In years past I’ve written a summary of the year’s paddling endeavors for my last post of the year or first post of the year depending when I got around to writing it. Typically I’d put up the final tally for total days of paddling along with some personal highlights and maybe some epic fails for which I hope to seek redemption. Well if you’ve been following me at all, then by now you know that 2016 was not my best year. A number of small upsets in my personal life as well as one rather large upset, somewhat derailed my paddling plans for the year and lead me to reevaluate not just my kayaking but my life as a whole. Many years ago an instructor I had in the Marine Corps told me, “adversity introduces a man to himself.” These words stayed with me and only now feel more true than ever.
Out of the trials of 2016 came many gifts that I never expected. The best of those gifts being I’ve become closer to a few friends who were instrumental in making my burden much easier to bare. I’ve met new people and formed new relationships that I never would have otherwise. I don’t actually know how many paddling days I did in 2016, but it doesn’t really matter. I stopped counting at 150, and I’m not going to count anymore. I’ve been so focused on getting as many days in as I can that I have been missing out on other adventures in life. I’m still trying to work out what my goals for the coming year are but I can say for sure that diversifying my activities is among them.
As 2017 gets underway I have no idea what’s down river. I can’t see over the next horizon line, but what I can say is this. There is nowhere to go but downstream. There is nothing to do but enjoy the ride and tackle the rapids one stout at a time.