New year, new… something

By Mir
January 2, 2017
Category Growing

Man, what a long, strange winter break this has been. Monkey goes back to school tomorrow, and I feel like we have simultaneously been both on break for several months AND like he just got out of school yesterday. Everything is off-kilter. We didn’t celebrate Christmas until the 28th (scheduling issues); Chickadee was home from campus pretty early in December, but has had her own schedule of events in which the rest of us are relegated to cameo appearances; the pervasive feeling of not-quite-real that’s been clinging to everything since November has only intensified.

Everything just feels WEIRD. I keep waiting for “normal,” and normal never comes. I’ve been here before, of course, but this particular round of WHAT IS LIFE, ANYWAY? seems like the longest and strangest, yet.

New Year’s Eve came and we played Cards Against Humanity and made root beer floats and wished each other a happy new year when the ball dropped at midnight. I also commented aloud that just ONCE I’d like to see said ball break free at the last moment and plunge into the unsuspecting crowd—I thought I was being funny! Because HAHA!—and the menfolk glared at me in horror and Chickie promptly inserted my not-so-quotable moment into her Snapchat story. I’m not sure how to feel about any of that.

And then it was New Year’s Day, and time for vision boards.

Longtime readers may recall that my first stab at this yearly project was begun with scoffing and completed with a “oh hey, wait, this is actually kind of cool.” That was six years ago, and I’ve made a board every December 31st/January 1st since then, with Chickadee joining in the last few years. I subscribe to magazines I never look at—I put them in the Vision Board Pile all year long, for the express purpose of pulling them out at year’s end and getting the scissors into them.

This year, Chickie sat down with me and our giant stack of magazines and… flipped through a few, before declaring she was uninspired and thought she might not make a board this year. I didn’t push. She continued to hang out with me while I worked on mine, giving me some guidance on overlapping and placement once I got to the “arrange it on the cardboard” part. Once it was done, I looked at it and thought that from a distance it probably doesn’t look so different from the previous six boards. But it looks—feels—very different to me. (Click to embiggen.)


All of my previous vision boards have been about personal goals/wishes/projections, and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. I’ve found a lot of value in the process, over the years. But this year as I let the magazine pages flip through my fingers and catch my attention with pictures and words here and there, I ended up with something that feel more about the world and less about me. It’s been that kind of year, I guess.

I’ll leave you with the poem snippet in the upper left corner, because even in the large version, I think it’s a bit hard to read. This is this coming year, for me.

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so…

I want to be famous in the way
a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did
anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot
what it could do.

–from “Famous” by Naomi Shihab Nye

2017: I want to be a buttonhole.


  1. Karen

    I’ll be in my blanket fort with wine and cookies.

    • Mir

      I’ll be right over. You have room for me if I bring muffins, right??

  2. Laura

    Man, this November, am I right? I was HEARTBROKEN the day after the election and that same day we got a call that my BIL was in the first stages of renal failure. He had been fighting cancer for 2 years and died 10 days later. I cried for weeks and then I just got pissed at everything. Pissed at cancer. Pissed about the election and the thought of THAT MAN in the White House. Pissed that everything people have been fighting for for so long could be swept away. Now it is time to channel that anger into something concrete. 2017 is the year I am going to mess shit up. Just you watch.

  3. Brigitte

    I’m hiding in my blanket fort too . . . :-(

  4. Mom24_4evermom

    Yup, I posted on FB that I already feel like 2017 can find me in my bed with the covers over my head. Break was not great, issues with one child, that once we finally got somewhere, perhaps, at least for a little while, then my mom fell was in ICU and is now in a rehab facility and we’re not sure she’s ever going to be able to go home again. But hey! once we get all these issues worked out we get to look forward to the most depressing inauguration/4 years ever, so there’s that.

    Thinking of you.

    Hoping that “normal” finds you soon and that it is good. Also hoping 2017 is full of good things for you.

    My favorite quote:
    “Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.”

    ― Mary Jean Irion

    • el-e-e

      I love this quote and have never heard it before. Thanks for posting! *copies/pastes to print and tape to my screen*

    • ChrisinNY

      Beautiful quote.

  5. Jena

    I think a lot of us are looking outside of ourselves this coming year. Not that any single one of us particularly needs to, but it does seem that 2017 appears to be the year we all reach out. For me it’s going to be a year of grabbing hold. I’d like to keep my health insurance….

  6. Karen

    ….and to add to the horrors, we’ve got KELLYANN to contend with as well. WTF. Not even Anderson Cooper can keep a straight face.

  7. Mary K. in Rockport

    Your not-quite-real comment perfectly describes our state of mind. At first, we went through the phase of waking up and thinking, “I had the most terrible nightmare.” Now we are floating in a miasma punctuated by episodes of helpless rage and heart-sickness.

  8. 12tequilas

    The menfolk (and Chickadee) are clearly envious that they didn’t think of the ball-plunging remark themselves.

  9. Jill

    The best I could do for a New Year’s toast was “May the coming year not be as bad as we think it’ll be.” Really festive and cheerful, I know. I tried, but it was all I had.

  10. Chris

    2017 will be a regrouping year. While so much is troublesome in the world, my DD is back, my other DD needs help with the college process, driving and other general mom things so I feel useful and my Hubby is going to China about a potential new opportunity (luckily here in the US)

    I am focused on doing the best I can for me and mine and in my local areas of influence and somehow that gives me some comfort.

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