Dear 2018 —
They say it’s not how we start that matters, it’s how we finish…
Well, the Whole 30 is how I started, but I’m pretty sure gaining 30 is closer to how I’m finishing. Eh, such is life! Peaks, valleys, living, being, and feeling: alive — so it goes, there you went, 2018.
And before I get too far into things, 2018, I’m sorry to report this letter will be less than illuminating. This letter is intentionally vague. I miss specificity, too, but for the time being this is where we are. One day the truth of the matter will present itself.
What I can say is that things felt topsy turvy, familiar but out of sync. There was a disconnect somewhere. A switch that hadn’t been flicked or flicked in the wrong direction. Perhaps it was a planetary issue? After all, there were 10 retrogrades this year: Mercury (3x), Mars (1x), Venus (1x), Saturn (1x), Jupiter (1x), Uranus (1x), Neptune (1x), Pluto (1x).
So it’d be an understatement to say I have questions, 2018, about the hows and whys. Questions rooted deep in the marrow and sinew, eating away, poking and nudging toward the blurting of quarries, but rest assured, I won’t ask. Ultimately, the questions don’t matter because the answers don’t matter. I’ll live without and perhaps by living I’ll find them…
Which reminds me of a quote an ex shared with me years ago:
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” -Rainer Maria Rilke
Some things just didn’t and don’t make sense. That’s okay. They don’t have to make sense. I don’t need to get ‘here,’ to be ‘here.’
Twelve weeks ago my inner life was a rolling boil of distress and doing the work of calming the sea was on me. The only thing I could do was release what I was holding on to in order to make room for love and hope and a better tomorrow. Thankfully, for this journey, I didn’t have to wander far alone. My chosen family rallied, listened, and wrapped me in their arms. They didn’t give up on me. And neither did I.
I’m still here. Wherever here is.
In 2018 I was busy trying to drown the sound of doubt and concern bubbling from my gut. I covered for others, giving the benefit of the doubt perhaps more than I should have, and was bit in the process repeatedly. It’s taken all year and parts of my reputation, but I learned to let go of anything and/or anyone that no longer contributes kind or loving energy to my life.
So, I close 2018 with eyes wide open toward all the wonders coming next. And as we countdown the seconds to welcome 2019, know I’m simply excited to keep moving forward, continuing to set and accomplish intentions for whatever time I have left here on this tiny blue dot. Things are moving more info focus — filling an eyeglasses prescription helped — and I’m able to see where I have more work to do. It’s electrifying and I can’t wait to share more soon!
Alright, 2019, let’s do this!
1se Video Diary
Ideally there’d be 365 1-second snippets, but came up short this year after removing 60.
Enjoy this snapshot of the year one second at a time.
- saw a server drop an entire tray of food
- after 2017 chimney fire, the chimney was cleaned
- saw The Killers in concert with Shamus’ dad, Lowell
- traveled to Bagley to perform an early version of “Home” as part of Farm By The Lake’s Storytelling Series
- Went to Mexico
- Saw opening night of Mike Daisey’s “A People’s History” at the Guthrie with my BFF Sammi
- Cast in Sex, War, and Syphilis as part of Raw Sugar Theatre and Theatre Unbound’s WTF: The Women/Trans/Femme Playwriting Festival.
- Recorded a voiceover for the Iowa Department of Public Health
- Had a performance of cancelled due to the weather (a first for me)
- Saw Bill Murray live
- Got to climb around on a firetruck
- My cousin Cadi graduated high school = we’re both old
- Drove a ’66 Mustang for the first time
- Officiated 10 weddings for ten amazing couples
- Saw Brother Ali & Ice Cube in concert
- Wrote, produced, and performed “Home” at the 2018 MN Fringe
- Had a performance of “Home” cancelled because no one showed up (thanks, National Night Out)
- Painted Grandma Zimbrick’s nails
- Randomly sang a 90’s power ballad with my little sister
- Saw Murder By Death in concert
- Ken & Joni got married
- Finally went camping with Lora, Matt, William, and Gwendolyn – not once, but twice
- Did more solo-pink-robe dancing in my apartment
- Dated some wonderful humans
- Partied on the lawn for Halloween
- Enjoyed many Whiskey Wednesday’s with friends and a nip of bottle 1, batch 1 of a local distiller
- Spent the evening with Shamus’ parents, Anne and Lowell, discussing life
- Relaunched The Remember Project and toured the show to La Crosse
- Celebrated another year with Grandma Venske & Zimbrick
- Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving, and all the gratitude for still being here
- Decorated the Christmas tree with Grandma Venske
- Became real comfortable tying bowties
- Randomly won a “Best Actor” award during a Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre performance
- Drank a lager out of a boot
- Bought a new car
- Celebrated Rebecca’s birthday on Lake Michigan at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Still Bend home
- Randomly drove to Duluth to see a light show and spent the night being silly with old friends all over town
- Ventured back to First Universalist on the Winter Solstice
- Had long overdue conversations with individuals from my past
- Reconnected with my heart, self
Intentions Set & Met in 2018
Be more social: attend events, reconnect with friends Update michaelvenske.com Apply to Minnesota Fringe Earn an award of some kind Negotiate a raise at day job Officiate 10 weddings Finish writing storytelling show on “home”
- Start storytelling show on Grandma’s letters
Begin thoughts on “death” show Create https://www.patreon.com/ account Quit smoking
- Lose 20 pounds
- I bought a scale…that counts for something, right?
Visit the dentist
- Bike 1,000 miles
- Only made it 110.7
Eat more vegetables Participate in Whole 30
- I participated for a few days, but then was lured back to unhealthy ways with the offering of cold delivery pizza in a family waiting room at Gillette Children’s Hospital
Save $12K / 6 months living expenses in savings
- Technically, I saved $12,738.35, but somehow spent $12,387.44 along the way.
Have a great trip with A to Mexico Rock out at The Killers Visit a new country (in addition to Mexico) Read one book a month
- Population 485
- Hope of the Unknown
- Every Brilliant Thing
- Bird by Bird
- Goodbye Things
- The Secret Magic of Tidying Up
- The World According to Mr. Rogers
- Braving The Wilderness
- The Zappos Story
- The Customer Rules
- Joe Public III: The End of Hospital Marketing
- The Surrender Experiment
- The Power of Habit
What were your intentions in 2018? How’d you do? What are you most looking forward to in 2019?