Like most people, I'm susceptible to the romance of a new year--the promise of a fresh start, the tightly rolled scroll of months still sitting at our feet. It's so deeply ingrained, culturally, to hope at the beginning of January. I think of it often as the magic of a blank page: sometimes it's scary to sit down and write--to begin--but there's also something energizing about the possibilities. What will I make of it? I often wonder this about blank pages, and new years too. 

I did away with resolutions four or so years ago now, and I'm happy that I did--I always end up deflated by March, and disappointed come December. Instead I set intentions, and that's been a far better motivator. I chose Brave as my word to guide me through 2017, and it was a good one. I needed bravery to shake the dust off my life, to grab the reins of what I knew should be mine. I intended to be uncomfortable, to force myself to call on me (we should all practice calling on ourselves a bit more, don't you think? To remind ourselves that we can rely on ourselves), and to keep pushing towards a True North that feels, well, true. It was a year for level-setting. 

If I try to quantify it, 2017 held: two countries, one break-up, thirty-eight books, two weddings, eight states, three bad hangovers, six big parties, ten new friends, nineteen blog posts, two new essays, fourteen sunrises, one reading, countless sunsets, two rafting trips, one elk, ten bird hunts, two huge road trips, two languages, seven new playlists, one new job, six journals, and...six thousand eight hundred and thirty-six photos. 

But I was never that good with numbers anyway, so let me try and qualify it by saying that it was a year of big change, and a reminder of all the things that stay the same: my family, my dog, my good friends, the places I love. It was a year of stretching and growing and coming into my own. I started grad school, I left a job that didn't fit me, I hunted more and harder than I ever have before. I went on some magnificent, once-in-a-lifetime trips, and I also drove hundreds of miles on roads no one's ever heard of. I heard great music, I read great books. I laughed harder than I cried. It was a good year. 

There's a group of us, mostly family, that are working on making a tradition for New Year's Eve--we go out to our ranch and burn an enormous bonfire, and howl at the moon until midnight. Or something like that...really we mostly end up talking about our hopes for the next year, playing charades, and huddling closer to the fire when we hear the yips of coyote in the distance. 

I have another good year ahead of me. My word for 2018 is work--let the record show it's going to be a productive year for me, if I have anything to say about it. And of course, I have everything to say about it. A year of pushing myself to new heights: as a writer, a thinker, and a person.

Here's to the new year, friends, and all that it may hold.