Tiny and untouched mountains, in the mountains.

We made it! A year-long clean slate is now rolled out in front of us to fill up with action, adventure, and unknown possibilities.

Most everyone is now open to the idea of making a change. Whether to be brave or better looking, to travel, read, draw, exercise, quit something, start something. We can all soak in a week or so of heavy-duty can-do attitude from our surroundings. I love the brief season of optimism!

Everyone has a different style, however, and in the interest of action, I try to make things happen at the first possible moment. Why wait? An unintended consequence of this is that it takes the pressure off of New Year’s Day. On January 1, I hope to be doing something outside in some fresh air, spending time with RK and the dogs, and enjoying a tasty cocktail at the end of it. Very similar to how I want to spend any day off from work.

Smoggy Great Salt Lake
A new-to-me trail to end the year. That is the Great Salt Lake down there, sadly covered by a lake of smog.

I don’t know anyone who will miss 2017, but I sort of remember everyone saying good riddance to 2016, as well. These are the years we have these days. For me, the antidote to bad news has been recognizing the joy that comes from being greeted at the door by my crazy dogs every single day, spending time outside every single day even if it means getting up at 5:30 AM, and staying on the forward path (whatever that means on any given day).

I recently heard a short piece about regrets on the radio. One man said he regretted not waving back to other people on boats. With our society currently being so divisive, perhaps waving at every single person on a boat is a good start to bringing back some friendliness, good cheer, and recognition of our humanity (I might be putting my own spin on it). He sounded so heartfelt — so let’s wave our hands like we really mean it!

We have the equivalent of this in trail running, the eye contact and “good morning.” There is the head nod to others on a road bike. The two fingered wave to a passing car on a dirt road. I always see folks on motorcycles lower their hands to signal hello to other motorcyclists. We recognize the people in our tribe, or in a shared space, and we can find common ground.

Even though camouflage clothing and weapons make me uncomfortable, I will shout out just as cheery a hello to a hunter walking up a trail as a mountain biker coming down. We are all outside watching the sunrise, right? How cool is that?

I don’t know who said it, but I copied this down years ago and have tried to take it to heart: “Nothing significant happens until a pattern is broken.” If the pattern is waiting to start something new every January 1, let’s break it! By all means, start something new on January 1, but maybe also on January 6 or March 3 or June 15. Be happy with the choices you make or make different choices. I’ll be here to cheer you on no matter what day of the year it is. And let’s all be nice to each other. No regrets in 2018!

Laurel Hunter

Laurel Hunter

Central Oregon, USA