At the end of every year lots of people look back at the kind of year they had and 2016 seemed to be a particularly polarizing one. I read just as many summaries of 2016 pointing out what a great year it was as I read and heard people saying they couldn’t see the end of it fast enough.
My year 2016 belongs in the second category and on the surface that is surprising. I don’t think I ever had more holidays in one year than I did in 2016.
There was a fantastic mid year break in Queenstown at the beginning of June to celebrate both my partner’s and my birthdays. What a glorious landscape particularly given that we went down the week after a fresh dump of powdery snow and had a week of blue sky!
And more fantastic still a 2 month holiday in Europe! I have never been away on holiday for that long. It was great to see family and friends, traveling around visiting new places and revisiting favorite spots.
But - 2016 was for me also a year riddled with health scares, lots of personal frustrations, and dealings with old “demons”.
Every time I would get time to breathe something would turn up that made me ask the question: why on earth can’t I just get a break? So even the amazing holiday times managed to contribute to the list of things that made 2016 a year to move away from quickly. There were delayed flights, places I just couldn’t relate to and the very self destructive comparing of my life to those of friends abroad.
I am a perfectionist person so comparisons are always a slippery slope into destructive non productivity.
Each little thing alone is not worth mentioning but the sum of it all made 2016 a hard year.
But here is the good news: 2016 also had one of the most perfect days in recent years. It was a day on holiday in the Dolomites in Northern Italy in early September. It started with a sleep-in followed by a great day walking in the mountains.
The Dolomites are one of my favorite places in the world. Steep cliffs, moon-like high plateaus, dramatic steep valleys, great food and, for the European Alps, relative solitude.
It turned (self inflicted) into a very long day of walking through a magical landscape shared with a partner who enjoys those days just as much as I do. It goes without saying that I took a camera along for the ride!
This very day and a vague plan made after some glasses of beer and a good talk to a fellow photographer (thanks Dean!!) has now formed the foundation for a chosen better 2017.
I plan to go for a multi-day walk every month for the next year, taking a camera with me and combining what I love, being outdoors and taking photos, and therefore feeling more at ease with myself and the world.
So that’s why 2017 will be “A Walk in the Park” both literally as in Regional or National Parks as well as figuratively. It will be a year of chosen kindness to myself and of more doing what I love.
A walk in the park - here I come!!!