The end of the year is here. It’s time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished, what we’ve struggled with, and where we are headed in 2016. It’s a time to both remember and anticipate, to revel and regret, to quietly ponder and boisterously celebrate.
For parents, and maybe just adults in general, the passage of time is bittersweet. As a child, I remember always looking forward to what was ahead. I remember wishing myself older and bigger and faster. But as an adult, especially as an adult with young children, this time of year is the time I wish it would all slow down. Looking back on pictures from 2015, I see the boys as toddlers in last winter’s snow. I see them on unsteady feet, in snowbanks much taller than them, tiny boots and mittens, little cheeks lost in the folds of their oversized hats and coats. And then today, in our first snowfall of the new winter, I see Junior in clothes suddenly too small. He’s grown two sizes since the last time he stomped in a slushy puddle. His clothes from last winter now belong to Little Bear.
My reflections of course, aren’t just on physical growth. We’ve also accomplished so much this year. The boys have become caring brothers and friends, they have mastered new physical skills, they have learned to be naturalists, conservationists and advocates. And it’s not just them. It feels wrong to say about myself, particularly as a female in a society that teaches us to be always humble, but I have accomplished so much too. I am proud of us; I am proud of myself. We are moving towards where we want to be. We are taking real steps towards concrete goals. We are happier and healthier than we were at this time last year. We are looking forward to so much. We have direction. We have inspiration. It’s not every year that I can say that.
So, about those accomplishments, regrets and thoughts for 2016.
Let’s get started.
January 1, 2015: 365Outside was born. We took our first winter hike as a family to celebrate the start of something great.
February 2015: We conquered the “worst winter in history” to make it our best winter ever. Our region received a record-breaking series of blizzards. In one month, 8 feet of snow fell, but we continued to get outside each day to enjoy it.
July 6, 2015: Junior officially learned to swim.
August 23, 2015: Mama launched the 365Outside website.
September 4, 2015: Junior rode a two-wheeler (no training wheels!) for the first time.
September 18-20, 2015: We spent 48 hours straight outside, without electricity or plumbing, camping on an island off Cape Cod. We vowed to do more camping in 2016.
October 7, 2015: Little Bear mastered gliding down our hill on his balance bike.
December 31, 2015: We finished a full year of outdoor play!
February 17, 2015: We met a roadblock. After spending 5 hours waiting for a delayed flight out of Boston, we were stuck at JFK airport for 10 hours trying to fly standby. We were inside airports and planes from 5AM to 8PM. We still didn’t make it to Florida, and the only outside time we had was a 10-minute wait for the hotel shuttle. The boys made the most of it, jumping off the planters and generally gleefully inhaling fresh air at last, but we still felt defeated.
September 16, 2015: Our most epic meltdown of the whole year ended with me carrying Junior out of the YMCA met by sympathetic, sorry smiles from the other moms. We drove straight to our favorite walking spot to catch our breath.
November-December 2015: The Captain’s tugboat was hard at work, with him spending about 3 weeks away each month. We missed him but kept him updated on our adventures by phone and Facetime.
Where We Are Headed in 2016:
We have pledged to spend all 366 days outside in 2016.
We are actively boat-shopping so that we can someday reacquaint ourselves and introduce our boys to life afloat.
We are committed to camping more, hiking more, and adventuring more in 2016.
We will continue to grow and nurture the 365Outside Challenge, hoping to reach and engage more people to live healthier and happier lives through outdoor play 365 days a year.
Where are you headed in 2016? Wherever it is and whoever you’re with, we hope you’re met with the mindset to enjoy the sunshine, rain and snow that 2016 has in store for you.
Don’t forget, there is still time to sign up for the 365Outside Challenge: 2016. Sign ups are live through January 31, 2016. Join us in our journey towards a happier, healthier you.