A Year in this Life

In 2016, I…

Kicked off the year by diving into life in a new job in a new city. So many other things happened this year—and many of them were quite wonderful—but this part of it, the trying to make a go of life in a new job in a new city, has been the primary arc of my 2016 story. It was busy and stressful and challenging. It wore me down. I got sick and gained weight and lost sleep. I reckoned with parts of my identity. I got really depressed and so anxious it took my breath away. I fought back hard against it. I journaled and prayed and sometimes just cried. I ran and did yoga and sought balance and remembered to just breathe. I sought refuge in the support of my amazing family and close friends. I giggled with my sweet niece and nephew. I went out into nature and touched trees and crunched leaves under my feet. I pushed myself to keep moving forward and to keep showing up. And I challenged myself to make radical changes and to chase the things that will bring me wholeness.

Participated in a transformative yoga retreat in Yosemite National Park (check that off the bucket list.)  I almost didn’t go. The months leading up to this trip kicked my ass (see above) and I was feeling heavy and weak and breathless as I prepared to go. And the weather forecast looked bleak. It showed snow and chilly temps, which had me desperately wishing I’d signed up for a week in a lounge chair rather than early morning asanas. Luckily, I booked the trip with a good friend who’s pretty much the best at holding me accountable to things, and she promised me the forecast on her weather app looked much better than mine and, so, I got on the plane and headed to California.

You see where this is going, right? It was, of course, exactly what I needed at that moment. The trip brought light and air into my mind in body. It brought me clarity and reminded me to focus on my priorities. Funny how a week of good food, company, and exercise will do that to you. Oh, and the views!

P.S. If this retreat sounds like just the thing you’re looking for, it’s happening again this spring. You can learn more and sign up here. You’ll practice yoga under the watch of El Capitan, hike to all the waterfalls, meditate around campfires, eat the most delicious and nourishing home-cooked meals, and, if you’re lucky, play hooky for an afternoon at the Yosemite Bug.

Met my nephew, Hayden Leigh Witt, for the first time. He was born on May 1, has red hair, and his temperament is best described as jolly.

Said good-bye to my grandpa, Bob DeWeerd, for the last time.  

Traveled back to Colorado with the whole family to celebrate my brother’s wedding (and for a quick visit with dear friends).

Helped my parents pack up my childhood home so they could move to a smaller place (which just happens to be geographically closer to the grandbabies).

Took a trip to the U.P..

Cast my vote for a woman in a U.S. Presidential Election. As you may have heard, she didn’t win. But it was still a great moment and historic nonetheless.

Visited San Diego, California on my first-ever solo vacation. If you go, visit this café, get an acai bowl and a dirty chai, take it down to the beach and watch the waves while you enjoy the most delicious breakfast ever.

Made a big decision about my future. This year was deeply challenging, perhaps more so than I even expected on that day last December when I watched the Rockies disappear in my rearview mirror as I drove east, back to Michigan. As with so many things in life, it’s been a journey that’s leading me somewhere I didn’t expect. 

As I look back on the last year, I can say with certainty that I understand now what my purpose here has been, and why, in this moment, I needed to be back in Michigan. I don’t know for sure what comes next and I know there’s a chance that whatever it is will most certainly be equally filled with the unexpected, and the road will probably be a little bit (or, likely, a lot) rocky along the way. All I know is that I always want to be the person who presses play or hits go or steps off the moving sidewalk mid-way through the ride to change direction when that’s what my heart is calling me to do.

And what my heart is calling me to do right now is to return to Colorado and to pursue my writing career, which I will do this spring. The stars, the mountains, they beckon, and I have found so much peace in deciding to answer that call.

Happy New Year, friends.


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