I have spent the majority of the afternoon updating card after card, site after site with my new address.
Who said moving was easy? Or at the very least, entertaining?
If we talk about how life is full of balance – good with the bad, then 2019 was yet another year that reinforced how the pendulum continues to swing, the carousel unforgivably turns, and I’ll close out another chapter wondering how it all went by so fast.
As the year’s close, I’ve become accustomed to writing down a few thoughts and notes.
I concluded 2018 with the intention that I’d be waltzing into a new year a more complete woman – held high, and confident.
And, well, I did.
In 2019, I took “commitment” to heart. And while I had a relationship fall to pieces over the year, I’ve asked myself what it takes to know what commitment really means. And I think, think, that at its core it needs to be a commitment to ourselves. Committing to our happiness; our contentment. What sort of partner are you if you are simply in it because you feel obligated? Or that the hurt on your heart is pulsating like a pressure washer of sadness; drowning your desire to continue?
I’ve walked away this year with “commitment to me”. I committed to quitting smoking. I committed to my health. I committed to figuring out how to cope with sleep apnea. I committed to not accepting less than what I was worth. I committed to being honest, even if it was hard. I committed to knowing when to ask for help, committed to conceding when I was losing the battle. I learned how to reignite my convictions. I thought I knew solid ground on my morals and values, but once they began to shift and teeter, I had to commit to anchoring them firmly in the ground again. I recommitted myself to me. And that meant a plethora of personal victories, failures, triumphs. That’s what balance is.
This year, I went from an overweight smoker with barely a breath to climb the stairs and finished it an overweight woman with a desire to see through her goals, that included a jaunt over an 8km finish line. Yes, I’m still overweight. Yes, I have a thousand years to go, it seems. But I committed to seeing through quitting smoking, and building stamina. And I did.
When financial struggles struck me down over the beginning half the year, I had to make sacrifices and concessions I wouldn’t have otherwise dreamed. But I did. And I conquered.
I was gifted a new position at work; a challenge I was committed to seeing through. I fought like hell to turn my current gig into a show to be proud of. And I feel I ended 2019 right where I wanted to be – live, loud, local. Listeners know what to expect when they tune in. If this year taught me anything work wise, it’s that authenticity will continue to be most important. Owning your truth, instead of running from it, seems to be what resonates.
I’ve said good bye to Kid A, who soars now in London. As a parent, my objective is to grow with my children. At every curve of their life, their parenting becomes applicable to the person at hand. In her 18th year, my sole objective with my oldest was to line her wings so richly with feathers that she’d have the confidence to fly, even if she fell. My hope was that she’d spread those wings far and wide, and take a leap of faith, which is now what she’s done. And even as she’s teetered over this first semester of her adult life, she knows I’m here at the nest, ready to line her wings until she retains enough feathers to fly fully solo. And while we kicked, screamed, and bled for each other (metaphorically speaking, of course) through out the final year she was home, we’ve both earned our badges as friends, as confidants, as mother/daughter who rely heavily on one another’s presence to make it through another day. She calls me just as often as I do her. We don’t outgrow our parents. We simply evolve in the ways we require their nurture in our lives.
And as it were, Kids B & C are fabulous, wonderful children, each with a new set of challenges and hurdles they’re crossing. B moving to Kingston next semester, to complete high school here with his mother. C finding her voice in a sea of eight grade confusion, excitement, and newness.
Parenting. Financial loss. Gains in friendships. Travels. Crossing Canada to dip my toes in the Atlantic. Road trips, and festivals, concerts, and showtimes, lifetimes, it feels sometimes when you compartmentalize an entire year and the lessons you learned. While I championed my physical health, I permitted my mental health to take a nose dive. When I steered the ship back to shore, I was able to find light in dark spaces, find love in hopeless places. From starting the year shuttered to the core over what lurked beyond in the shadows financially, personally, romantically, to ending the year curled up in mine and Jan’s bed, I suppose one could simply say that the universe has its own way of ensuring everything will be okay, somehow.
And to Jan, now that I’ve navigated this retelling to his and my story. So often do I simply shorten him to ‘J’, or refer to him as ‘mine’. He, a man who found his way to me through friendship and laughter. From personal commonality to a life as lovers, some of 2019’s biggest surprises were left till the final quarter. The last act. Maybe even the encore. The beauty of relationships that begin as ours did is the beauty of friendship first. When you become friends, you’ve handpicked and selected someone in the world whose weirdness aligns with your own. And when you’re best friends, no one wonders why you can’t get enough of each other, why you recess together, and laugh together, ride home bikes together, and then spend all night of the phone wondering what the other is doing before you’re back at school being threatened by teachers to be separated. And Jan and I were that. Two people who just adored one another for the person that they are. Pushing, and supporting each other through moments in time. Some excellent, and reveled. Others dark, and obtuse. And in the end, it was these two friends who crossed the threshold and found in each other what they’d been searching for all along.
As Jan and I inch towards a new year of possibility, creativity, excitement and readiness, I’m reflecting on who the person I am at the end of 2019.
To start, let’s recap last year’s final blog:
‘As the year came to a close, I stopped apologizing for being someone who cared too much, and embraced the heart on my sleeve – whatever that may mean for me. Breaking my trust says something about their character, not mine. And once I became fully aware of who I was – what I loved, what I needed, what I hoped for – someone stepped in and said: I like all of this. I like all of you. I like everything you are, just like this.
That was more than I could have ever hoped for.
And this is the part where I say I became a better person in 2018. Or that tomorrow is the first of a 365 page book. This is where I leave you with something meaningful and motivational. That I impart some advice on how to become a version of ourselves we’re totally happy with each and everyday. I could use words like “journey” and “blessed”.
But here’s what I’ll sign off with, instead.
I hope 2019 is great for each of you. In its own way. I hope that whatever you do or don’t resolve, you find peace with however the year turns out. Moments, memories; chances, opportunities, challenges and chapters. I’m hoping the best for you for 2019.’
2019 was a year of transformation for me. A year of renewed commitment for me. A year of falling down, getting up, slipping up, but not losing sight. A year of believing that it could kill me. I could be weaker than the hand I was dealt this year. But in not losing faith, I became something more than I could have bargained for – I became the ‘me’ I used to know.
Kingston has become home. Jan has become my ride or die. I have a new business, a kid in college, a new home, a new job. I have a new side hustle, a son moving home. I have a renewed sense of wonderment that maybe I left on the doorknob of 2018. My youngest became a teen. And there are two new goobers in my life who do more than wrap their arms around my neck when I come through the front door – they have wormed their way into my heart.
Am I better me?
Instead, I’m grateful again just to be me. And if that was 2019’s lesson – to bury the hatchets, to forgive the dusk for taking its time becoming the dawn, to accept that I couldn’t change – then, 2019 was a success.
Hindsight will be 2020. It will be taking to task the lessons I learned this year, and re-purposing them to tools to navigate a whole new chapter.
p.s. In 2020, I’m starting a new project. #HandleWithCare2020, a series of daily and weekly short stories, insights and anecdotes designed for the person who needs a pep talk from time to time. Look for it January 1st.