You know what? Some good stuff happened in 2016.
Yes, a lot of really bad stuff happened in 2016, too. We saw the death of too many iconic people who affected our lives through literature, music and movies. We saw the political landscape change worldwide in a dramatic and frightening way that many of us could never predict or comprehend. We saw the death of too many innocent men, women and children through acts of war and terror.
On a personal level, my Dad had major heart surgery, throwing me into the position of decision maker and caregiver. I applied for numerous jobs but am closing out the year in the same position I am trying to escape. I watched my mom decline into the deep, dark, depths of Alzheimer’s disease. I have become a poster child for the “Sandwich Generation”. This year has been the most difficult I have ever experienced on an emotional level. Ever.
But some good stuff happened, too. And even though I am surrounded by the negative talk and images of 2016, I refuse to close out this year dwelling only on the crap. Alex tells me every year that the way we close out one year, sets the tone for the following 12 months. Messy house on Dec. 31? Messy house for the next year. Messy life on Dec. 31? Messy life for the next year. I can handle a messy house. But I can’t handle being an emotional and mental wreck for another year. So, let’s take a look at some of the good stuff that happened over the last 12 months….
1) We adopted Buddy! Bringing this spunky little dog into our lives is absolutely the best thing about 2016. I don’t even know where to start about Buddy… We adopted him from a Muskoka dog rescue organization in the spring and he’s kept us on our toes ever since. True to the Jack Russell Terrier breed, Buddy is full of attitude and can be a bit challenging at times. But his love and devotion and hilarious character far outweigh any problems we’ve encountered. In the nine months he’s lived with us, he has wiggled his way into our family and hearts (and our couches and beds) as though he has always been there. Some of his more challenging behaviours have stopped, and we’re working very hard on fixing the one remaining problem – his leash aggression. He truly is an adventure dog and I can’t imagine not having him in our family.
2) We got outside A LOT. For the Sometimes Eventful family, getting outside to camp, hike, canoe, bike, ski and geocache is more than a hobby. Being an outdoor family is a lifestyle choice that seeps into nearly everything we do. I believe that being an outdoor family has forged a bond between Emma, Alex and I that is so strong, we are able to weather any huge burden of stress that occurs when life takes us down a path we did not choose and cannot control.
This year we were able to cross a few items off our bucket list:
- Yurt camping at Algonquin’s Mew Lake (on the coldest weekend EVER)
- Staying in a Ranger Cabin in Algonquin Park
- Canada Day weekend at Cyprus Lake in Bruce Peninsula National Park
- A week camping in Lake Superior Provincial Park
- A crazy, rainy weekend (creepy motel and tornado, anyone?) in Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park
- An incredible weekend on Wolf Lake in the Temagami region
We also carried on our tradition of a fall trip to Algonquin, where we enjoy the warm days, crisp nights and stunning beauty of the park while enjoying the comfort of our tent-trailer. On this trip, Emma and I enjoyed Kayaking for the first-time and the three of us did a day trip to Ragged Falls, thanks to Algonquin Outfitters.
3) I have had the privilege of working with few outdoors companies. The point of Sometimes Eventful has always been to share my stories with the hope that it encourages other people to get outside. Because if I can do it, so can pretty much anyone else. Over the last year or two, sharing information about products and services that I personally use and enjoy has become part of those stories. I want people to realise they don’t need to be pro adventure athletes to use good gear and services, and I want folks to know that this is stuff is accessible to just about everyone! I’ve been thrilled to work with Bounce Energy Balls, Algonquin Outfitters, Badger Paddles and the Paddle In The Park Contest and look forward to more great partnerships with them in 2017!
4) The #WeGetOutside community has grown and flourished. I started the #WeGetOutside Twitter chats a year ago, to bring Canadian outdoor enthusiasts together on Twitter. A few years ago, I participated in another, similar chat and made some great friends who inspired me in ways they will never really know. That chat stopped running, and I have to admit that I missed the online community that had developed. So, after a bit of consultation with a few of the folks that I had met through the other chat, I started #WeGetOutside.
The response from the outdoors people on Twitter has been phenomenal! While the original idea was to develop an online chat for Canadians, we now have some great weekly contributors from the US – and I’m thrilled that they have joined us! Chatters join from coast-to-to coast each week where we share tips, stories and a lot of laughs. I’ve discovered that the love of getting outside is borderless and that we can learn so much from each other no matter where we live.
I’ve also learned that the #WeGetOutside community is caring and passionate and dedicated to sharing their knowledge. And they are really, really funny. No matter what your level of skills may be, or where you live, all are invited and welcome to be a part of the weekly chats.
And you have all become friends who continue to inspire me in ways you will never really know.
There are other good things that happened in 2016. I may want to change my job, but the one I have now is a good one, and for that I am very grateful. I have good health. I have a strong and loving family. I have incredible friends. And if you are reading this, you have contributed to the good things that have come my way, because you have supported Sometimes Eventful by clicking on my stories and pictures.
2016 wasn’t completely awful. It didn’t totally suck in every way. I am fortunate in so many ways, that I plan to concentrate on the good stuff to help me usher in a positive 2017. I hope you have some good stuff to reflect on, also. Here’s looking forward to a good year ahead for all of us. One that has a little bit of adventure and a lot of love….