2016 by the Numbers

It's that wonderfully strange time of year when I'm trying to look both backward and forward at the same time. What did I accomplish last year? What do I want to accomplish next year? How does what I've accomplished this year, influence what I want to accomplish next year?

I'm a sucker for hard data and hand-written notes, so I like to start by looking back at my old fashioned calendar and reviewing where I've been for the last 12 months. 2016 by the approximate numbers:

  • 51 days climbing (Doesn't include post-work weekday routes)
  • 20 days (and still counting!) skiing
  • 29 days camping

For me, those are the days that matter most, the ones spent outside, and my goal is to have as many of those as possible. Considering I have a full-time Mon-Fri 8-5 job, not the kind that will ever make me a wealthy person, and my longest vacation of the year didn't involve any climbing/camping/skiing days, those numbers don't seem too shabby to me. But I didn't add all this up so I could humble-brag about it. Besides, in Colorado, the land of extreme athletes and dedicated dirtbags, those numbers are hardly worth bragging about anyway.

However, seeing these numbers in front of me is a reminder of how much my priorities have shifted over the last few years, and how much room there still is to improve in certain aspects. By changing my perspective of what is "reasonable", specifically in regards to travel time, I've opened myself up to a plethora of new opportunities. Stay up a little later, or get up a little earlier, oftentimes it only takes a couple extra hours to open the door to a multitude of new adventures.

Looking at these numbers, I realize I've spent far more time outdoors this year than any other in my "adult" life. Far from feeling contented though, I find myself more motivated than ever to see an increase in that time. So here's to 2017, and continuing to make starry nights, warm campfires, snowy hills, and all the craggy places a priority.

Climbing in Red River Gorge

Things Are Changing

As I mentioned in my last post, I took a mini-vacation and spent a long weekend climbing in Spearfish Canyon, SD. It was a fantastic trip and I swear I’m working on a post with pictures of pretty things, Evan making weird faces, and some insights on what it’s like to be in the area while Sturgis is happening. But in the meantime, this is a post about how, and why, things are changing on this blog.

First, there are going to be footnotes! Woo! Because I’m a dork and I think footnotes are fun, and also because random thoughts run amok through my head and sometimes I want to share them but they don’t fit well into the flow of whatever it is I’m trying to put together. Just click on the these little numbered bubbles 1 and you should see a little text bubble appear.

Second, I’m going to start writing more often. I’ve said this a thousand times before (to myself at least), but this time I really mean it, I swear! And I think I’ll actually do it, not because I’m going to grit my teeth and set a schedule and really stick to it, but because I’m going to change the way I do it. And below is the thought process that led me to that decision.

I don’t recall what initiated this monologue in my head, but I got to thinking about why I have friends. It looks weird when you write it out like that, but seriously, have you ever thought to yourself, “Why the hell do people even hang out with me?” And after some mental hemming and hawing, I came to a couple of conclusions.

First, it’s probably not because of my smashing good looks 2… And it’s also probably not because of my dainty sense of professionalism. Because professionalism, while it has it’s time and place, is kind of boring and stuffy and generally feels less than sincere or authentic. 3 And also, that’s just not how I generally behave, especially with my friends.

I think, maybe, one of the main reasons I have friends is because I say what I damn well please 90% of the time. 4 Sometimes it’s outrageous, it’s regularly inappropriate, and occasionally it’s funny, but it’s always very authentically ME. And I think people might like that. So I decided, maybe if I just write the same way I talk, it will be 1) easier to write more often since it will come more naturally, 2) people will actually like reading what I write. 5

So why didn’t I just start doing this sooner/from the beginning?

“Because I’m scared.” If you click that link it will take you to an article, written by one of my favorite bloggers, that talks about how most of us make excuses not to do bold things when the the real reason is usually just that we’re scared. Putting myself out here on the Internet as myself, instead of hiding behind a veneer of PC politeness, has its risks. Maybe I’ll continue to be mostly anonymous and only my dad will read these things and probably still love me anyway, or maybe all of the world wide web will descend on me and tell me I suck and I should just go away. The Internet is kind of a scary place like that sometimes. But odds are that’s a pretty unlikely scenario, so it seems silly to let that stop me from putting myself out there.

The other thing I’m scared of is my grandmother reading these things and being embarrassed by my bad language and occasionally crude sense of humor. But I’m really hoping that if she’s reading this she knows I love her and appreciate everything she’s ever done for me and that despite my bad language I’m actually a lot nicer to people than I used to be and I hope she’s proud of that part.

But anyway, hello world. Welcome to Natasha minus the filter.