So ha, ha to the old year
Goodbye to the cold fear
—Eric Peters, The Birds of Relocation, “The Old Year”
2017 was jarring for so many… personally, nationally, globally.
Personally, it was the year I said goodbye to Erie and my awesome job and my dearest friends. It was a year of fumbling my way through resumes and cover letters and interviews and drives to unfamiliar corners of metro Detroit.
Nationally, it was the year we cried with Houston, Miami, and Puerto Rico. It was the year we cringed away from scenes of flaming destruction in LA. It was the year lots of us resisted, and those who didn’t and those who did focused solely on what divides us, not on deep conversations to discern what might unite us. It was the year we wondered if Obamacare would be repealed, if the women’s rights movement would face crushing setbacks, if the tax cut would pass, if a border wall would be built (and if Mexico would pay for it).
Globally, it was the year we wondered what would happen in North Korea, what Russia had or had not done to interfere with our election, if the refugee crises would ever end, what Brexit means, what ISIS would do next.
If I’m being honest, I wasn’t sad to see 2017 expire and watch 2018 be born.
Personally, the end of one year and the dawn of a new one is always a time for self-reflection. What have I achieved this past year that I’m most proud of? And what am I looking forward to?
When I look back at 2017, the highlight of my year has to be my September trip to South Korea for my brother Ian’s wedding.
Throughout Ian & Shinae’s relationship, there were a lot of questions about where the wedding would take place and what that would look like. Ultimately they decided to marry in South Korea in a modern Korean ceremony. I’ll talk more about what the wedding was like in a later post, but for now I just want to focus on what it was like to be in Seoul.
Seoul is a beautiful city. There’s not much litter, public transportation is easy and seamless, crime is low, and there are so. many. things. to. do!!! The trip to South Korea was my first international foray (Canada doesn’t count, no offense). If I had been to Europe, I probably would have already been familiar with the juxtaposition of a new city with an old world, but since I haven’t traveled out of the US before, this was the first time I experienced that. It’s truly amazing to walk on streets that were paved in the 1300s or to visit a temple from the same era and think, This has been here for seven-hundred years, for ten lifetimes!
As I think about the year ahead, I’m excited and ready for it. It’s a year in which I want to experience even more old things and new things. Maybe get another stamp on my passport. Maybe finally sit down and edit one of my six manuscripts. And I know I will continue to love deeply, breathe deeply, feel deeply.
For now, while it’s cold, I will bless the cold, for feeling the cold makes me feel alive. When it is warm, I shall bless the sun, for feeling warm makes me feel alive. When it is windy, I shall bless the wind, for its breath over my skin too makes me feel alive.
This is the year when laughter douses charred and burnt-out dreams
This is the year when wrens return to nest in storm-blown trees
Is this the year of relocation from boughs of old despair?
This is the year to perch on hope’s repairs
—Eric Peters, The Birds of Relocation, “The New Year”
Best wishes to you all in 2018!
c. b. wag