2016 in Review

2016 was a tough year. It was a year of learning how to balance being a mother and wife, while working full-time, and trying to write in the crevices between. It was also the year of losing my grandmother, my last grandparent and the one I was closest to. I’m still learning and recovering.

But it was a good year too. I married the father of my children. I learned so much about being a mother. I learned that you cannot measure just how many nooks and crannies of the heart you can fill with love–I learned that on some days you have to allow that love in. I learned to be a writer, you have to write. I learned that you have to respect yourself–I’m always learning that. I keep the good moments in the lock box of my brain, to which I hope I never lose the key: laying on the floor with my daughters as they crawled over me like I was a jungle gym, giggling as I chased and caught them and gobbled them up; the conversations with my gram and getting to see her joy and pride as she watched the girls; the gratitude for my job and all of the new experiences I’ve gained from it; the shining moments of producing something that made me feel good, and that disembodied but assuring voice said ‘you are still a writer. And you’ve got this.’ It was a tough year, but it was full of good moments too.

In 2016, I was promoted to manager of my own property and moved to the new property to live on site. I set a goal to read 25 books on my goodreads. I ended up reading 33 mind-blowing, thoughtful, wonderful books (favorites will be addressed next post). I started a new novel in August to which I am in the process of writing the last chapter; I won NaNoWriMo in November by writing over 50,000 words to that novel. I had three publications. My poem Nest came out in February with Eunoia Review, a publication I respect and enjoy to which I had submitted before unsuccessfully. My collection of poems on my father’s death, The Stages of Grief in Four Parts, was published by a local college literary journal in May. I had the honor of attending the release party  and sharing some of these poems for my first reading. My story The Wake (scroll all the way down) was published in Jamais Vu in October, a story even more dear to me now for being loosely based on a story my grandmother told me. Once you read it, you’ll have questions about that. Just email me. 🙂

I made a list of new year’s intentions  last January. I didn’t achieve most all of them. But that’s okay. I found that the large, quantifiable intentions were often pushed aside when life got hectic. Or I just wasn’t ready for this art project or that revision. The smaller, bite-sized intentions were more manageable, like submitting more than I did the previous year, blogging once a month, and correcting some negative thoughts or behaviors–I still have a ways to go on this front.

I achieved a lot in 2016, not everything on my list and many things that weren’t on my list at all, but enough to be proud. My goal is to learn all of these things again, this year. To read more, write more, love more, be more present. To hug and kiss my babies and husband every day. To remember my grandmother and spend as much time as I can with all of my family and friends because every day is not guaranteed. To stop being so hard on myself. To embrace productivity, health, and love.

And I hope you all do too. Happy 2017, Everyone.

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10 Responses to 2016 in Review

  1. What a beautiful perspective on a hard, but successful year. My favorite line is, “My goal is to learn all of these things again, this year.” A perfect reminder that learning something once doesn’t always make it stick, that we have to practice it again and again until it becomes habit. That’s a good lesson for me to take back to the classroom tomorrow. Happy 2017, friend!

  2. Smash says:

    My deepest sympathy for the loss of your beloved Grams. 2016 was also the year I lost my Nana, my last grandparent, the one I was closest to so I really relate to that part of your year. It isn’t easy, but it’s life. Sounds like you have lots of good to outweigh any sadness. Keep going, you’ve got this 🙂

    • Thank you, Smash. I’m sorry for your loss as well. I just read your beautiful eulogy for your Nana. It is life. And though it will take time to heal the pain of the loss, we still carry the glowing memories of our grandmothers. Let’s kick 2017’s ass for them! 🙂

  3. I pulled out the same quote Carie did: “My goal is to learn all of these things again, this year.” That’s really beautiful, my friend. Your year sounds full to bursting, with good and bad, and I’m just so glad that you were there for it all, you know? Just experiencing. I’m sorry about your grandma, but also pleased to hear about the promotion and always (always, always) the little cuties. And for you to be hard on yourself despite knowing that you finished a freaking novel amidst all of this… well, I think we’re cut from the same cloth. Haha. Take time to celebrate before you charge forward. You’ve earned it. ❤

    • Thank you, Annie. Tears over here. I know what you mean though, just being there and being able to experience it all. Even being there for my grandmother in the end; not everyone can say they were able to be there with them like that. I will remember to celebrate the good before diving back in. Thank you. ❤

  4. dgkaye says:

    Beautiful post Ash. 2016 was hard for many of us, the trick is to look for the gratitude for the tender mercies in between. It appears you do get a few of those gifts. ❤

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