The Year of

This is my (dear, frank, amazing, inspiring, much-loved) friend Sara (on the right, I am on the left, our friend Melissa is in the center):

Joanna, Melissa, Sara

Joanna, Melissa, Sara

I treasure this picture. I took it of the three of us after we’d been sitting in the Guadalupe River for several hours, in early summer 2002 or 2003. Since then, this picture has hung in every home I’ve lived, because I love those ladies right there so very much, and this picture captures a time in our lives when we had the kind of freedom where we could impulsively drive the three hours to my parents’ house just to dip our feet in the river. I think of that time of my life fondly, even though I wouldn’t relive those years, no way, not for $1,000,000. You know, your 20s.

But I’ve known Sara for 16 years, which is how old I was when I met her, so I’ve now known her for half my life. And I’m about to tell you what you really need to know about Sara:

Sara names years. She names them really, really well.

It started in 2002, which she named The Year of Adventure. Since it did turn out to be a huge year of adventure for all of us, some of whom might have been just the teensiest bit skeptical back in January when she had declared it to The Year of Adventure, it goes without saying that when December rolled around, we wondered outloud if she planned to name the following year. She did, and she’s been naming them ever since.

It’s a serious job! It’s not one that everyone could do. I, for instance, would try to name them according to how I wanted them to turn out. Like: “Year of Figuring It All Out” or “Year of Growing Up.”

Sara did make that mistake once—just once!—when she named 2004 The Year of Relative Stasis, because that was what she so desperately wanted. After a few months, she officially renamed it: The Year of Total Crap. We all toasted that decision. And it was: total and utter crap. Did you have a good 2004? No, I don’t believe you, it was really terrible. Go back and read your LiveJournal entries from that year. Go ahead, I’ll wait right here. Yeah, that’s what I thought.

This year, on January 2, I wasted no time and headed over to Sara’s Facebook wall and said: “Sara, have you named this year yet?”

Last night, she finally got back to me: “Yes, we have a name at last! Wishing you a (belated) happy new year and best wishes in the coming Year of Distraction.”

The Year of Distraction. I love it! I love it almost as much as I loved my personal favorite up until now, 2007: The Year of Extremity. (I wrote and published a cookbook; I carried and delivered a child. It was a very extreme year for me.)

What I like most about it is its vagueness: Are you trying your hardest to stay focused and you just keep getting distracted? Or are you intentionally trying to distract yourself? Distraction happens to be one of my very favorite coping mechanisms. Whenever one of my close friends goes through a breakup and asks for advice, I give the same advice every time: “Stay. Busy.”

Happy Year of Distraction!


The Year of — 5 Comments

  1. 2004 sucked!! My HS sweetheart and I had a horrific break up that year. The whole. year.

    I am so already distracted without even knowing it was the year of distraction. Wow.

  2. My favorite part of that photo is that we were all sporting fake Frida Kahlo tattoos. Good times.

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