For the last several years, I’ve set aside some time at the end of December to fill out a sort of year-end quiz, and then I post my answers here on this website. I did this in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. This year I sat down to do the same, then I … didn’t want to.

I guess it speaks to how things have changed with me and blogging — I don’t feel the same desire to document my life that I used to. This is surely in no small part because I already spend hours each day typing words into a glowing screen, throwing bottle after tiny disposable bottle out to sea, and by the time my deadlines are met I’m ready to do something, christ, anything, else.

But I also feel like I have less to say. When I think of my life now, I think of words like quiet, and small, and contained. None of these feel like the right terms, exactly (god knows there’s nothing quiet or tidy about my household), but it’s the closest I can come to describing the peace and contentment I often feel. The grasping sense of wanting to be somewhere else is gone. We live where we always dreamed of living. I have the work-at-home freelance job I wanted. My children are happy and healthy and so much easier than they used to be. I spend my days doing wildly unexciting activities that are by turns teeth-grindingly tedious and please-let-me-remember-this-forever pleasant.

You could say my life is boring, but I’m not sure that’s always such a bad thing. I feel settled, not stagnant. I feel like after years of trying to turn things around and fix what’s off-kilter and chafing, the pieces have mostly clicked together in a satisfying, smooth way.

This was the year that was largely defined by our move to Eugene, and looking back, it was a process that started nearly 12 months ago exactly. It was such a momentous, difficult decision, and it came with new challenges that we’re still working through. But if it was a gamble, and we certainly believed it to be so, I feel like it’s already paid off in a thousand wonderful ways.

I don’t have an impressive list of worthy personal achievements this year. I did virtually nothing in the way of ticking off life list boxes or exploring my own boundaries or furthering my career. And yet here is my biggest, strongest wish for 2013: I want more of the same. I want more of this unspectacular, unassuming life. I want more messes, screeching voices, and floors strewn with foot-stabbing Legos. More laughter, eye-rolls, and ridiculous jokes. More wrestling matches, more campfire smoke clinging to dirt-smeared jackets, more foggy mornings spent gazing out at the river from the cabin. More checks sent to me because I may not be curing cancer but goddamn, I get paid to write, and how awesome is that? This is all good enough. This is all I could ask for.

Maybe next year I’ll get back to the business of writing down what we did and when it happened and what my goals are and what things I need to do less of and what things I need to do more of. This time around, though, I feel like the most important thing I can say about 2012 is that I’m grateful. Just so, so grateful.

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Sue
Sue
11 years ago

That’b awesome, and I am so happy for you!

Emily
11 years ago

Contentedness does not a frequent blogger make. :-) Cheers, dear, and a happy 2013!

Danell
Danell
11 years ago

Well. I think I would consider achieving the truly contented life you describe as the most impressive and worthy personal achievement anyone could ever aspire to. Congratulations!
(I sure do miss your posts, though! Maybe you could make stuff up? You have crazy neighbors? Your family has decided to officially hunt for Bigfoot? Anything?) :)

Deb
Deb
11 years ago

Excellent. Love this post. And everything you’ve articulated has come through in your writing over the last little while. You do seem content.

Deb B
Deb B
11 years ago

Oh my gosh – when I first read that you weren’t going to type your ‘end of year summary’ I shuddered a litte as I thought that you may stop writing your blog as many seasonsed do sooner or later. I am grateful that you aren’t. I love your ability to summarise your life so honestly and openly. I laugh out loud at the boys antics and how we get to see them through your eyes and your wonderful descriptions of your ‘sedate’ life – love it – every time – love it. You have the ability to make a mundane thing sound briliiantly funny and readable – bring on 2013 and more ‘mundane, sedate life stories’. Yet again LOVE EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM !! From Australia to your Eugene – I wish 2013 brings everything that you wish for. x

H
H
11 years ago

I’m very happy for you and your family!

NancyB
NancyB
11 years ago

I’m so happy for all of you.
Even if times are tough – you’re where you want to be, kids are doing well and you’re content.
I look forward to posts (even if infrequent) in 2013 – I’ll be here waiting.

Sarah Lena
11 years ago

You wrote a post sometime back asking if your readers have ever had to give up on a dream. You were asking in reference to your family’s struggles with moving to Eugene, and I responded with, “Yes.. I’ve given up on having another baby.”

I often look back on that as I thumb through your obscenely pictures from the cabin and watch my belly grow.

2013 is gonna be fantastic.

Erin
Erin
11 years ago

As a person who went to school in Eugene (Go Ducks!) I can completely understand the appeal of that gorgeous, hippie little town. It’s just such a fun place to be.

We moved recently, too, and I hope to find some measure of the peace and joy that shines through your posts of late.

2013 is going to be a spectacular year.

Donna
Donna
11 years ago

2012 was not my year and I dont think 13 will be either, but it’s coming and I’m working toward it, and will continue to do so until I’m there too.
And Sara Lena; that rocks!
In the meantime, I’m pretty okay, I might not have all I want but I have more than I need. And I’m happy you’re happy!

Katherine
11 years ago

I can’t wait for this in my life, when the stomach-dropping transitions are done with. I want that settled in feeling. I’ve very envious of you.

June
11 years ago

I am happy for you. Best wishes for 2013.

Krista
11 years ago

I feel the exact same way. There is something so satisfying about the hum of a dishwasher. It just sounds like…HOME. And that is what I’m wildly grateful for this year: the tediousness and the normalcy of home.

janet
11 years ago

I read always, and comment rarely, but just wanted to take a moment to say how happy I am for you. I have a big move potentially on my horizon, too, and if we take the leap and do it, I hope we end up in just the right place, just as you have.

Rachael
11 years ago

Well this is awkward. I have a draft blog post scheduled for 12/31 called The Year of More that pretty much says the same thing. Cheers to you and yours Linda!

Tamara
11 years ago

It’s weird to say I’m so happy for you, as we’ve never met or even had an email exchange, but I am. Maybe it’s that I get a glimpse of what’s possible in my own life? Whatever it is, it is nice to see joy in the Internet that isn’t sponsored or staged for content. I will miss reading your time capsule, however, but hey, you aren’t my Internet writing monkey!

Viviane
Viviane
11 years ago

“Les gens heureux n’ont pas d’histoire”, say we. Maybe you could translate it by “happy people are boring” ?…
Glad for you, anyway. Happy 2013 !

Kris
Kris
11 years ago

Aw, crap on a cracker, I just put my recap up for 2012 after re-reading yours from 2011. Hope that’s okay & not too awkward and/or stalkerish. :-/

My dear old dad is having surgery tomorrow to try & eradicate the cancer that’s taken over his lung. I don’t tell you this with self-promoting intentions; but only mention it so you know where I’m coming from. I’m feeling fragile and sappy, and need to tell you something – my wish for you for 2013.

I hope you write a novel, Linda. You’re a wonderful writer, and I really believe you have a book in there somewhere, just waiting to come out. Life is so, so short & you have such great storytelling abilities. And I know you have a million other commitments and life will always get in the way; but you have so much talent. Please, please take a chance and keep at it – we, your faithful readers, will always be here to support you along the way.

jen
jen
11 years ago

I’ve done those same reviews for the last few years, have 2012’s going up tomorrow. The line I identified most with this post is “The grasping sense of wanting to be somewhere else is gone.” It’s such a wonderful feeling, isn’t it? We made our big, scary, full-of-risk move about 18 months ago and we frequently look at each other and say “can you believe it? how content we are? how things are working out?”. Our life is not exciting, but we are content and settled and starting a family and feel as if we are right where we want to be. I’m so glad that 2012 has brought that for you as well.
2013 is going to be so great if it’s anything close to what we had this year!

Jeanette
11 years ago

That’s wonderful..love that feeling!

Shannon C.
Shannon C.
11 years ago

I’ve been reading you since 2004, it turns out, because I remember when you wrote that first one. I just had fun flipping through your pre-kids archives and rediscovered two things: first, that “JB” is shorthand for “JohnnyBravo,” which I had completely forgotten, and secondly, stumbled across a 2004 camping photo set which features a photo of JB completely nekkid (backside only, mind you!). So funny! I hope for my own selfish sake that you continue to write. Blogs have come and go for me, but Sundry is still bookmarked and loved after 8 years!

JMH
JMH
11 years ago

Well said…:)

Victoria
11 years ago

Awesome.

Chris
Chris
11 years ago

2012 was a crappy year for most people and it’s really nice to see that it was a good year for someone. Congratulations to you and your family on a happy and healthy and well deserved 2012 and many well wishes into 2013!

Valerie
11 years ago

I’m in the same spot. I live a very simple life right now, but it took a lot of prioritizing to get to this point. And as of now, I’m good with being happy, settled, and…just sort of quiet about everything.

So glad you are happy, Linda. Here’s to that happiness continuing into 2013 and beyond!

sooboo
sooboo
11 years ago

So happy for you guys! You worked hard, researched, took chances and came together in order to accomplish your goals! It’s interesting that the measuring of details matters less this year. Go Team Sharps Go!

Sarah
Sarah
11 years ago

Oh gosh, Linda–I am just so happy for you. I am so so pleased that your big risk paid off. I think of you often as I am currently consumed with that grasping sense of wanting to be somewhere else. I love knowing that you figured out what you wanted, sacrificed to make it happen, and that it is just as wonderful as you’d hoped. Maybe it can happen for me, too! I’ve been reading for years–thank you for putting into beautiful words so many of the same sentiments I’ve experienced in life.

Joy
Joy
11 years ago

Love, love, love this post. Kind of how my childhood/teenage diary worked: full of angst and turmoil until the entry where I talked about meeting my (future) husband. No entries after that. Nothing. Contentment happened.
I wish you more of the same for your future! And you’re exactly right: settled does not equal stagnant. I’m grateful for the peace, and try not to ever take it for granted.

Angella
11 years ago

I’m in the same place, friend. Contentedness hardly makes for rousing blog fodder.

I’d rather have it this way, always and forever.

girlofsteele
girlofsteele
11 years ago

Wow, how incredible and awesome. I want more of that, too!

trackback
11 years ago

[…]  I’ve done this retrospective deal for the past many years, originally copied from Linda (though she didn’t formally do the same this year).  Past years are here: 2011, 2010, 2009, […]

Anais
11 years ago

Linda, thank you for this post. This year has been a challenging year for my husband and I, financially (he lost his job in June and has been unemployed since), and for the first time since we married and got our own place, I finally feel like the pieces in the puzzle of my life have fallen into place. Despite the struggles, I am happy and look forward to continue living my quiet, uneventful life. I used to think I was missing out on life entirely because we can’t afford to travel or go out often, but now I see that the real meaning of happiness is being grateful for what you do have, instead of bogging yourself down with negative thoughts and pity of what you don’t have. I wish the same as you for my 2013: more of the same- more evenings of just the hubby and I playing video games; more lazy Sundays where I sit around with my Sudoku puzzle book while my cat sleeps on my lap and my husband sits at the computer… more boring, quiet, lovely togetherness that makes me feel truly fulfilled. Thank you again for always sharing your thoughts and life with us and for always putting into words what we sometimes feel, but have trouble verbalizing, so to speak.

Noemi
11 years ago

I’m so happy for you. Seriously.

willikat
11 years ago

SO happy for you. Miss your blog posts. Happy new year–hope it brings all of your wishes in abundance!

Jen D.
Jen D.
11 years ago

This post makes me smile for two reasons. I am so, so happy for you and your family, and it reminds me that it is possible to reach that place in our lives.

Alyce
Alyce
11 years ago

Yay! Best non-list ever. Content is good.

Joy
Joy
11 years ago

I can not tell you how happy I am for you. This is what you’ve been hoping for for so long and I am so glad that you have contentment in your life.

A simple life isn’t a boring life in my book. I think whatever makes you happy is the most exciting thing…whether it’s curling up with a good book, going for a hike, or watching your kids play in the neighbor’s pool.

Your journey to a new home and loving your neighborhood and town inspires me because it’s what I strive for.

trackback

[…] to start with an “end of year survey” that I got here, and she got here, who got it there….who got it from a […]

Life of a Doctor's Wife

This is so lovely. That kind of contentment is something I feel snippets of, here and there, and it is so intoxicating – I am so glad for you that you have found it.

Here’s to a wonderful, quiet, content 2013 for you and your family.

cara
11 years ago

“I don’t have an impressive list of worthy personal achievements this year. I did virtually nothing in the way of ticking off life list boxes or exploring my own boundaries or furthering my career. And yet here is my biggest, strongest wish for 2013: I want more of the same.”

uh…. except that part where you fulfill a major life-wish for you-plus-your-family, move a distance, re-establish yourself elsewhere and buy a house there, and find a personal and fulfilling sense of peace and happiness with your self and your life. I mean, isn’t that like five million checkmarks on the life-list?!

Lindsay
11 years ago

This is wonderful to read and hear. As a mom of an almost 2 year old – just starting a new job and looking for our first home – everything feels like a battle, everything feels like work. Fun work – but still work.

I love pulling together yearly recaps for the last three years and hope you continue someday!

trackback

[…] of answering the following questions as a way of reviewing the previous year (though this year she took a break) and this year I thought I’d do the same (answer the questions, that is, not take a break). I […]

Amy
Amy
11 years ago

Wow. Thank you for this post. This is the most inspiring, heartfelt thing I think you’ve ever written (and I’ve been reading you forever because I find you inspiring and heartfelt.) Thanks for helping us all to realize that the lives we want are really right there within reach, and that the bells and whistles don’t really matter. Here’s to a quiet, peaceful, lovely and gratitude-filled 2013!

Karla J.
Karla J.
11 years ago

Amen, sister. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Jill Browning
11 years ago

I’m so happy for you. This gives me hope! :)

Kelli
11 years ago

I have always loved your end of the year round-up of questions…and have taken to doing it myself on my own blog. So, when I first clicked open your post and saw you weren’t doing it this year, I was a touch disappointed. But this…this post is so much better. Beautifully written and expressed. I hope you’ll keep writing for a long time, Linda. I am continually inspired by you, your family, your writing and your story.

Wishing you a very Happy New Year.

Randy
Randy
11 years ago

The level of awesome in your life is… awesome!

Tammy
11 years ago

That is just a beautiful place to be. After the year I’ve had, I’d love to have a 2013 filled with just “normal.”

locate the object
11 years ago

When someone writes an article he/she maintains the image of a user in his/her brain that how a user can know it.
Thus that’s why this piece of writing is amazing. Thanks!

trackback

[…] done this retrospective deal for the past many years, originally copied from Linda (though she didn’t formally do the same this year).  Past years are here: 2011, 2010, 2009, […]