When I closed my eyes on the night of December 31st, 2016, my life looked exceptionally different than it does today.
There is some comfort in consistency. I’m obviously still a Mama. I’m clearly still a radio kid.
But I went to bed very alone that night. And very determined to wake up to a better 2017.
On the morning of New Year’s Day, I thought I’d have it straightened out. My marriage and soon to be legal separation. My goals and priorities. My objectives for the year. I thought I knew – for the most part – what 2017 was going to look like.
For starters, I was going to get out of my current residence; one where my ex and I had started to plant our roots. In less than six months, I’d have the kids and I outta the house that took me days to plow the driveway; weeks to mow the lawn. Multiple jobs to pay the rent and utilities. Now it was going to be over. The future looked bright.
But within a few weeks of the New Year, I met an illusion. With red hair and a promise. I abandoned what I thought I knew in favour of a new destiny. New Instagram photos. Renewed fire and passion in my heart. Something that had been buried but now reignited.
The illusion evaporated a mere few months later; and like a hangover, I groggily reached for the Advil and set a new path.
When I reflect back on 2017, the year seems little more than a spiral; a vortex of muddled emotions strung on tight rope of all that held dear. What was best for the kids? For me? Where did I go next? What happens next? After all I’d struggled to achieve over the previous decade, how did I end up back at the bottom again, yearning to see the light?
Family and friends carried me through the summer months. They broke their backs, lifting the weight I was unable to hold up alone. I am indebted to each of them. They focused for me, while I tried desperately to regain my footing.
Professionally, the year rolled along with new and exciting challenges and opportunities. However dark my personal life became, work became the veil that I could hide beneath. An escape from reality. The adage reversed; I strove to not bring home to work. For much of the year, I was successful. For part of it, not nearly enough. I try not to live with regret. I regret merging my personal life with my work life; and sometimes being too blind to see the difference.
I lost my TV show this year. It’s tough to translate how I feel about not volunteering anymore. I had been a part of Rogers TV off and on since 2002, and consistently since 2010. It was bittersweet. Packing up my vinyl from the set. Deleting the socials. It was surreal. Had it really happened at all?
The year held various victories for me. For each misstep, a lesson learned. For every point-your-finger-and-ask-why, a chance to do it better next time.
My kids went from grade to grade this year. One started high school. One turned the year-long milestone in her relationship. One headed off to Grade 6; the new Queen Bee in her school. The kids – the three of them – have grounded me into the woman I so hope I am. The one they see me as. The one who perpetually tries harder every day to be the Mama they so richly deserve.
I met Aaron this year. And cliches be damned – for what he and I have tackled, worked through, accomplished, it’s hard to believe we haven’t been together longer. Our first date was tribute bands and beers. From that night forward, we forged a path that has been complete with peaks and valleys, gullies and waterways. The least this has been for either of us is easy. And yet – we’re walking into 2018 hand in hand. I continue to treasure this man who’s become my best friend. My rock. The year seemed impossible at times. He became the voice of reason when the noise of the world threatened to drown out every rational thought I thought I had left. New Years 2018, will look different again, I think.
But what was the real lesson of 2017? If that’s what we’re supposed to take away from the previous year, if we’re supposed to reflect on what we learned and how to make it different for the year to come, then what was it for me? What did I take away from a year I became so bitter during? So angry during? So betrayed, hurt, frightened, alone, afraid, impoverished by?
I learned I wasn’t anything to anyone by stretching myself so thinly that I could only be somewhat to some people.
I was so consumed by what I considered misfortune that I was entrenched in my own misery. I was half a person. Half the time I could hide how frustrated I was. The other half I spent screaming like a wild animal (and that’s both literal and metaphorical).
And before it did take over my life, I had one last card in my hand. And it turned out to be the Ace.
In November, I gave it all up and left it all behind. My Facebook. My home. My hometown. My phone number. And my pain.
In 2018, I’ll wake up in a new apartment, in a new city, with my three wonderful babies. In 2018, I’ll remember that it doesn’t always happen for a reason you’re supposed to understand right away. In 2018, I’ll resolve to let it go sooner, to stop lurking in the corners of self-pity, to refuse beating myself up emotionally over the things I can’t change. In 2018, I’ll remember that 2017 nearly broke me. More times than once. But phoenix and ashes, right?
And while we’re on the topic of seeing the good – I did see the Dixie Chicks in 2017. I surprised my Mama with Tim & Faith tickets for her birthday. I surprised my Kid C with Katy Perry, introduced Kid B to Rascal Flatts and took a trip to the city with Kid A to see Kesha. I also lived on the beach, covered the Much Awards, interviewed dozens of artists, danced, laughed, and sang with multiple friends and family.
Balance. Good with the bad. Rotten with the great.
And when it became too much – when the scales were tipped so far from my reach I could do nothing more than to jump with both feet on my side of the teeter totter – it was time to let it go in a big, massive, life-altering way.
Wishing you all the best for 2018. Whether it becomes the year you expect, or not. 💋