I have mixed feelings about 2018… and overthinking various moments and decisions of the year which recently came to its end won’t help, that much I know. I also know I’m not the only one in this situation; like many others, I’m trying to focus on accomplishments, positive outcomes and lessons learnt from those less than pleasant moments. In spite of everything else, I still manage to hold on to that feeling of contentment I was mentioning in December.
I started the year away from home, after several years of refusing to leave the town over the holidays… and this time, I didn’t regret it.
I did get plenty of chances (more than I actually wanted) to contemplate the white, frozen vastness last winter, both by the sea and in the mountains.
In fact, March arrived with more than flowers… it also brought blizzard, ice, a thick paralyzing layer of snow and surprisingly low temperatures for the area. How can anyone still ignore these frightening climate changes?…
We’ve become so used to seeing spring win the battle, in a burst of beauty, hope and renewal. Sadly, it’s no longer that easy to differentiate between the four seasons.
One good thing about 2018 is that I did manage to travel – less than I wanted, but more than I expected. Everything fell into place, and after having cancelled this trip to Germany so many times over the past 2-3 years, I finally made it back there. It wasn’t what I expected, it was so much more… a great road trip and a beautiful reunion with someone very dear to me.
I haven’t actually travelled to any countries I haven’t visited before, but I did get to discover new places and see the old ones in a new perspective. Travelling to Greece was entirely different than my trip to Germany, but it was equally amazing and fulfilling.
Over here, there’s no better time than summer if you want to break free and relax, at the same time.
Most of my photos used to be taken during trips or on special occasions. But I managed to find so many everyday life moments worth capturing this year… Aside from helping me be more appreciative of little things and let them make a difference, this sort of activity is so calming. I enjoy taking a walk, especially when I’m stressed or angry, but if I focus on taking some photos, I stop overthinking and obsessing about everything that’s bothering me… at least for a short while.
We don’t always get the chance to travel as much as we’d like or to see all those amazing places on our bucket list, but even a one day trip locally can be refreshing and fun. That’s something worth remembering.
Winter came early this year. For the first time since I live here, it snowed in November… real snow, covering everything for several days, not just a few errant flakes. Well, that was a surprise, and not exactly a pleasant one, in spite of the pretty white scenery.
Winter came, than it was gone, than it returned, and so on… Let’s just say it was looking a lot more like Christmas at the end of November than it did on Christmas day, as you can see. But it was perfect for a nice walk by the sea, all too necessary after all those delicious meals. Yes, I did indulge, like so many others… And this is how we lazily crawled into 2019 – with good food, good wine, good times and good people.
Then there’s the other side of 2018, the one which made me a bit more humble, and a lot more grateful for being in good health, for still being relatively young, and for having the people I love most still alive and well. Three persons I knew passed away in 2018, one of them right on Christmas Eve… While I wasn’t very close to them, they were all closely related to someone very dear to me. I know that at least two of these persons wished to have more time, they clung on to life with every bit of strength they had and fought to the very last second, leaving behind grieving families.
Yes, it was a humbling year. We generally take our life for granted, when in fact it’s so fragile… we open our eyes and start appreciating what we have when we see how easily we can lose it, when we see the pain such a loss brings to others, less fortunate than us. We will eventually be in their shoes, one way or another, so we might as well enjoy and appreciate our good fortune while we have it.
Finally, Ann-Christine, while I have no image to illustrate it, I know exactly what moment in 2018 I’m most grateful for; and I really don’t mind playing favourites with this one. I called the second time, the phone rang, just like it had seconds earlier, but this time my friend answered. Everything was fine. While driving to my place for New Year’s, my oldest, closest friend got into a car accident. I was on the phone with him while it happened; I heard everything until his phone lost the Bluetooth connection. I didn’t know what was happening… but I felt what was happening. In spite of reasonably assuming what must have happened, I was terrified until the moment he answered and told me he was fine and was out of the crashed car without a scratch.
It’s times like these when priorities shift and what is really important becomes more clear than ever. Like I said, I have mixed feelings about 2018. It many ways, it was a year of learning – learning more about myself, learning new things, new skills, learning how to grow up a little bit more, and learning a little bit more about growing in general.
May 2019 be a better, more peaceful year for all of us!