every year around christmas [for as long as i can remember] i've grabbed a new paper planner and started marking it up for the following year. at first, this practice was pretty much limited to birthdays of family and close friends, with the rest of the year stretching out blankly before me. those years seemed so long, and infinite in their possibility. who knew what the new year would bring(?), and it would surely be AGES until the next christmas season rolled around. and in retrospect, those years were pretty endless. it always struck me as so foreign when older people talked about time flying, as i'm pretty sure middle and high school each lasted about a decade, college felt like about 8 years, and i fully expected those subsequent decades of my twenties and thirties to stretch on forever.
but over the last few years things have changed, and my december planning now looks vastly different. not only do i mark birthdays, holidays and relevant hallmark holidays (hello boss' day), and the due dates of bills in my planner, but there's something kind of odd about being on earth for so long (2017 will mark my 30th revolution around the sun) and knowing so much about the little details of how the next year will unfold...for example, i know not only when to start shopping for birthday, anniversary and christmas gifts, but i know the months of semi-annual sales at my favorite stores. i know how many fall and holiday candles and soaps to buy to get us through the season with no waste, and when to buy them, and how much money has been allotted for that shopping. i have lists of meals and desserts to make during each season, and i have a streamlined checklist of all christmas cookies and treats to bake each november and december. i know what movies we'll watch leading up to christmas, and i know it takes at least two weeks to sufficiently grow your own catgrass for easter baskets. i know how many times a year i'll clean out the oven, fridge and microwave, deep clean the carpets, get my hair done, perform recurring tasks at work, etc. etc. and while i also know the nature of life is it's total unpredictability, and i in no way claim to know everything, i can say that i know a hell of a lot more than i used to. (and what i don't know i can usually offer a pretty educated guess on.)
but as a result of all this "experience" we'll call it... each year as i'm able to fill in more and more of my year ahead of time, it seems to speed by more rapidly than the last, with 2016 being our speediest year yet. at first i chalked this up to staying busy, but now that i think about it, this is probably just the nature of age, perspective and time. and i fully expect 2017 to go the same way.
so while i have a few predictable resolutions for 2017, my biggest is to slow down and savor this rather awesome time in our life. (last year i strove to be less task-oriented and while i've definitely taken steps toward this, it remains a work in progress.) so in the spirit of savoring here's a look back at some of our favorites from 2016...
this is our year to beat.