The jingling of board game pieces floats in and out of ear shot. My niece and nephews are crowded under a blanket, watching Youtube. My brother-in-law pushing away a toy stroller. My sister has the word “hope” spelled out on a dining hutch. It stares at me. Four white, block letters stand at attention. My attention.
‘Hope’ accurately sums 2018. I did much wishing, and yearning, and learning, and hoping this year. Hope that my daughter would move to be with me. Hope that my relationship would work out. Hope that I’d survive when it didn’t. Hope that my nearly three-year separation would finally dissolve into divorce. Hope that I’d stop thinking of her, and him, and those people, and that embarrassing moment. Hope that I’d learn to live alone, that I’d sleep on both sides of the bed in equal measure, that I’d remember to call, that I’d challenge myself to new things. That I’d stop napping everyday, that I’d stay awake during the twilight fares in my cab. I hoped I’d fight my way through my financial struggles and challenges. That my car would make the trek back and forth to Kitchener. That I’d take holidays with my kids. Hope for better days; brighter tomorrows.
Hope that I’d make friends. Hope that I’d finally make Kingston home, without the guilt that I had sustained through-out the first portion of the year.
I’ve recently re-read my 2017 note. I’d resolved to stop allowing people to get the better of me. To stop allowing myself to care when someone didn’t like me, or made me feel inferior. I resolved to stop giving into the anger, and bitterness; to not allow people’s opinions best me into submission.
That part didn’t work out so well. But I had really hoped it would.
I toppled into the dating field some time in the summer. I hoped something would work out, pan out, become something more than I was hopeful for. I hoped a reconciliation was imminent. I hoped the asshole who cat-fished me would be struck with a fate of karma. I hoped that the him I met for drinks came clean to his wife after I berated him for trying to cheat. I hoped the him I chatted with briefly realized that it was scuzzy to think a gal is ready to jump into bed just because he met up with her for breakfast one idle morning.
But what I had really hoped for was to stop feeling lonely, and sad, and longing. And, eventually, I realized that was exactly what was happening. It had taken no more than becoming my own best friend for that to finally come to fruition.
I took the reigns on my own life far sooner than I gave myself credit for. I worked harder. I met new people. I smiled more. I stopped napping as often. I started jogging. I went to the gym. I sang karaoke. I wrote my cab exam, and started hosting Fridays at the raddest country bar in town. I met handfuls of wonderful human beings, who supported my every step. Let me break when I couldn’t stand up straight, cushioned my falls, listened to my worries, and guided me through the tough times. Laughed with me in the good times. We joked, and told stories, and created memories that far exceeded my expectations. These people became my beacon and my strength. And more to that – they made Kingston home.
I started working in a music store, and swapped Empire Records stories with my new boss & new-found soul mate. I created new opportunities for myself at the radio station. I forged a new friendship with my daughter’s step-mother. I strengthened my relationships with my children, and their families. I started writing again. I started contributing to print media again. I started seeing bands again, and allowing myself to drink in the sheer joy of nightlife, and daylight, and when things started to feel right, I was ready to start being wholly myself again. I lived by the motto: “live your best YOLO”. I traversed the 401 till I thought my tires would burn out on the highway – with my playlist still banging loud.
I planned Welcome Home parties, and went to every country music festival I could sink my teeth into. I went to potlucks, and dinners, and meet ups, and hang-outs. I introduced concerts, and shows, and festivals. I reveled in the sunshine, brought family up to see me in my new world. In my corner of happiness.
And that’s what hope became. Hope translated into happiness. And not because the things I thought I’d hoped for had come true in the literal sense. But that my priorities shifted, and my expectations for hope suddenly became the simple desire to just be happy. And ready. And eager. To become satisfied with my own company, consoling myself into leaving the worrying behind. That I was enough for me. And that would make me enough for someone else.
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.