This week marks twelve months of dirty good living. Twelve months attempting to live deliberately and with intention. Three-hundred and sixty-five days of prioritizing movement outside, wise consumption and cultivation of curiosity and creativity.

If you’ve followed our journey thus far, you know we’ve experienced equal parts success and failure. We haven’t traveled as far as we hoped, nor moved our bodies as many miles forward and upward as we had aspired when we began. We haven’t always consumed food wisely, one of us eating too much, the other not enough. We haven’t at times consumed media responsibly, taking in too many mind-numbing sessions of thumb scrolling and double tapping. We haven’t become prolific writers with a novel in the works, nor have we a portfolio of inspiring photographs and poetry.

Frankly, I’m okay having not accomplished all I had hoped. When I read the above paragraph with a less critical eye I see what is the actuality as opposed to the fantasy I painted for myself. The reality is I’ve traveled far enough. I’ve moved my body more than I would have had I not embarked on this journey. I’ve eaten well enough, far better than I had when living beside convenience stores and trending eateries. I’ve engaged in less screen time than I would have had I continued to live with 24/7 high-speed internet and multiple video streaming options. I’ve consistently written and published something each week for the most part of the year.

In order to live better, or aspire to live better, we must consistently fall short — that is the reality of our existence. If we are to continually grow physically and mentally, we must become comfortable resting in the plateaus. To reach mountain peaks we typically cross through a number of meadows. There we can choose to sprint beyond, or we can slow to savor the beauty and accept the respite nature provides along our journey.

Neither Susan nor I desire the ease of our past lives. So, while we find ourselves at a plateau as this first year passes, we accept rest is necessary and reflection is an element of progress. Life is either a struggle forward and upward with deliberate intervals of rest and enjoyment, or a surrender to stagnation and the dangers of discontent which often follow.

We agree our journey is forward, and that there are many mountain peaks ahead. Though I personally struggle at times with the pace which progress comes, Susan steadfastly reassures me that this way of life is good enough, and the ideal life is the dirty good imperfect one which we’re living.

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