Memories of 2018 have me eagerly embracing 2019

Ice seemed to be a big theme throughout late winter 2017-18 and early winter 2018-19. The glaring ice on a country road prompted me to pull over and capture it mid-December. LISA BRAINARD/BLUFF COUNTRY READER
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Journey vs. Destination

I am really looking forward to see what our new year of 2019 will serve up in the way of personal experiences. Aren’t you? I do have high hopes for it.

The real reason I’m super fired up for 2019 is that last year was simply that bad, at least as far as I was concerned. And now I’ll try to see the humor in it as I seek to purge 2018 from my system.

With the coming of a new year, we often take it upon ourselves to look back and rate our experiences of the previous year. Well, I’m sad to say 2018 did not fare well with me. This year should be stellar by comparison, without even needing to do much. It was just that crappy in 2018.

On a happier note, that means there’s a lot to look forward to in 2019.

Yes, there were a few good – even great – things in 2018 that I’ll note later. But I didn’t travel last year.

Maybe 2018 was doomed to be viewed in a dim light coming, as it did, right after 2017. I mean, nothing can really rival a year where a three-week road trip was highlighted by a total solar eclipse, can it? It would take something majorly spectacular from 2018 to even be in the running . . . and that certainly didn’t happen.

Perhaps imagine, if you will, sad violins accompanying my laments as you read. Maybe get a little cheese to go with the, err, w(h)ine. But remember this – I might make you feel a whole lot better about your year just completed. So, there!

How I feel about a year has a lot to do with its weather. Even if it’s not the best, a beautiful fall season can pull off a save for me. That sure didn’t happen in 2018. Fall is my favorite time of the year. I love getting out to take photos of the fall leaves, maybe also doing a little easy hiking and/or camping with my partial disabilities. And great weather helps tight, shaky muscles relax and almost seem as comfortable as they did in my former life.

But fall 2018 brought a lot of dismal days with rain . . . and rain . . . and a little more rain. Ack! It was no fun for anyone. I don’t recall much about spring, my second most favorite season. But I will never forget as May was concluding and heading into Memorial Day weekend, we had dog-days-of-summer weather – full-blown humidity with temperatures in the 90-degree range and heat indices in the 100s. What was that about? Hey, now I remember spring – by its absence. We saw the seasons go directly from winter to summer.

There was a lot of ice, too. Once I fell over straight backwards when my feet slipped out forward from under me on ice as I reached to clean my truck’s windows. In another situation – not long after the incident just noted – ice in yards had me too scared to attempt walking there. This December we’ve also had more dastardly ice as warm temps thaw snow, but then it refreezes when temps again fall.

In 2018 I took a quick camping trip to Yellow River State Forest in northeast Iowa, but it was nothing like the two- or three-night excursion in the lovely fall of 2017 (there’s the weather factor again).

I missed the National Trout Center’s fall geology trip due to a tooth issue. Although they’re planned, I did not take any short treks in surrounding states. Neither did I get to Voyageurs National Park. I had my first colonoscopy, got another tooth pulled, and was bitten by a friendly, collared cat at my door, which laid me low for nearly three weeks with antibiotics for it in early November. I had a birthday – one of those major birthdays you don’t like to think about.

Just when I thought 2018 couldn’t get any worse, a friend told me on Christmas Day she had booked a major foreign trip. I think that’s great and exciting. But for me, our low-cost Thelma-and-Louise road trip under discussion to Florida just flew bye-bye out the window. I expressed my very selfish dismay.

“You have a passport?” she asked. Now I was interested. “I’d still like to get to our friend’s cabin in Canada this winter.”

Hmm… I decided immediately that it was up to me to make 2019 a good year. I then headed outside to find some ice to walk on…

No, not to fall over and bang my head on in frustration, but because, I mean, who knows? I might need to practice for curling while on a trip to Canada.

Next week I’ll look at good things that happened in 2018. Because even when a year keeps throwing its worst at you, goodness and positivity come from amazing places.

Lisa Brainard still enjoys lifelong pursuits of the outdoors, history and travel as able following a serious accident and stroke in September 2012. She’s written this column weekly for over 15 years.