Journalism, Photography

Postscript: January

I've been able to get out snowboarding on Mount Hood several times this month.

I’ve been able to get out snowboarding on Mount Hood several times this month.

 

I carry a slim, brown wallet with a press badge on the front and four pieces of plastic inside.

There’s my driver’s license, credit and debit cards and a token for a free Jr. Frosty with every visit to Wendy’s — in 2015.

I carry business cards, bank account numbers and a folded piece of copy paper containing my 2015 New Year’s resolutions.

The paper, about the size of a business card when folded into quadrants, outlines 11 goals for 2015. They touch on the personal, professional and transition between college and adult life.

Some excerpts:

     • Make and share at least one photo per day.

     • Spend more time outside and with loved ones.

     • Start a book club.

     • Write accurately and simply.

     • Go to Portland with a purpose.

I started slipping on the photo project in the spring, and I’m unsure if I’ve adopted a simpler writing style over the past year. But I’ve made a conscious effort to get outside more often, have kept in touch with friends, and feel that I had a sense of purpose when I moved west.

With the holiday season long gone, I’ve yet to update my list of resolutions. I don’t plan to. A simple question guides my reasoning: Does the person I want to be change with the calendar?

The answer, I think, is no.

We don’t need to reinvent ourselves in 2016. We don’t need new sets of principles to guide us in the New Year.

We need to remember the principles instilled in us by our loved ones; savor the activities and relationships that bring joy to our lives; and work to accomplish the goals most meaningful to us.

It may be helpful to update intermediary ambitions — like exercising more and spending money more wisely — but those are second to the goals and principles that guide us.

I look back at the first and last of my 2015 resolutions and find them to be the most important.

“Love without holding back or fear of the future,” the first reads.

“Be thoughtful, truthful, dedicated and happy,” the list concludes.

My 2015 list is again stashed behind the Chase cards and opposite the bank numbers. Some of its contents may refer to 2015, but its message remains true.

In short: Be a better person.

That’s a resolution we can all adopt in 2016.


Travels

My family walks along the water at a beach in Tampa Bay during our first day of vacation in late December.

I was lucky to meet up with my family in late December for a short cruise. We had never been on a cruise before, and it was great to get the whole family together again. It had been too long. My family is pictured here walking a beach in Tampa Bay on Christmas.

The Carnival Paradise, the cruise ship my family traveled on in late December, leaves Port in Tampa Bay, bound for Grand Cayman Island.

We traveled from Tampa Bay to Cozumel, Mexico, with a stop at Grand Cayman Island. Our ship, the Carnival Paradise, was outfitted with more dining rooms and buffet lines than one could possible take advantage of. But oh did we try…

The sun sets behind the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay, Florida, in late December.

An hour or so into our journey, the sun set behind the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay.

A tug boat patrols the water near Cozumel, Mexico, in late December 2015.

I took few photos as our trip continued, opting to keep my camera in my bag and my phone turned off. Here, a tug boat patrols the water near Cozumel.

Mount Jefferson sits in the distance as fog rolls over Mount Hood in mid-January.

I bookended the cruise with day trips to Mount Hood, snowboarding the day before I left and the day after I returned. In this photo, taken in mid-January, Mount Jefferson sits in the distance as clouds rolls over Mount Hood.

Fog set in during a late-month hike to the top of 1,450-foot Neahkahnie Mountain, which is near Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Looking for a hike that didn’t require snowshoes, I set off for the Oregon coast with friends in late January. We hiked through the fog to the top of 1,450-foot Neahkahnie Mountain, near Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Fog obscured the view of Neahkahnie Beach from top of the 1,450-foot Neahkahnie Mountain near Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Clouds and fog obscured the view of Neahkahnie Beach from the top of the mountain.

Neahkahnie Mountain sits just south of Cannon Beach, Oregon. Several switchbacks within a 15-minute hike from the roadside trailhead gets hikers high enough to see the coastline.

But most of the fog burned off midway through our descent, where we caught this view of the coastline to the north. The sunshine didn’t last long, though: We were drenched with rain as we walked a beachside promenade in nearby Seaside about an hour later.


Reading

The freshman sits in psychology class, hidden in the back row as always, relieved that no one knows who she is. She thinks about her big sister, also a psych major, who aced the last exam of her life in this building hours before she was abducted.
— The Indiana Daily Student, on Indiana student whose older sister was abducted and murdered a few months prior

“I don’t want this to be the best thing that’s ever happened to you. When you’re 54, I don’t want you to say, ‘Winning a football game was the best thing that ever happened in my life.’ ”
— The San Antonio Express-News, on a championship speech that resonates 10 years later

Jack opted to take his prize as a one-time payout of $113,386,407.77, after taxes. He was determined, he said at the time, to live as if nothing had changed, except that he could spend more time with his family. He was going to keep answering his own phone, opening his own front door and turning to God for guidance.
— The Washington Post, on a lottery winner who lost more than he won

The pastor’s Bible was held together by rubber bands, but he never replaced it.
— The Tampa Bay Times, on a pastor who overcame a criminal history and drug problem

We wanted our boys to appreciate this way of life. Or, at least, learn to deal with it. We were taking only the necessities: limited clothes, no toys and no iPads. If we were doing this, we wanted the boys to interact with the world around them, not with a glowing screen.
— The New York Times, on how to backpack across Europe with kids

***

I read Dave Eggers’ Zeitoun during our cruise. Set in New Orleans, the book chronicles a Syrian-American man’s experiences before, during and after Hurricane Katrina. He paddles through flooded streets, delivering supplies and aiding those who need help, before his life takes an unexpected turn. I highly recommend the book.

You should listen to Presidential, a weekly Washington Post podcast that examines the lives and presidencies of the men who have held our highest office.

I recently reported about one of the occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife in Burns, Oregon, who said his “#Pray4ISIS” social media posts were just rants, and a woman who was too drunk, police said, to find her car with her month-old baby inside it.

The above essay is adapted from a column originally published by the Gaylord Herald Times, my hometown paper, in mid-January.

***

As always, thanks for reading.

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  1. Pingback: Postscript: February | Jim Ryan - February 28, 2016

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My name is Jim Ryan, and I'm a breaking news reporter for The Oregonian and OregonLive in Portland. I'm an Ohio University graduate from Gaylord, Michigan.

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