December, 2015

...now browsing by month

 

2015: Everything Changed and I Cried

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

There is no better summation of my 2015 than this: Everything Changed and I Cried.

I should caveat this by saying that right now, in the last days of the year, I am steady and stable and grateful for my life and current situation. It took a little while, but here I am.

But for the last 363 days until now, 2015 has been a doozy. One year ago today, I lived in Denver and had no inkling I was about to turn my entire world upside down with one little job application. Fast forward until now, having made it through five months of an interview process, an eventual job offer, the selling of one house, the purchasing of another, a cross-country move, the beginning of a new job (in a new role with new people and new responsibilities), and all that goes along with “starting over” in a new city, and here I stand, scratching my head and wondering where the year went.

Given that the last 12 months were a blur (I don’t remember the first half of the year at all), I figured I’d take a page from my girl Dani’s book and reflect via a listicle. If you’re a blogger (or even just a journaler), feel free to lift these questions — I found it to be a helpful way to sort out the past year.

:::::

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?
I sold a house, moved for a job, mowed a lawn, and helped harvest honey on a friend’s farm.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
In the name of self-acceptance, I didn’t make any resolutions at the beginning of 2015. I am now feeling snarky about that concept, and would like to change everything about myself in order to be better, cooler, and prettier in 2016. My goals for the coming year will flow from this place of self-loathing.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Just about everyone, it feels like. Welcome Willa, Arthur, Adelay, Blake, Harriet, Autumn, Jenna, Griffin, Hank, Ramona, and many others! (Theo, Teddy, and Eliza just missed the cut, arriving in late December 2014.)

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, not even my car, thank God.

5. What countries did you visit?
USA all the way.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you didn’t have in 2015?
The runner’s booty.

7. What dates from 2015 will be etched upon your memory, and why?
July 3. I left Colorado and didn’t stop until I got to Minnesota.

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
Accepting the fact that people do what makes sense to them, and it’s useless trying to control them. It’s even okay to forgive them.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I let my heart get entangled with someone who didn’t like me as much as I liked him. Such is life. I definitely wouldn’t call it a “failure,” though, since given the option, I think it’s always best to use one’s heart instead of protecting it. #noregrets

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I have been consistently dizzy for the past month, experiencing about two bloody noses per week (one of which occurred five minutes after I finished singing “Breath of Heaven” for my mom’s church on Christmas Eve — happy holidays). I am not dehydrated, so the only other option according to WebMD is that I have a fatal disease. Stay tuned!

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A new house, obviously. But I’m also quite fond of my new pom-pom hat.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 4.33.40 PM

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Kristen, who quit her comfortable life in Denver to take a really difficult but important job in Jackson, Mississippi. Kayla, who went beast mode on her dreams and started a non-profit initiative designed to empower women. Anna Talley, who drove Foxy from Denver to Minneapolis. Becca Groves who, after being 10 days overdue, made it through a 54-hour labor to deliver sweet baby Hattie. Glennon Doyle Melton & friends who took actual action to assist with the refugee crisis. The guys with the eagle.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Donald Trump.

14. Where did most of your money go?
My fence. RIP, money.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I was really, really, really excited when I was offered the job I am now in. I also was really, really, really excited when Foxy finally arrived in Minnesota, bringing our month-long separation to a close. And I bought a ticket to Hong Kong for a trip that’s now only seven weeks away!

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?
I wish I had a cooler answer, but “Stay a Little Longer” by the Brothers Osborne.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
Sadder (only slightly). Fatter (only slightly). Poorer (but more money always comes). But I never want to say the sentence “I am sadder, fatter, and poorer than I was last year,” so let’s forget this ever happened, shall we?

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Hiking while I lived in Colorado. I did a lot, but it’s never enough — especially now that I live in a less hike-worthy state (but nonetheless pretty and explore-able).

I also wish I had written more.

I also wish I had cooked more actual dinners.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Wasting time on social media.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
I woke up and drank coffee with my mom, then took Foxy on a walk, then read for a while, then ate grilled chicken and salad, then went to see Joy. No presents — that will happen tonight.

21. Did you fall in love?
No, but I suppose I could have if circumstances had been different. Ain’t that always the case.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Broadchurch. I started watching The Man in the High Castle this week (halfway through the short season), and can’t stop thinking about it.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Hate’s a very strong word, and I don’t hate anyone. No.

24. What was the best book you read?
My favorite book always tends to be the one I’m currently reading — which right now is All the Light We Cannot See.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Sean McConnell.

26. What did you want and get?
A house with a guest room, a yard, a front porch swing, and a basement.

27. What did you want and not get?
I can’t be trusted to answer this question. I could share an entire Rolodex of the things I wished for, but then Garth Brooks would start singing “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers” and I would be totally pwned.

28. What was your favorite film of 2015?
I watched so few movies in 2015. I never saw Inside Out, Star Wars, Creed, Trainwreck, Steve Jobs, Still Alice… in fact, the only movie I saw on this list of Top 100 Movies of 2015 is Selma. So I guess Selma? (To be fair, Selma was very good.)

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I went to work, had a visit from my mom and nephews at the office, and ate salmon and salad for dinner. I am now 33, the same age as Bridget Jones and Jesus.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
The runner’s booty.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2015?
Lazy and generally misguided.

32. What kept you sane?
Long walks and the occasional anti-anxiety pill (honesty is the best policy).

33. What political issue stirred you the most?
Gun control. There is absolutely zero reason why a civilian should have access to an assault rifle.

34. Who did you miss?
My girlfriends from Denver.

35. Who was the best new person you met?
Maia Tarrell.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
Don’t leave Foxy at a friend’s house with white carpet.

37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
When you see the one you used to love
Beneath the mistletoe
With a girl you’ve never seen before
Who’s dressed just like a ho-ho-ho

:::::

All in all, 2015 was an exciting but stressful, transitional year that was a necessary step in order to get to a new chapter — one that I believe was the next right step. I am ready to see what 2016 holds, and I really hope it doesn’t include Donald Trump as president. Kumbaya.

Holly Jolly Melancholy Christmas

Friday, December 18th, 2015

I know, I know. You have been observing my grace and aplomb at every twist and turn of the journey, wondering how on earth I’m such a charmingly positive and rosy person. You are amazed at my buoyant spirit and sweet disposition. I am a delight.

Alas, this is not the truth – and fine, you knew it all along. I am often cranky, frequently discouraged, and usually hungry (unrelated). And the happy, happy holidays tend to poke at me, making me want to overcompensate for what often feels like forced joy with an extra number of eye rolls.

But recently, I decided to snap out of it. I squashed down my drama, laughed at my ridiculousness, and then wrote a little song that made me giggle — a reminder that being me, crankiness and all, is actually pretty dang fun.

Holly Jolly Melancholy Christmas from Annie Parsons on Vimeo.

In the palm of her hand

Friday, December 4th, 2015

… even via a YouTube video. Jennifer Nettles has always been the real thing. All she has to do is stand there – she still sings the fire out of anything.

“I wasn’t lost until you found me.”

On violence and fear

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

I’ve been watching Ken Burns documentaries lately. On weeknights, I crawl into bed around 9:30, pull up Netflix, and find myself immersed in history I’ve never heard about — or if I have, it was likely back in elementary school and I’ve forgotten the details.

I’m currently re-watching “The West,” a series I watched years ago. In addition to it making me miss my Colorado home and easy access to the mountains (although, as a wise woman jokingly reminded me, “Remember that Ken Burns uses music to emotionally manipulate!”), I’ve been struck by the massive amount of violence that riddled the western expansion of the United States: wars between countries, murders for the acquisition and continued possession of land, and of course, the horrifying massacres of the natives. In the midst of the excitement of setting off in the name of adventure and a new life, it seems that savagery was the norm. If we had lived even 150 years ago, whoever we were, I expect we would have experienced a constant underlying level of fear.

Of course, these days fear has made a comeback. Or maybe it’s always been there; it certainly has been for people in certain countries. But for a good long while, we Americans seem to have been able to stave off the panic of impending danger — even if our safety has always been an illusion.

Thanks to an utterly boggling number of mass shootings, for the past few years I’ve had trouble spending too much time in public places. I can count the movies I’ve seen in the theater on less than one hand (maybe like three fifths of a hand). I’m terrified of the mall. Do not make me go to a sporting event.

Some might say that I’m letting the bad guys win, that fear is what they want to instill in us. Maybe that’s true — maybe right now the bad guys are winning — because I am afraid. This girl who’s already prone towards anxiety can easily be pushed over the edge to splatter on the bottom of the canyon like an egg.

But the entire history of the world, from Cain & Abel to America’s western expansion to yesterday’s shootings in San Bernadino, has been full of brutality and blood and anger. It’s no comfort and it’s absolutely no excuse, but it’s perspective — especially for those of us who have grown lackadaisical in our perceived safety.

I love America so much. I’m so glad and grateful that I was born here and now.

But America is not the chosen land. God does not love America more than he loves any other country. The bad things will happen here as surely as they’ll happen anywhere else; we are obviously not immune to violence (although I have ZERO understanding why civilians have legal access to assault rifles). So we mourn and we protest and we organize. These are all very important things to do.

In the meantime, I hope we will each continue looking at our little plot of life, the tiny bit we’ve been assigned and entrusted with, and do our part — our often tiny part. I hope we will be kind, not only to the poor, but to our families and co-workers, which is often more challenging and requires an ongoing engagement. I hope we will forgive the people who have hurt us — or, more likely, ask forgiveness from the people we’ve hurt. I hope we will pick up that piece of trash and use our canvas grocery bags and help restore this planet. I hope we will help the helpless and be generous with our resources and talk to the elderly neighbor across the street.

None of this will change the tragedies that have already occurred, and I fully believe that our laws must, must, must change as soon as humanly possible — because as long as they don’t, as my friend Christina said, “I can’t help feeling like as a society we’re all somehow complicit at this point.” But when the work to be done can sound overwhelming, remember that like so many important things, we can in fact start small. Today. Maybe it’s not enough (of course it’s not “enough”) — but as Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”