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5 things I did in 2016 that I hope to do more of in 2017

No New Year’s resolutions here, except a resolve to hold onto some things from 2016 that made me healthier and more content.

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No New Year’s resolutions here, except a resolve to hold onto some things from 2016 that made me healthier, more content, and I hope, a better person. In no particular order:

1. A daylong trip to Asheville with two sisters, three sista-friends and one 11-year-old too wise for her age. The outlet shopping was sweet, the meal was tasty, but best of all was the talk and laughter as the seven of us traveled 1-77 in a rented van. There’s always a moment that becomes “road-dawg” lore and provides much laughter for years to come. This year, it was the tale of Nestor, the long-eared Christmas donkey. Never heard of that tv holiday staple? Neither had six of us, which was almost too much to bear for the one who brought it up. Google will school you.

2. So many times I’ve told a friend, “we’ll catch up over lunch.” I finally put some action behind those words. I love to eat out, but usually the last place I dined is the same place I dine again (unless it was bad, of course.) But with the help of friends, I found a little slice of heaven in the Lemon-Oregano Chicken salad at Kid Cashew, the Miso (Hungry) ramen bowl at Futo Buto, and the half and half bowl of salad, grains, hummus and more at Yafo Kitchen, among others. I kicked around Belmont with my friend Gary, whom I’ve dubbed the unofficial mayor — coffee at Caravan, fish and chips at Sammy’s Neighborhood Pub. Lots of yum in 2016.

3. A new MacBook. So what to do besides work? I took a class at the Apple store in SouthPark Mall. I signed up for an iMovie tutorial and was the only one registered, so I got excellent one-on-one training. Where’s my video? you ask. Um, well, quality takes time, but enjoy this clip from Freedom Park.

4. I love to travel, and I’m lucky that my best friend is a travel agent, which means hotel discounts, and sometimes free airline tickets. So with two free Delta tickets that would take us anywhere in the US 50, we were off to .… Maui!! Despite the16 hours of one-way travel — two connections and about 10 hours in coach class where my knees cursed me, and four different hotels (only so many nights come at a discounted rate) — I would do it all over again. The natural beauty is stunning, but the sheer force of the relaxed attitude, even among residents who are hard at work, immediately makes you relax. Floating along the waves watching the world below through a snorkel mask definitely flushes all the rat race out of your system.

5. I walked and walked and walked. At least two miles almost every day for the past three months. And now my pants don’t fit. For months I’d been telling myself to get moving, but one excuse after another — too many hours at work, chief among them — kept me sitting on my couch. Then the doctor said the magic word – diabetes. Diet and exercise, she said, or it’s meds for you. I hate to exercise on machines and can’t work a treadmill without professional help, so I put on my walking shoes. Though I’ve been in Charlotte almost 20 years, I recently discovered the joy of meandering around Freedom Park, people- and duck-watching. And just two blocks from my home are soccer and baseball fields that serve as a natural track. A friend who walks almost four miles a day introduced me to another beaten path through the woods off Sardis Road. Besides the benefit to body, I feel calmer, better able to form complete sentences and capable of reading for more than 10 minutes without dozing. Walking is a new habit I’ll work hard to sustain in 2017.

One thing I missed out on in 2016, but gotta do in 2017: Visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture  – during cherry blossom season, I hope. I’ve never experienced that sight either.

Travel through ‘a people’s journey’ at the National Museum of African American History & Culture

What things did you do in 2016 that you hope to repeat in 2017?

Mordecia Strickland is the former Observer senior editor for digital, looking for a new challenge, but in the meantime is working on enjoying life’s little pleasures and time with family and friends. Find me on Facebook and Twitter.

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