The Year of Enduring.

I said my focus for the year would be on endurance. While it’s a theme that has been moving to the center of my consciousness for a long time, I credit Jennifer Pharr Davis for pointing my gaze to Endurance specifically.

I just finished her book The Pursuit of Endurance. It’s great. It has tons of wisdom on what it means to endure. But it is SO MUCH MORE.

I read a lot. The authors that reel me in most are those who show a deep contemplation of how to live a meaningful life. Pharr Davis is clearly that kind of writer, that kind of thinker.

But lots of writers do that…

So yes, she has compiled some wonderful stories about endurance. But these aren’t stories about enduring passively the shit life deals us. Her stories are about finding, indeed choosing, the tough paths we find meaningful, choosing the paths that are true to ourselves on a deep level. Then they’re about enduring the struggles that come with choosing our own path.

If you know me or follow me, you know I’ve come to love hiking. Unlike Pharr Davis, my love is for some pretty tame day hiking. I share none of the ambition for overcoming significant feats or the time at which they are completed. Yet.

But she said something I felt to be viscerally true, which I had learned as I grew to love hiking:

“There is something very powerful and very healing about physical forward motion.”

When in doubt, when in struggle, it is empowering to stand and put one foot in front of the other. Because that is often all we can do, and that physical act reminds our physiology that we can.

So the other thing she said that profoundly resonated with me is: “Hiking is not escapism. Hiking is realism.”

I’m a big fan of realism, of truth seeking. Hiking is a great metaphor for life’s struggles, so I believe her.

Her books, her story, are about finding ourselves. They are about an intentional exploration into our deepest selves. About asking ourselves the most pertinent questions we long to answer. Her writing is about the journey of finding our exquisitely unique parts. And about how part of the answers are found reflected in the complexity of others’ responses to us, as they are on their own journeys

What Pharr Davis does that sets her writing apart is celebrate individuality alongside love of community and a shared greater good. She values understanding and tolerance and finding common ground, and consciously doing so where those things are hardest to find. She doesn’t call it this but I do…

She espouses love.

I recommend her writing highly, and this book in particular.

(Every year I post the books I’ve read that year. I thought I’d start saying something about the ones I really love. I’m not a reviewer, but I’ll always share about books I love.)

The Year of the… Enduring.

Every year I set an intention, and every year I write about it here. Recent years were, in order, the year of the hike (‘20), the year of the book (‘21), and the year of the home (‘22). Well, 2022 turned out to be at least as much about the book (still to come), but the home has a new furnace and a/c (!), but still needs a lot of attention. Also, I hiked a bunch and became more regular in my yoga practice.

So, as I looked forward to the new year, I thought I just needed to do more of all those things.  For the first time in years, no single area of focus compelled me. 

But then I looked over my list of books I read this year, which I also post here annually (see below).  Seeing a book I read by Jennifer Pharr Davis, Becoming Odyssa, reminded me of her book still on my “to read” list:  The Pursuit of Endurance


It’s a thing I have only come to prize in this stage in life.  I’ve known for years I needed to stop expecting life to be free to struggle and heartache.  I’ve wasted a lot of energy panicking over things I could have just set about managing.

So for 2023, I shall focus on endurance.  Endurance for my book and other writing, my home, my hiking and yoga practice – endurance for my life itself.  I don’t know exactly what it will look like, but it won’t be a marathon. Maybe I’ll be able to hang onto my sweaty foot long enough to stay in dancer pose for a literal hot minute. We shall see.

I wish all of you a Happy New Year and plenty of endurance throughout 2023.

Books I read in 2022:

These Precious Days, by Ann Patchett

The Only Woman in the Room, by Rita Lakin

The Good Girls Revolt, by Lynn Povich

James Baldwin, by David Leeming

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot

Corruptible, by Brian Klaas

Atlas of the Heart, by Brene Brown

The Burning, by Tim Madigan (a history of the Tulsa Race Massacre)

Brain Hacks, by Lara Honos-Webb PhD

Foreverland, by Heather Havrilesky

How To Stop Procrastinating, by Daniel Walter

Left on Tenth, by Delia Ephron

Strategize to Win, by Carla Harris

Premonition, by Michael Lewis

The Stoic Challenge, by William B. Irvine

Siracusa, by Delia Ephron

Stumbling on Happiness, by Daniel Gilbert

The Lion Is In, by Delia Ephron

Scrum, by Jeff and JJ Sutherland

Don’t Trust Your Gut, by Seth Stephens Davidowitz

The Upside of Stress, by Kelly McGonigal

Maybe You Should See Someone, by Lori Gottlieb

Essentialism, by Greg McKeown

Heartburn, by Nora Ephron

Delivered From Distraction, by Edward Ned Hallowell MD

The Man Who Broke Capitalism, by David Gelles

Guess What’s Different, by Susan Triemert

Liar’s Poker, by Michael Lewis

The Bonfire of the Vanities, by Tom Wolfe

The Nine, by Gwen Strauss

The Fire Next Time, by James Baldwin

Finding Me, by Viola Davis

Double Double, by Ken Grimes and Martha Grimes

The Cheffe, by Marie NDiaye

Detroit, An American Autopsy, by Charlie LeDuff

Platonic, by Marisa Franco

If, by Christopher Bently

Portrait of an Artist, a Biography of Georgia O’Keeffe, by Laurie Lisle

Susan, Linda, Nina & Cokie, by Lisa Napoli

Unfuck Yourself, by Gary John Bishop

Becoming Odyssa, by Jennifer Pharr Davis

Savor, by Lilian Chung and Thích Nhất Hạnh

True Love, by Thích Nhất Hạnh

The Wisdom of Insecurity, by Alan Watts

Choosing Courage, by Jim Detert

The Art of Loving, by Erich Fromm

Newsroom Confidential, by Margaret Sullivan

The Deepest South of All, by Richard Grant

24 Hours, by Greg Iles

The Untethered Soul, by Michael Singer

In Praise of Difficult Women, by Karen Karbo

Yoga Mind, by Suzan Colón

How to Stand Up to a Dictator, by Maria Ressa

Educated, by Tara Westover

Still Writing, by Dani Shapiro

The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien