So... 2016... was kind of an asshole of a year. It seems that way, right? A lot of bad stuff happened to a lot of people. I keep seeing a lot of posts and tweets and what not where people talk about how bad it sucked, but I don't really want to reflect on that. I don't want to end my year thinking about the bad stuff- although I don't want to forget it either. My mom used to say (A LOT) "Life sucks, and then you die." Not exactly the most uplifting advice that was ever given, but she's not wrong. Life is going to suck sometimes. And unless there is some huge advances in technology and medicine, you are going to die at some point. What matters is what you do with the time you have. You can get stuck in the sucky parts or you can do what you can to have fun and enjoy life. So, instead of remembering all the parts that weren't great, I'm going to attempt to remember the best parts of the past year. A lot of these best parts are connected to some of the not great parts, but that is what makes them good, you get through the junk and appreciate the fun.
So... here goes... my BEST of 2016.
I love to travel. It's really the only reaason I work at all. If I could just travel for a living I'd totally do that. I took some awesome vacations this year. Disney World 2x, Cocoa Beach, Bear Mountain, Yellowstone, The Tetons, Badlands, the Adirondacks a few times, Washington DC and also some camping closer to home. Plus I travelled with some of my favorite people, including getting to spend several days out west with my immediate family, plus Auntie Em and Uncle Dan. Wyoming is home (I'm missing it something fierce right now) and hanging out in Yellowstone with them was a total highlight!
I also finally got my complete ENO hammock set all pulled together so I can sleep outside in all weather. My highlight on hammock sleeping was probably in the Adrondacks, about 4am, something came storming passed my hammock, breaking twigs and screaming. I was pretty sure it was bigfoot. It was actually a fox. Things really do sound bigger when you are all alone in the dark!
Ending on a high note- the Month of Holiday Shenanigans
I think I've said it before. I work in kind of a difficult school district. It's a city and some of my kids have lived through stuff I wouldn't wish on anyone. Our test scores are low and we are at risk of going into recievership. It's stressful and there are days that I just dont think I can give any more then I do. Still... I love my school, I love my kids and I love my co-workers. I especially love that everyone is generally up for anything. This December we decided to expand our week of ugly sweaters into an entire month of nonsense, which included tutu's, ugly sweaters, elf dresses, and casual photo shoots. We found that as 2016 sstarted to wind down people looked forward to our daily posts and we decided that we needed to capitalize on that, so we started taking donations and on the last day of school we drove a box of toys and books to our local Children's Hospital. So we had fun and we paid it forward to some kids who needed it. It was a really good way to end the year.
So 2016 wasn't all bad:
On top of all of that I can say that in this past year I've come away with the best possible friends and family. I remember reading something somewhere about having anxiety that you spend so much time worrying about what everyone else is thinking about the way you are. Which is totally true. I can't even tell you how much time I've spent replaying conversations or moments in my head, wondering what the other person thought about it. Did they think I was crazy? Were they regretting being my friend? They probably are, so maybe I'll just stop being their friend before they can stop being mine. Why did I say that thing I said or do that thing I did?
Here's the thing I learned this year, and it's a big one (for me at least). None of that matters. It's still in my head driving me nuts, but the bottom line is that people who would dislike me for something that I work really hard to deal with are not people I want in my life anyways. And so I stopped worrying about those people. I still have to work with them, or spend family get togethers with them, and I am polite and cordial, but now I don't apologize when I'm in a rough spot. Instead I just say something along the lines of "I'm on the verge of a panic attack, this is how I deal, you don't have to like it, at a bare minimum either deal with it, or get out of the way" Some people couldn't understand or didn't want to, so we are no longer friends, and that's okay. The best part is that what I am left with are the absolute best group of people around me. Who either get it, or get me enough to be okay with it. Who are up for adventures at a moments notice. Who will hear an idea like "Lets wear ugly sweaters for a whole month" and say "I'm in". Who hear the question "Who wants to do a Tough Mudder in VA?" and respond with "yeah, why not" and sign up to go tackle something none of us are currently prepared for (we will be though!) People who hear me say, again, "Hey, I think I'll go back to school for another degree" and rearrange their lives so I can go. That's the goal right? To make this journey with best possible group aroundd you, so that you can get the most out of it and have the most fun possible.
Bottom line- 2016 was not great, but it didn't take me out of the race either. Here's hoping 2017 brings more adventures and more fun!
Home of the ramblings of an avid reader. In my spare time I also run, ride, teach, go on adventures and get into shenanigans.
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by: Chester Nez
The first and only memoir by one of the original Navajo code talkers of WWII-includes the actual Navajo Code and rare photos. Although more than 400 Navajos served in the military during World War II as top-secret code talkers, even those fighting shoulder to shoulder with them were not told of their covert function. And, after the war, the Navajos were forbidden to speak of their service until 1968, when the code was finally declassified. Of the original twenty- nine Navajo code talkers, only two are still alive. Chester Nez is one of them.
In this memoir, the eighty-nine-year-old Nez chronicles both his war years and his life growing up on the Checkerboard Area of the Navajo Reservation-the hard life that gave him the strength, both physical and mental, to become a Marine. His story puts a living face on the legendary men who developed what is still the only unbroken code in modern warfare.