teared up, we held hands, we yelled, we smiled, we laughed, we banded together, we felt empowered, we knew this was the beginning.
Then we drove to Jackson. I drove while Evan studied for an exam. We drove to Jackson and went to watch Ira Glass speak about creativity and perseverance.
We drank too much whiskey and wine with friends and finding time before midnight, I raised a glass and said…
– I just want to make a toast… because it’s my FOURTH anniversary from my accident. And I’m just so happy to be alive.
I was. I am. The stagnation doesn’t change that and never will. Friends all agreed that they couldn’t believe it had already been four years. Me neither. Or can I? It’s back and forth so much that I end up in the same spot.
Over Christmas, Evan and I took a trip to Seattle. We stayed in our friend Dale‘s apartment. We were there to recap the year, celebrate art and togetherness, and plan the next year. It was hard—harder than expected. This year has just been an exhausting journey to seemingly nowhere, so we wanted to rest. We rested in each other. We did things around Seattle that gave our souls rest.
One day we had a tour of KEXP. I listen to KEXP every morning—have for ten years, because my friend Anna insisted we must when I started working at Alpinist magazine… when I moved to Jackson, Wyoming ten years ago… and didn’t know a soul in that very cold town.
The tour was exciting, empowering, inspiring, and joy-filled. We met a friend on the tour and her daughter. We ended up hanging out afterwards and talking for and hour. About life, bikes, music, children, nursing, living, loving, coffee, and all that lives on the stage of life and in the wings.
It wasn’t moving forward, but it was dancing in the now.
I figured out that this last year wasn’t moving, but it was dancing, crying, grieving, staring, meditating, reading, yelling, loving in the now. And that’s worth something.
There has been much nowness—and I need to appreciate that. This last year—I want to call it stagnant—but I think it demands to be something more along the lines of “introspective.”
This next year—this next year, though!—will be more movement, more outro-spection.
I will submit essays like a motherfucker until I’m published.
I will protest and write and call and yell until my colleagues think I’m crazy and my representatives know I’m not going anywhere.
I will run until my lungs are joyously impressed.
I will create like it’s urgent.
I will love like it’s necessary.
I will dance like it’s obviously welcome.
I will create. I will aim high. I will be loud. I will be persistently going forward.
I will not be still. I will be moving.
This next year.