This Is It

Okay.

Once again, I’ll be blogging every day (or so) in December. This time it’s free-form, but if there is a theme, it’s this: Enjoy Yourself, The World Is Ending.

But even if it’s not, I’d better like it anyway. Consider the alternatives.

In most ways, 2012 has sucked. I have been confronted with some pretty shitty things, ranging from the really annoying to the sincerely horrifying.

Some crops and humans thrive when they are submerged in shit. I do not!

The good news is that I’ve been dealing better than I would have thought. This isn’t because I underestimated my coping abilities, it’s because I realized that more than two meltdowns per year just isn’t sustainable. One of the best (and most frequently repeated) strategies I’ve found for heightening resilience is habitually reflecting on the good things. It’s self-hypnosis, a retroactive view in rose-colored glasses.

And as much as 2012 has sucked in breathtaking ways, it’s been pretty good in others. When this year ends, I’ll be going out healthier and happier and fitter than I went in.

1. In 2012, I traveled a surprising amount.
I’m not one of those people who claims to be travel-obsessed, but going places is something that RZ and I have prioritized in our lives, even when we are super poor. This year, I never left the country, but I spent quality time in Texas, Idaho, Washington, Montana, Colorado and California. And Oregon, of course.

2. National Parks for real, not the Ken Burns series (which I also love!)

The west side of Glacier National Park

East Coasters, this exists in the country that you live in. It does!

Before this year, I had been in, I believe, one national park ever: Grand Canyon. It was not overrated, whatever you might have heard, but I was there twenty years ago. That is bonkers. I didn’t plan on rectifying this in a huge way in 2012, but did I ever. By the end of the summer, I had hiked and camped in Glacier, Crater Lake and Redwoods National Parks. This alone would put a rosy sheen on 2012, especially since it involved…

3. BEARS

Oh hey alpha predator

Oh hey alpha predator

Three of them! In the wild! One of them was waddle-running across the Pacific Coast Highway in Northern California, but the other two, including a mothereffing GRIZZLY, were just lumbering along, minding their own business, being bears. Seeing that grizzly was transcendent, the best moment of the year by far.

4. Cycling
Since August, I’ve ridden my bike about 1,000 miles. More about this in the future.
I did not do this in pursuit of health and well-being, but because I got a “job” thing. You go there and they pay you money? More about that in the future.

5. I edited a novel for the first time

The writer, David Holley, is one of these inspiring people who decided to make big changes and follow his dreams. But, unlike most people who decide to follow their dreams, his dream doesn’t involve writing self-help books about following your dreams. I know, right? Instead of bumming you out with goal-setting and lists, Eden entertains with scary pandemics, volcanic eruptions and surprising feats of survivalism. It’s fun and exciting and you should probably buy it! [Kindle, iTunes, Barnes & Noble]

6. Neo-soul, I understand you finally
As a music writer, this is such a huge relief. Trapped In the Closet aside, I just didn’t get it before, but I always knew I was missing out. Was I ever! This development reminds me of one of the best conversations I’ve had this year:
RZ: “Ignition (Remix)” is totally my favorite song.
Me: Really?! You like it more than any song by, like, Wilco or Prince?
RZ: Okay, it’s my favorite song that’s ever been a radio hit. And possibly.

7. Speaking of music, I got to get paid for talking to so many interesting musicians!
This is probably the best one, partly because it gave me the chance to talk to a truly one-of-a-kind man and hopefully spread the gospel of his mind-blowing tunes. I don’t meet new people very often, and I’m glad the Mercury forces me to meet so many great ones.

On the downside, I realized I just couldn’t continue to review movies on a grand scale. A full-time job plus several freelance projects equals something had to give. I really miss it. Also, I took fewer pictures than I have in years, and, aside from a few mental-ward-ish pages in the back of my notebook, those detective novels are still waiting to get written. That’s okay, I’m physically incapable of maintaining this abstention and 2013 is just a few weeks away.

Here’s an amazing poem I found today on the Internet about not regretting even your truly shitty moments. After I read it, I saw that it was written by an old college professor, Dorianne Laux. I think you’d like it, even if you don’t like poetry. It’s kinda breathtaking.

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4 Responses to This Is It

  1. You could talk to me. I’m an interesting musician. NYC misses you!

  2. Andy, bring the reggae to Oregon and I’ll write an article about you! If not, I’ll come up with a blog post that requires your insight.

  3. Amy Ziari says:

    Yay, I’ve missed your posts. And now we all get a whole month’s worth? Too good to be true. Glad to have you back.

  4. Pingback: Cycling: Why I Love It, What It’s Taught Me & How Not to Be A Dick | Saucy Salad

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