1/2/17: The New Year Observed

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Happy new year!

This weekend, a casual e-mail invite turned into my Mom, Greg and a dozen of my favorite friends from college all arriving in Missoula. I took a few blurry photos but mostly just enjoyed skiing, giant breakfasts, dog TV and setting off fireworks in the street after one too many Montana microbrews. I told the story about how when I was 9 and we were turning into the new millennium, I slept through the new year. For the next week I was distraught that I had missed such an important event that would never ever happen in my lifetime again. I’ve been trying to dismantle my FOMO (fear of missing out) instincts ever since.

After a rough 2015, the beginning of 2016 left me at the bottom of myself. Last January, I set my intention for the year “Live Your Questions”. I needed to explore who I was and what I wanted. Yet the problem with writers is that sometimes we live in our heads too much. I wanted to figure out who I was becoming but I also needed to get the ‘eff out of my pajamas and go do something. It was inspired by Rilke,

Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms, or books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.

So I set about to living. Not recklessly as I had before, but cautiously and keeping one hand on my own pulse. I wrote more, worked more, and loved more than I ever have in a year. This year, my intention is “Find Your Excellence”. To me, that doesn’t mean perfection or no mistakes. It just means taking that living and trying to elevate it. I want to be brave, I want to be truthful, I want to keep living without letting myself fall victim to my own internal excuses.

Around the fire pit on December 31:

“What were the three best parts of 2016?”

And listening to my friend’s responses, from adventures to graduate schools to puppy dog babies, filled my¬† heart right up.


A 2016 Recap

I’m proud of these pieces:

Wedgie Waders: A Beginning Story – Northwest River Supply

Guide of the Month: Brent Sawyer, Backcountry River Guides – Redside Foundation

How We Really Feel About Being Called Boatmen – OARS

From a Millennial, To My Nasty Women – Emerald Lens

And these photographs:

And this adventure list:

Cross country skiing and hot springing in the Sawtooths

Backcountry skiing at Williams Lake in the Sawtooths

The classic Lolo Pass tours and brewery-heavy Missoula winter

Starting to tie flies (a longtime goal!) with some awesome Missoula gals.

Attending my first hip hop class..

A spring trip to Jackson Hole (and the Glory Bowl above town) to celebrate two best friend’s wedding.

Tramping around Missoula spring in the inflatable driftboat (Bitterroot! Blackfoot! Clark Fork! The Smith!)

The Owyhee (twice, like a lucky dog) and these beautiful photos from the Noisy Plume

A summer of guiding on the Salmon and Snake, rowing (and mercifully not crashing) my first wooden dories and long, hot afternoons at River City Farm in between.

Guiding my first fly fishing specific trips on the Middle Fork of the Salmon

A PRIVATE trip on the Middle Fork with some favorite humans

My first trip into the Pahsimeroi in Idaho

Remembering again (and again and again) why I return to Missoula, mostly through twenty minute trout (the trout that live 20 minutes in any direction)

Starting work with the Redside Foundation as an Executive Director

My first ALMOST steelhead on the fly on the Grande Ronde.

My first time hitting Thanksgiving AND Christmas with family in Idaho in a long, long time.


I mean that recap less as basicbloggybragging and more to encourage you to write your own list. I bet you’ll be exhausted (and proud!) just looking at it. It’s a strange human thing to want to always focus on our negatives instead of the positives.

Into 2017. How do you arrange your goals and resolutions? Do you have a four goal, drop down tier flow chart system like I do or something, uh, a little more relaxed?

Charging into the new year,

EL

 

 

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