"Say what you have to say, and not what you ought."
~ Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Looking Back at 2014

As 2014 comes to an end I've been spending a lot of time reflecting on this past year--the good, the bad, the lessons learned, and the memories made. On Facebook my news feed is full of Year In Review slide shows. The slide shows have created some controversy since the one size fits all algorithm used by the programmers has dredged up painful memories for some. As for my year, summarizing the last 12 months in pictures only tells part of the story. If I had to use one word to describe this year, it would be painful. My year was full of pain, physically, emotionally and mentally, none of which is evident in the pictures I took to capture moments throughout the year. A picture can be worth a thousand words, but they rarely show the whole story or reveal the very human side of the person in the photo. It's like the popular photo series Humans of New York that I follow. The stories told by the people featured in the pictures are the most compelling part. While I won't be sharing my Facebook created Year in Review slide show and I don't have a super interesting story to go along with my photos, here is a glimpse of my year in pictures.

January - Mike and I celebrating my birthday at a Sundance party in Park City. We were smiling, but our year was already off to a rough start. 
Valentine's Day - Gillian and I with Grandma Christiansen. We didn't know it then, but this was the last time we would make our annual Valentine cookie delivery to her. Gillian was lucky to have her Great Grandma Chris in her life for 16 years.
May - Cousin time always makes me happy! With my cousin Michelle and my mom during my visit to Colorado.
June - Despite my best intentions, I didn't spend nearly enough time on my back patio this summer drinking Mojitos and laughing with friends. 
June - With my dad and siblings at grandma's funeral. This was the first time all four of us were together since Julie's funeral four years ago. 
Everyday things that make me laugh - Gillian's chore list. Despite my lack of instructions she figured out how to give the dog her medicine.
Oasis Summer Nights with Gillian - She didn't want to go, but humored me and spent an hour pretending to have fun. 
The canning bug hit me this summer. Homemade bread and butter pickles with cucumbers from my garden. 
August - Me with my Grandpa Christiansen on his 90th birthday
September - Canning salsa, my Labor Day weekend tradition
My two favorite volunteer partners - with Beesh and the adorable Miss Alice at the Suicide Survivors Walk in Ogden
The picture that pretty much sums up much of my year - me immobilized from back pain with my sweet Sophie by my side.
October - Gillian's 1st High School Dance, Ogden High School Homecoming 2014
Happy Day! Naked teeth after 15 months in braces. 
Thanksgiving - This year I missed being with family and was very sad and full of longing for the days of huge family Thanksgiving dinners. Luckily, I had good friends that welcomed Gillian and I into their home to share the day.
December - Gillian looking gorgeous alongside her date to the Winter Formal Dance
Me and My Girl
 As I look back at my year in pictures I'm struck by how much is missing. There are very few pictures of fun times, vacations, family get togethers and cherished moments with friends. This year has given me huge amounts of time when I could do very little but be still and think. I've realized that I didn't do enough living this year, I was simply surviving. With my back surgery complete and healing underway, soon I will be able to get back to my former levels of physical activity. I'm looking forward to 2015 which I'll welcome with a renewed focus on doing things that I know nurture my soul and bring me happiness.