Finding Joyful Memories in a Year Not Worth Remembering

The year-end tradition of posting one's Instagram #bestnine got me thinking about what actually were the best moments of this year, and did I even document them - as is my usual practice? I assumed not, since as of late, I've been unable to conjure any moments worth remembering at all. After all, to say I've been distracted hardly begins to scratch the surface of the crap that was my year. But when I browsed my IG account, I found myself surprised by the very many moments that were, in fact, not crap at all.

I collected some favorites and when I put them together, what I saw was love that surrounded and lived inside some really tough days. I've been ill (scary, mommy is in the hospital AGAIN? ill). Others whom I love have been struggling, but their stories are not mine to tell - make no mistake though: their pain weighs heavy on my heart nonetheless. The state of the world terrifies me and the fear creeps into the making of toaster waffles and the folding of laundry and the grocery shopping for yet another bag of pretzels.

It's taken a toll.

But I look at the images and, again, I see love. I see family and friendship and kindness and love. I see a child who finds joy in stories (both writing and reading them) and another who, despite heartache, finds joy in music. I see adventures: some annual pilgrimages to places we hold dear; some spontaneous; one, even all by myself to try and find my center. I see days spent at the ocean's edge with our feet firmly planted in the sand. I see hiking trips and boating trips and visits to cherished relatives. I see laughter and sunsets and comfort in mundane moments gathered around the kitchen table. I see activism and beloved traditions and unexpected treasured gifts from friends near and far. I see time spent with people who know my heart and many smiles in unexpected places. I see changes and growth and, I guess, if I'm being honest, I see hope.

I thought I couldn't wait for this year to be over - that I'd never needed a new start as much as I do right this minute. But these images bring me back to the moments worth remembering and once again I find myself grateful.

Note for my photography-interested friends: the vast majority of the images in this post were shot with either my iphone or my fixed-lens p/s Fuji (x100t).