I knew 2017 would be an interesting year as I was frantically searching for cell service in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean on a small panga in Fiji.
“These damn hot spots never work when you need them to!” I mumbled to myself.
It was election day 2016 in the United States. The fact that I couldn’t get cell service for work was an afterthought. I was anxious to see who would become the 45th President of my beloved country.
The messages started pouring in before I could even load a web page. Trump this, trump that. Was there some sort of conspiracy or massive prank being played on me? When I got a decent signal the rumors were confirmed — a billionaire reality TV star had defied all odds and been elected President.
That was a little bit of a tough pill to swallow, but hey I was in Fiji. Things could’ve been worse. That was just the start of an interesting 2017 for me, to say the least.
• • •
2017 took me all over the globe, introduced me to lots of new friends, kept me maybe a little too busy to keep up with some of the good, old friends, and made me start to think more about my future.
In March I turned 25. It’s like I reached the top of that big drop of the rollercoaster of my 20’s and I’m now looking at that descent down to 30 (I don’t say this in a bad way). 30 always seemed like a far-off age that I would never be. Now it feels more like a reality soon to be. Unfortunately, first I have to look forward to that dreaded age of 26 where you get kicked off your parent’s health insurance plan.
2017 made me think more about who really is most important to me in life. Everyone goes off to different corners of the country/globe in their 20’s. Everyone is trying to figure out who they are, what career path to take, or staring at their pile of student debt hoping that it just mosies its way on out of here. People are busy. It’s hard to keep in touch with old friends, but you also realize who are the great friends versus the good friends. This became more evident to me in 2017.
I visited six countries in 2017. The year started off with a couple trips to Mexico, then took me for a Euro trip, and finished with a trip to the ‘land of the rising sun’ for my first time in Asia. Each trip comes with a new set of stories, lessons learned, and people added to your global circle of friends. I can think of many people that I met and got to know quite well from each of those trips that I can now call good enough friends to hit up when I need a couch to crash on wherever it is that may be.
I worked a lot in 2017. I thought hard about the balance between work and leisure, philosophizing about where that golden mean may lie. This is the age-old question that I am certainly not the first to ponder, but it’s been made even more clear to me how important it is to keep up with your passions outside of work and try to be a well-rounded person. This is what keeps us sane after all.
I did my fair share of Surfing in 2017. Surfing is what I do. It’s a big part of my identity I would say. However, there were a few moments this year when I started to second guess why I surf. I’ve been surfing for over a decade now, so I think it was like my first surfing mid-life crisis. I know it’s blasphemous to say this, but I felt like a robot repeatedly getting up early in the morning to go surf some crappy waves before work. I would come out of the water having caught a few waves that I had to ferociously fight the crowds for and head straight to the office where I would bask in my coat of salt all day. I would ask myself, “Am I having fun?”. I know this approach to Surfing is so wrong, and it took a few fun sessions at home (and abroad) to smack me across the face and snap me out of it.
Well, the year is coming to a close. I have survived the first twelve months of Trump’s presidency (barely) and learned some valuable life lessons during that time. I realize that physically these will be the best years of my life, so I got to take full advantage of my body before I start complaining about back problems and sore knees somewhere down the line.
I have plenty to be thankful for from 2017 (let’s not forget the Warriors were crowned NBA champs and the Dodgers lost the World Series), and I am feeling like I have even more to be excited about for 2018. I’m looking forward to seeing what it has in store.
Always fun to see your favorite band live, especially one of those bands that defined those oh-so-impressionable teenage years. More than a decade later and I still love Streetlight Manifesto.
3 thoughts on “My 2017 in a nutshell”
Thanks for this good reflection on the past year. Itâs always good to reflect. I try to look back over every day before I go to sleep, which takes some discipline, but is rewarding.
To most observers you seem to be in the perfect position: getting paid for doing what you’d be doing anyway if you weren’t doing it on salary! You know, while there are obvious cosmic overtones to endeavors such as surfing, hiking into the wilderness, etc., there’s no Ten Commandments for Surfers that direct you to 1. Do not kill! 2. Get up early every morning without fail to go surfing! 3. Do not take the Lord’s name in vain! etc. When anything becomes robotic it’s time, maybe to either take a break or look for a bigger, wilder robot! Or meditate and take another stab at it. There are many, many decisions one must make in life … but there’s no monitor to make certain that you change your t-shirt every day and eat your cereal and hit the surf and be kind to an old lady. All of those things are okay, but none are required, especially on a daily basis.
Great column, wonderful photos. Love, your uncle and aunt, Lee and Chris
Quite a year! Thanks for sharing your stories, thoughts and pictures. I so enyoy your perspectives and fellowship in the world. Nice to have journeyed with you. Love having you join in protest, share family trips and sea glass hunt with me. XO