Dear loved ones,
2014 began with a trying, cold winter—in an old apartment whose radiators sang like birds. Sam and I traveled to the California desert to escape. Then we married in the spring on my parents' farm in Missouri. Friends and family made trips from Chicago and Germany and Panama and elsewhere to celebrate around a meal, and then a dance floor, and then a bonfire. We moved a week later into a little rental house in Logan Square with a porch and a yard. Sam practiced banjo to such an extent that I was constantly humming tunes of gun fights, drowning women, hunting groundhogs, and the like. He developed an obsession with waves—a joke among our friends—and perfected his coffee. I learned about herbalism and aromatherapy; spent days in the yard and nights designing a new independent magazine; and didn't read as much as I'd wanted. We felt overwhelmed by life and work, and frustrated with the city. We questioned staying in Chicago long-term in hope of gaining a quieter existence.
Then we traveled to Iceland for two weeks in the fall, and I visited Oregon and New York to see a few of my favorite people in two of my favorite places. The weather cooled and we both became busy with work. I designed an exhibition catalogue and Sam brewed the late shift. We joked about become professional hobbyists. We felt happy and fulfilled and productive. We loved Chicago. We loved our friends. We loved our family. It was a good, hard, important year.
Wishing you love and light and growth,
HYPOTHETICAL NEW YEAR LETTER FOR 2016:
Gah, 2015 was THE BEST. (I'm writing this from ______—can you believe it?—a surprise trip from Sam!) I read 50 books and learned conversational Spanish. Sam and I trekked 100 miles in Patagonia and I felt strong with my yoga-toned arms and bicycle-toned legs. I was very thoughtful—remembered everyone's birthdays, wrote thank yous, and always brought a hostess gift. I often woke early to meditate and work on projects. I spent less time at work, and with my extra hours—wow!—was able to (re)learn how to knit, crochet, and weave. Sam became an excellent banjo player.
We fermented and preserved throughout the growing season and I became more of an intuitive cook. With our help, the yard became more beautiful than ever, and our friends gathered there on the weekends—there was so much love and laughter. I finished my courses in herbalism and gardening, and felt great about my contributions to the community and to the world.
I kept things busy but took things slow. I paid attention. I created—not for an end, but for the exploration. Oh, and Sam was awesome. This year was awesome.