Saturday, December 17, 2016

A year and its word

Well, here I am, Friends.

Facing a magazine deadline and a write-prayers-for-church-tomorrow deadline, and what am I doing?

Well, aside from quoting Home Alone via text with my new best friend Sam.

And tweeting at Panera, convincing them to make me their resident blogger.

As if I have time for that.

Never mind the stress of the day, the stress that could be alleviated if I finished at least one of my writing assignments. In the face of this, I'm over here blogging instead.

Time Management 101, here I come.

But here's what I say to all this gobbledygook I wrote just now: I am here to tackle another writing assignment, given to me by Jill.

Jill, who summarizes each year with a word that describes her overall experience and sentiment for the past 12 months, asked me this week what my word is for 2016.

I cursed a little when she asked me, because though I've always read her "word" posts and thought, "I should do that," I've also been a little chicken to actually sit down and make a choice on just one word.

But I think it's a great idea, and it might be fun to look back in five years on all the words of yore.

My first response to Jill was "busy." Not like, "Busy. Can't answer your question." But, as in "busy" should be my word. Then I thought some more, and came up with broke. And lucky. Spoiled. Blessed. Stressed.

But finally, I figured it out.

My word for my latest trip around the sun is full.

Full, because there was way too much in this year.

I have packed a suitcase 12 times this year. TWELVE. It will be 13 before the year's up. Four of those trips will be to Kansas City.

I've traveled by car, plane, and boat.

I've been to four countries outside of the US.

I have lost count of the number of musicians and stand up comedians I've seen live this year.

I've done freelance assignments for at least three entities.

I applied to graduate school.

I officially became a karaoke junkie.

I worked on my billiards game.

I completed two half marathons.

I did, I did, I did.

I got stressed, and angry, and annoyed with myself for over scheduling and over spending and rarely taking time to do domestic things like cook and clean. I got mad at myself every day (which was most days) that I didn't go to the gym. I went through this self-loathing routine with myself over and over and over.

I did it today, and I talked myself down on the way to Panera. "Bailey, you're starving right now. Eat, and then re-evaluate life."

I forgave myself a little when a gift card covered the expense of my lunch. I managed to squeeze in a treat without swiping the Visa.

My life this year has been full of activity, and motion, and stress and feelings and cat snuggles and Alex snuggles and an expanding wardrobe compliments of Goodwill.

But my life, no doubt, has been full of love.

I've been embraced by my church family, which was largely full of strangers last December.

Alex and I, outside of our first year of falling-in-love bliss, saw more of the things we do that annoy each other, and we loved our way through them.

Loving words have filled my days. From the mouths of friends, coming across the texting wire, landing in my inbox. In books that stand for hope, books I read as I fought sleep, fighting to just drink in one more nourishing paragraph. (Special shout out to Marisa de los Santos, my author crush of the year, hands down).


I've felt so full I thought I might burst, at least 100 times this year. Full of awe, wondering how the heck I've been so lucky to have such incredible family and friends. Full of bafflement, that I am able to do something I love (write), and to be encouraged in it. Full of aggravation for myself and my bad habits. And sometimes, (a little bit tiny sorta maybe almost) full, of grace for myself.


I hope that 2017 sees a wallet that is a bit more full, thanks to Bailey's soon-to-come habit of staying and eating in.

I hope it sees a belly that is less full of, ahem, accumulated fat deposits, thanks to pizza and beer.

I hope it stays chock full of Max snuggles and Alex snuggles. (For those just joining us, Max = cat, Alex = boyfriend. I'm not dating two humans.)


In about five minutes, I'm going to publish this post and get back to my freelance gig.

In about six minutes, I'm going to start berating myself for being so far behind on that gig. For delaying the process by doing some superfluous blogging.

But I'll make this Girl Scout's honor promise to you right now: In seven minutes, I will do my best to be nice to myself.

If 2017 is going to be full of anything, I want it to be grace. Grace and forgiveness and love. Leaving anger in the dust and running full force toward new mercies each morning. I want to be met with a cup of steaming tea, with a plate of cookies and a friend who makes me laugh. I want to start each day counting the gifts that have been, frankly, PILED in my life, and say, "Bails. We're not going to waste today being mad at ourself."

I could wait until January 1st to start letting myself off the hook, but they say it's worthwhile to tackle your resolutions early, right? Maybe they don't say that.

Here's to a new year. A year with more stews simmered slowly on the stove, more pauses to breathe and meditate on all the blessings. I sound like a grade A cheeseball right now. Here's to more of that. Cheeseball cheesiness, round the clock in 2017.

See y'all then. Meanwhile, enjoy the holidays. And look out for my freelance piece, assuming I actually get it done.

The Daily Bailey

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