Hunting the Good

At the start of each year, most of us step into the unknown with the determination that this is going to be the best year yet. I can honestly say I'm not really the type to romanticize the new year, seeing as we never know what each day has in store, but I will admit there is a raw energy in the air as people set out to improve their lives, fitness routines, health, and the like. It catches like the common cold: quickly and certainly. Impervious as my immune system may be, I am not exempt from the hopes that the new year will be better than all the ones in the past.

I'd be lying if I said 2017 has been the best year yet. Because, circumstantially speaking, it hasn't. For a solid two months, I was convinced that 2017 was the worst thing to happen to me as one thing after another broke, from my car (three times within 10 days) to my computer (RIP MacBook Pro) to my external hard drive that contains my entire professional and academic life to my phone - not to mention the stolen license plate and the physical therapy sessions - and many other things that have fallen into the unkempt pile of Things to Fix. Did I mention most of these fell apart on me within the span of two months? I laughed when my friends told me trouble comes in set of threes, and then began breaking down in tears each subsequent time something gave out on me, requiring the majority of the money I have worked to make over the past year. And just when I thought I'd gotten through the breakage and was planning on budgeting so hardcore I'd make all my money back, the next thing would break. You could say it's been the most expensive year of my life, and I'm still slightly devastated each time I check my bank account. 

It seemed as though my life was slowly imploding, as the weight of all I had to fix and pay for settled upon my frame. No matter how heavy I lifted, I wasn't going to be strong enough to shake these burdens off. I was too weak, and my emotional wellbeing was far from okay.

Then there were the emotional breakdowns: the result of piling too much busyness and responsibility onto myself when I wasn't even taking the time to care for myself. I was scheduled from 6am to sometimes 9 or 10 at night, with little time to sit still and give my introvert self the nourishment I so needed. My effectiveness at work decreased, my relationships became unhinged, and cortisol flowed freely through my system every single second of the day. To the point where my kidneys started to shut down and my friends forced me to take an entire day off with no technology and limited human interaction.

You could say it's been a rough year. But you could also say it's been a wonderful year.

While stranded in Salida after car breakdown no. 3, I got to read and bask in the glorious warmth of the sun as I waited for a friend to willingly drive 2 hours to pick me up and drive me back over Monarch Pass (where car breakdown no. 1 happened). I've had many nights of drinking wine and laughing and having deep conversations with my close friends. I've visited Seattle and gotten to spend incredibly awesome weekends mountain biking and hiking and skiing and exploring with my loving, sacrificing boyfriend. I've gotten to hang out with my parents 3 times already this year! I've met with my beautiful friend and mentor almost every week, and gotten to share my life, my struggles, my hopes and dreams with such a wise woman. I've been caught in the rain, overcome with joy, blessed by the Colorado air and sunshine. I've gazed upon my favorite view of Paradise Divide no less than 4 times in the past week and a half. Heck, I've gotten a brand spankin' new computer, my car runs better than before, and I'm no longer worried I'll tear my achilles doing summer activities.

The thing is, we humans are subject to a terrible, misremembering memory. Give me any year and I can tell you why it wasn't the best year. I so often remember the bad things that happen - the instances that mark the greatest struggle or depression in my life - that I oversee all the good that has happened. I forget to "hunt the good." Though trials and grief are real, weighty, and worth acknowledging, I find it's difficult to see the blessings that result from my pain. Because sometimes we don't get to see the blessings. As my mentor, Claire, always advises me, we must sit in the uncomfortable and unknown and take life day by day.

That's why I'm not a huge proponent of New Years' Resolutions: because life happens on a daily basis. We can't look at a year as a single entity, but as a compilation of fluctuating seasons - if not days. Some will be better than others. Some will be devastatingly hard that you won't know what to do in the uncomfortable waiting room as you sit in silence and anticipation for the door to understanding to open. Some will be mundane, even boring. And some will be incredible beyond belief.

In this present moment, there are still bills I have to pay to the Bank of Mom (I'm grateful she looks after me as well as she does, while keeping me financially responsible), and a broken hard drive I'm waiting to receive an estimate (probably far more than I want to pay) to fix. I'm wrapped up in complicated emotions about moving while making the most of my remaining months in Crested Butte. I'm trying not to scratch the mosquito bites from yesterday's dinner in the warm summer air. Yet the sun is shining through the rustling foliage of the aspen grove outside my kitchen window, and I'm at peace, knowing that I can hunt the good in each day, being intentional with reevaluating my perspective on 2017 even halfway through the year.

Paradise Divide, from Lower Loop trail

Paradise Divide, from Lower Loop trail

Leigh BaldwinComment