The End Of An Odd Year

I had intended to be a more prolific blogger in 2013. My excuse is that I was busy being prolific in other ways.

My freelance writing assignments included copy about methadone clinics, anesthesia errors, frozen potato wedges, design thinking, wicked problems, place-based learning along the Appalachian Trail, aronia berries, phytochemicals, and many different colleges and universities. It was an odd year.

Because of this work, for which I am truly grateful, I haven’t had time to attend to the blogging business. But I’ve thought about it. In fact, here’s a description of several ideas I never got around to writing about in 2013.

My month of buying local.  The idea was to go for a whole month only “buying local” products (food, housewares, clothing, etc.) I would then write about how easy it was–or wasn’t. The first challenge I ran into was defining “local.” Buy Local Portland defines “local” as independently owned businesses located in the city. They can sell avocados from Mexico, silk shirts from Vietnam, or wheat flour from Canada and it’s still “local.”  At the farmers’ markets, “local” means Maine. For others, it’s goods sold or produced within 100 miles. My husband claims “local” extends across the border into NH, within a certain radius. And I have one colleague for whom “buy local” simply means buy American. I could see I was going to spend the month dithering about definitions, so I gave up.

Grandmother Superior. If I had posted this one, I would have exposed myself as cranky and impatient, so it was best left unwritten. Suffice it to say, it came from too many gatherings where the sole topic of conversations was “the grandchildren.” Give me time.

Win 2 free plane tickets. This was an embarrassing episode that someone like Jerry Seinfeld could turn into a comedy routine. It involved a series of phone calls, and then a “last chance” letter telling me I had won 2 free plane tickets to anywhere in the US–no strings attached. You know the rest. Sometimes when you really need a free plane ticket, the torture of sitting through a sales pitch seems like a minor inconvenience. Four hours of driving? A mere blip in time. The truth is, there is no free plane ticket, ever. And because I’m no Jerry Seinfeld, no post either.

Signs of Hope. At Thanksgiving, when there were many of our clan’s younger generation hanging around, I sat down with six young relatives and asked them to tell me what they saw as signs of hope for the future. We had spent a few days griping about the things that make my generation despair: global warning, Congress, the widening income gap, Congress, the job market, Congress.  So, I wanted to hear from the much-maligned millennials–and I got an earful of good stuff.

Actually, I do plan to get off my butt and write about my conversation with these hopeful young people. It seems like the perfect topic for the New Year.  Stay tuned – the end of an odd year means the beginning of an even one.

6 thoughts on “The End Of An Odd Year

  1. As always Ann, your thoughtful blogposts are inspiring, insightful and full of incentive for others of us to get up off our own lazy butts and also do more of our own thinking about almost writing things, too. I do hope you’ll write that piece about the Millennials’ sense of hopefulness. I heard a lot of good reasons for optimism there. Based on your inspiration, I am thinking about making one of my New Year’s resolutions to be, not just thinking great things, but maybe achieving one or two of them, too. Thank you for this motivation.

  2. Ann-I had no idea you thought about so many interesting things day in and day out! It made me want to reflect on my year and to see where my thoughts keep circling around to—like how many new words were added to the dictionary this year…”twerking”… what else? Why can’t I exercise as much as I’d like to? What is the best book about “navigating the teenage years”. Luckily I don’t have to be thinking about being a grandmother yet!!!! Always fascinating to reflect–just no time to do it! xo

  3. Love your writing, Ann. Do keep it up. I look forward to hearing what the millenials are thinking. Their optimism is the tonic I need going into the new year.

  4. I advocate for more blogging in the even year. As infrequent as they were, they always stimulate thought. Thanks Ann. To a splendid 2014 and lots of writing.

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