And just like that, 2022 is Check, Done!

And just like that (as Carrie Bradshaw would say), 2022 is check, done. And once again, I wonder, how did another year go by so fast? At the beginning of every new year I like to sit down with my happiness journal and reflect upon the year before (and bore y’all with a blog post about my year).

Every year I feel like not much happened and so much happened all at once. As Gretchen Rubin says, the days are long but the years are short. It’s so true.

But also, I sometimes marvel at how much I actually did do in a year. This year we went to our family lake house in Michigan. I did my best to make the most of business travel. I went to concerts again. I gathered with loved ones at two family weddings. As I read my happiness journal I’ll read an entry from April or May and think to myself, that was last spring? It feels like that just happened a few weeks ago. So maybe the years do go by a bit more slowly than it can feel. Which is definitely a good thing.

My stepdad died on July 5th. That was a rough transition, I know, but how do you transition to something like that? Losing him was a rough transition. We are still transitioning. My dad gone just two-and-a-half years ago and my step-dad gone six months ago – it can feel like too much. Too, too much.

And that is why I continue to keep my happiness journal – to remind myself of the little moments that do make me happy when it gets to be too much. Or when one day blurs into the next. Or when I’m really, really happy and want to hold onto that memory.

Like every year, there are things entered into my journal repeatedly – a greatest hits, if you will – daily dog walks, listening to good music, time spent with friends, hugging the people I love, pizza ordered after a busy work day, the enjoyment of good food and wine. You could look at this two ways – my life is pretty mundane and I do the same things over and over again. Or, I’m so lucky to live this life where I get to do the things that make me happy over and over again. If you know me even a little bit, you know which way I lean.

And so, here are some of my favorite happy memories from 2022.

January 3 – Chandler went on the night time dog walk with me before he went home to San Diego. I loved getting that last bit of one on one time with him. The night was cold and crisp and it made my heart so happy.

January 25 – The RV is set up at Rincon for Amanda and the sunset was beautiful and when I was hugging Amanda and went to release she pulled me tighter. I love her hugs so much. Being with Mom, Bill, Tracie, Amanda, Richard, and Amanda’s friend Summer at the beach in January is just amazing.

Sunset at Rincon

February 3 – Some days are so, just, boring and normal. What made me happy? I don’t know. My dog walk. Leftovers for dinner.A quick call from Chandler. A good show on Hulu. The blessings of an ordinary day.

February 20 – We had breakfast at Mom and Bill’s – waffles, bacon, eggs, and fruit. So delicious. (And I let myself have an extra half-waffle. So good!) We need to cherish these times we spend with them and I do!

February 24 – Dave said to me, “No matter how bad a day I’m having, you can still make me laugh.”

March 6 – At dinner, which was delicious, by the way – hamburgers on brioche buns and oven-baked fries, I called Dave a man-baby and he made T-Rex arms and said, “I can’t reach. I’m a baby,” and Marley and I laughed so hard. Laughter + good food = happiness.

March 17 – Rita and I went to see Jon Pardi and he was so good and we were right up front and the energy from the concert was amazing. Nothing makes me happier.

Jon Pardi

March 24 – On my walk today I saw a woman walking with her baby in a front carrier and she stopped at a flowering bush so they could enjoy the flowers. It brought me such happiness and nostalgia of showing my babies the wonders of this beautiful world.

March 26 – Writers’ Group. Small tonight – Julie, Shauna, Kim, and me. But so great. Julie is fucking killing it and it makes me so happy for her. You go, my friend. You go!

April 3 – I was kind to myself and instead of working (on a Sunday) I took Geordie for a long walk. The weather was perfect and there were spring flowers everywhere. What a wonderful, beautiful place to live. 

Flowers from a neighborhood walk

April 29 – That feeling – that rush – of being back at Stagecoach. Stepping into the pit just as Jordan Davis hit the stage – there is nothing like it!

Back in the pit at Stagecoach

May 15 – We brought Mexican food to my mom’s for her birthday and Marley gave her the most heartfelt card and it makes me so happy that my kids express their feelings so eloquently.

May 30 – All four of us went to drop Chandler off at LAX for his internship in Austria. We ate lunch at the LAX In-n-Out and watched the planes land. I love when the four of us are together. I am so excited for Chandler’s adventure.

June 4 – I went on a hike with Rita at the Victory trailhead and we got lost and came out at the Las Virgenes trailhead. It was equal parts mortifying and hilarious. Dave rescued us. We had breakfast burritos at a cafe by the trailhead and it ended up being awesome.

Getting lost in the trails

June 21 – My baby girl is 22 today. I remember my 22nd birthday – We had a pool party at my mom’s and I wore my pink dress from Mexico and drank Coronas. It just goes too fast.

July 16 – Therese brought dinner to my mom’s and it was nice to be with family and I am so happy there are so many people who love my mom.

July 22 – The minute Matt Ramsey started singing my heart exploded with joy. Back in the pit at an Old Dominion concert – my heart is happy and full.

Brad Tursi and Matt Ramsey of Old Dominion doing what they do best.

August 13 – We’re back in Michigan. It’s cool but the lake is beautiful. I’m glad to be here with my mom in her Michigan home.

August 19 – OH. MY. GAWD. Old Dominion did a pop up show and we made it in! What are the odds that they’d be in Michigan when I am?! Seeing them in a tiny club was AMAZING!

August 23 – I feel sad that I have not been keeping up with this journal at the lake. But my happy moments have been floating, morning walks, drives on country roads, and just spending time in this beautiful place.

Scenes from our workation in White Lake, Michigan

August 28 – I met a cousin of Bill’s today and she said, “I know who you are. I read your book and I loved it!” It makes me so happy that Laney brought a moment of joy to someone’s life. I also spent time with Bill’s Uncle Mike and he is such a lovely man.

September 12 – Chandler called from Berlin and at one point in the call we were all in the kitchen on speaker joking about some trendy club in Berlin and it was so great. It felt like we were all together at our happy best.

September 21 – Chandler called from Italy and it always makes me so happy to hear his voice. Plus, Marley and I sat for a few minutes in the kitchen and chatted before she went to school. Having adult children is such a blessing and a delight.

October 1 – Birthday dinner with Rhiannon. My sister is turning 40 and it makes me so happy to be with her.

My beautiful baby sister Rhiannon turns 40!

October 8 – Ashlea and David’s wedding was so lovely. I loved their vows and feld so honored to witness them.

My cousin Ashlea and her husband David

November 5 – I got to hang out with Pat and Jennifer in NYC and it was so FUN! What a gorgeous day. The weather was perfect and people were everywhere outside enjoying it. It was a perfect New York day.

November 20 – Chris and Dena got married and it made me so happy to share their day and be with my family.

My brother Christopher and his beautiful bride Dena

November 24 – Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for my family and for this life that I have in my little suburban shangri-la. I think my happy moment was our big breakfast together before the Thanksgiving feast.

November 27 – My heart is full of love and happiness – we had a playgroup mom’s reunion and ten of us were there. It was so wonderful to catch up with these amazing women. I am so blessed to know them and have experienced early motherhood with them. I don’t know how I would have gotten through those early mothering years without them.

Playgroup Reunion – these ladies are so amazing!

December 16 – We went to Arlyne’s for charcuterie and had such a great time. I almost didn’t go – why? Too busy, too many calories, blah, blah, blah. I’m so glad we did. We really had so much fun. It felt grown-up and sophisticated and just wonderful to be with friends.

December 24 – Cheese fondue with the family. The four of us in the kitchen. Good wine. My favorite people. Christmas joy.

I know. That was long. I’m a terrible editor. And believe it or not, I chopped what I wanted to use in half. (You’re welcome!) If you’re still reading this, thank you for sticking with me. I do so love looking back on my year (even the hard ones) and thank you for your indulgence. Wishing you some time for reflection on 2022 and a 2023 full of happy moments both big and small.

One thought on “And just like that, 2022 is Check, Done!

  1. I love this so much, Charlene, and not because you mentioned me, but that was so lovely. (You are wonderful!) And these yearly posts of yours are just the best … such beauty to be remembered. Thank you for the reminder. I adore you. XO

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