What a Year of “Meh” Taught Me

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Last weekend, Crystal Mountain closed for the season. While its always a little sad to see it all end, this season my heart wasn’t nearly as heavy as usual. This time it was almost a relief.

Bill Steel Cartoon

Dreaming of Snow. Cartoon by Bill Steel

In a word, this season was “weird.”

But it wasn’t just the snow–or lack thereof–that was weird for me. On a personal level, it’s been a difficult year and a half. After my father passed away last year, fate or circumstance or maybe just my own personal luck went rogue. In the past several months, my husband’s mother passed away, our house was broken into (and the few remaining physical memories of my father were taken), and our best friends got a divorce.

Not one to shy away from adversity, I’ve tried taking these challenges head on. But really, it’s been an exercise in letting go. Just let go. That’s such a cliche though, right? Anyone who’s been through a string of hard times knows what I’m talking about. When the chips are down, the last thing you want to do is relinquish the emotional baggage that you’re clinging to for dear life.

That’s the beauty of getting older, I suppose. Experience (and when I say experience, what I’m really saying is loss) teaches us what truly matters. My father’s stolen watch, or the heart-shaped necklace that he gave me on my 30th birthday, will not bring him back. Nor will my husband’s grandfather’s antique fly reels bring him closer to his ancestor. Our memories and our experiences are what cleave us to one another. Objects are just things–just mementos imbued with meaning. Emotions can be glued to any old object.

Same for our hopes. We can pin them on snowfall or weather or that elusive powder run we dream about all summer and chase all winter. They can be dashed against the gravel on a season like this when the lower half of the mountain was so bare that grass starting sprouting in March.

Sometimes you just want to bury your head in your hands

Sometimes you just want to bury your head in your hands

Or we can connect to the chances we are given. A stingy snow season taught me to enjoy even the runs I would have considered merely “meh” a few years ago. Since so much of who we are depends on the stories we tell ourselves, I’m choosing to rewrite history. Instead of the past year and a half being the worst ever, I’ve chosen to see it as an opportunity. Thanks to that home invasion, I have fewer possessions weighing me down. With fewer snow storms, I never took a single turn for granted. Now that I’ve experienced the fragility of life and relationships, I’m living my own life with more purpose and attention.

Many readers have asked why I haven’t been posting as much. In part, it might be that I’ve been preoccupied with these life lessons. Mostly however, I’m working on another book, which is hoarding much of my writing mojo. The novel about a ski area will soon be with my agent, and I’ll keep y’all posted on its progress.

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13 responses »

  1. Kim,

    I’m sorry the last 18 months have been challenging. I know you will keep your chin uo and remember that circumstances don’t make a person, they reveal them.

    I’m looking forward to your next novel.

    Big hug, Jamie

    • Thanks Jamie. I like how you put that. I’ve always thought that we learn about ourselves and others when the shit hits the fan. Your support, as always, is much appreciated.

  2. I tell peeps that really my perspective has changed. Losing both parents within 15 months, selling my company that I spent 20 years building and being trashed in the media for that. I realize that life is a country song. Love, loss and wrecked cars are all part of it. I have my health, my family and friends and really what more do we need.
    Let’s have a beer!

    • Oh Dave! I’m going to use that phrase: “my life is a country song.” So sorry to hear about all the loss (ahem experience). For what it’s worth, I think your decision to sell your company was brilliant. Hopefully you’re getting a chance to play your music and enjoy your loved ones.

  3. Your perspective is a nice reminder at a time that I could use a reminder. I’ve been going through yet another of those lil changes in life, but after this I’m going to look at it as gaining “experience”. That feels so much better!

    Here’s to our best snow year ever next year!

  4. It can be rough on this spinning wheel called earth….this mourning and wishing things didn’t change doesn’t stop the change, but it is ok to curl up for a while and be meh. Been meh myself for the past 15 months. But for the loss of memento and things…you are right, their most importance are the triggering of memories…our legacy. Write the memories….then the mementos will be in your heart also.

  5. Dear Kim, indeed, sorry for all the loss, and lack of snow fall this year, but seems a strange / unique coincidence that with all the issues, there was such little snow? My Dad always said “There is your plan, carved out with great detail and admirable, then there is God’s plan, simply divine!” Now, I’m not preaching here, you could insert any higher power or divinity in the place of “God” as you see fit, the point is, the direction we go, is generally the direction we’d have gone regardless, we just don’t know it. Not sure this helps, but know that Annie and our family always think of you and John and pray for the best for you and your family and friends. God Bless (or whom ever you seek). oj

    • I love your fathers wise words OJ! Thanks for this. Part of me always wants to plan, plan, plan. Fortunately I’m married to a very spontaneous man who keeps me on my toes. Maybe his career as a “snow farmer” has taught him the futility of making plans. I guess everything happens for a reason, just not always the reason you’d hoped for or expected. So much to learn in this life. I’m just glad to have the opportunity to keep learning.

  6. Wow, that is a tough year and a half. Sorry its been a weird one. You’re right, letting go is all you can do. Of everyone I know, you are the most capable of making lemonade. Can’t wait to hear more about your next book!!

  7. Love love your perspective and way with words. Yea, things are what they are and isn’t there a saying about making lemonade…? Lessons I’m constantly trying to learn and stick to myself. Loss, death of loved ones; life isn’t always a picnic. But lately I’ve been, at a few moments here and there when I’m feeling meh — which I have been a lot too for a some time now — remembering and feeling grateful for just being here. Driving my car. Sitting here typing. going upstairs to fix dinner. Just this. Because life is indeed precious. Looking forward to your book.

    • Thanks Jill. Sorry to hear about your own meh times. I agree with the need for gratitude. That’s probably one of the most important acts we can do: just be grateful. I appreciate the reminder.

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