One day before 35

We recently completed an employee engagement survey at work. I hate those things. Generally it doesn’t change anything but the rhetoric, and it feels like more of a chore than anything. My team had a meeting yesterday about our results, and after a lot of talk about the past and how we can move forward as a team, I spoke up.

Now, I am very happy at my job. In fact, I LOVE my job. I wake up excited more than I don’t, and I’m usually bubbly the second I walk in the door. My team is amazing, and I am proud to work where I am. Full stop. I’m in love with what I do, and where I am. I get thanked a lot for the work I do, I get a lot of compliments about my attitude and the effect it has, and I haven’t said no to a project yet. Hell. I even had a little birthday celebration yesterday, and got thanked by two directors (including my own) for overtime I put in.

I. Love. My. Job.

All of that, however, didn’t stop me from pointing out that employee engagement results tend to be difficult to implement, that I had the previous results and nothing has changed, and that I didn’t see the point of putting a lot of effort into something that wouldn’t matter anyways. I genuinely believe that effort needs to come from the top – that it’s impossible to say to jaded individuals “It will get better if you work harder!” unless you want to piss everyone off.

Given that I’m generally the happiest person in the office, that statement has raised a few questions and a few compliments from my team. Most obviously, the one I’ve heard 4 times now is comments about my positive attitude versus my opinion about employee engagement surveys.

To that, I say I choose this.

I’m turning 35 tomorrow (what the fuck), and I have to say that the lesson I’ve learned the most since last year is that your attitude defines your life. I have finally learned that I get to choose.

I choose to be happy at work, especially on Mondays, even though it would be really easy to be grumpy and disengaged.

I choose to be happy. Even when reason says I shouldn’t be, I choose lightness over darkness.

I choose hard work. Whether it’s the gym or repairing a relationship, or even cleaning a storage room, I choose to get sweaty and fight through it.

I choose to dance. Even though I’m TERRIBLE at it, even though I don’t know how, I choose to shimmy and shake and sing to honour God and myself, I choose to feel lovely as I move.

I choose love – I choose to love me in all my busted up glory, I choose to love my friends and family, I choose to believe in romantic love and a happy ever after (even though I struggle with that last). Today, especially. I choose love.

I choose to fight for the things that I want. As Sugar says, I want to fight in the muckiest muck and walk out, filthy, exhausted, but still choosing it every time.

I choose, I choose, I choose.

It’s like Choose Your Own Adventure, only in real time. It’s really hard to be this way – I struggle with falling into old habits (“Why does this keep happening to me?!”) and somedays, owning my choices is really fucking difficult. But the more I do it, the easier it is.

I turn 35 tomorrow, and I choose to be happy. I choose to keep living my life without regret, I choose to keep working to being the person I want to be. If I could give you any advice, it would be to choose. Choose what’s important to you, choose to fight for the people you love and the future you want, choose yourself, choose love.

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Week 7: February parallels

This time last year, I was well into a bottle of bubbly.

I had been restructured out of my job. They pulled me into a meeting room, told me that they didn’t need a marketing and communications pro (which, to be fair, was true), tried to look sincere when they apologized, and then let me pack up my things and go. I sat in my car and screamed, cried a little…. and then came home and drank prosecco because I had no idea what I was going to do.

To be clear, this wasn’t the same as the Irish whiskey black out that happened when I left the GoA. This was a night of “well, fuck it, I don’t have to work tomorrow. Cheers!”

It’s been 365 days. And oh so much has changed. In true N style, let’s show some gratitude for that time before I get into the parallels.

I am just over 10 months into a job that blows my mind every. Single. Day. Seriously. Every day. I wake up absolutely pumped to go to work, and my boss often teases me that I must be on great drugs because I’m just thrilled every day. My reviews have come back positive, and I’ve been praised for my leadership skills. Which is awesome, because this is my first leadership role (hooray to going from a MarComms Coordinator to Communication Team Lead!). I’ve been doing things that are generally out of my comfort zone and succeeding – traveling to large scale events with no idea what I’ve been doing, interviewing for vacation positions – and I am so fucking in love with my job. I didn’t think it would ever happen.

I have the homicidal love muffin. She’s currently asleep in a shoe box (well, she’s trying to fit into a shoe box) and chirping in her sleep. I didn’t plan on adopting her. I saw a photo, and all of a sudden I had a feather chasing fuzz butt who is now 12 pounds and loves to play hide and seek.

For the first time, I dated with intention. I realized precisely how lonely I was, and started being even picky than I usually am with dating. There were some really nice guys. And now… there is just one really nice gentleman. No drama, no strings attached, just goodness.

I am slowly but surely getting healthier. Full stop. There have been slides backwards (like right now, because fuck my ankles and the flu, that’s why!) but I am always getting back up and continuing to move forward.

However, it can’t all be hunky dory. This time last year, I was steeling up the courage to go to my doctor and tell her that I wanted physio to heal my knee so that I could start running again. And now, I’m dealing with an ankle that isn’t stable that I’ve been instructed to be gentle with until it stops popping out of place. No high heels. I’m not allowed to spin until I’m done curling (repetitive motion, for the win!) so I’m generally just cranky about it. The other night I slid out of the hack, and my foot popped so loudly that I thought I’d broken it. And today, it’s all swollen.

All that said, I take a lot of peace that the only thing that is the same as last year is the idea that I need physio. How amazing is that? I’m experiencing a lot of joy, things are finally in a place where I am content and feeling happy. I don’t think I’ll ever say that I’m done improving, because I don’t know that I ever will be, but I’m so happy.

Week 1 – Again

It feels weird to write Week 1, again. Especially since the Week 1 already happened, but it feels like just starting over.

Accidental John Lennon reference in the first sentence. Go me.

Ok, so it’s week 1. My Fitness Pal gave me a very very salty goodbye yesterday (“We see these reminders aren’t helpful. So we are going to stop now.”), because I’m having a hard time putting my meals into it. It’s not like I’m not eating well, because oh, I am, but I just don’t seem to have that particular routine down yet.

HOWEVER. Overall, the rest of it came back easy peasy. I managed the gym 3 times this week, with over 11,000 steps each of those days, and I completely forgot how much I loved working out. Also this week – I signed up for 13 weeks of spinning, and gained a 25 class pass at Oxygen Fitness because I’m so done feeling like not my total babely self!

That said – and I’m very excited about this – I stepped on the scale the day after my last post. It wasn’t as high as the first Week 1 – about 10 pounds under that first horrible terrible first time – but it was higher than the last time I stepped on the scale. However. I stepped onto the scale on Tuesday.

And I am officially in the 170s. Officially, more than halfway through the 170s.

I feel like a total and utter babe.

***

To that, there is something else I want to write about. It’s been percolating a lot this week. Mostly because 5 years ago, exactly, I was in Africa. Africa was a total game changer for me.

5 years ago, I was ready to quit communications and marketing altogether. Like, full stop. I hated my job, I hated every single day I was at my job. There was one good thing about my job, and she was my boss. I wanted to quit and run back to operating heavy equipment. Because, and this cannot be overstated – I hated my life every. Single. Day. I had to go to work.

5 years ago, I was sharing my life and home with a man, who I very often described as my soulmate. I had a dream for us (even though I wasn’t allowed to talk about it with him), I wanted to marry him and have his children. Even though it was secretly awful and devastating and far lonelier than I have been since.

5 years ago, my anxiety was off of the charts. I wasn’t allowed to cry or be anxious at home, I wasn’t sleeping, and I was constantly thisclose to a full on meltdown.

And now I’m here.

I love what I do, even though I’ve gone through a couple of major derailments and ended up on my ass (and sometimes in a bottle). I love writing, I love the challenges I face day to day. Communications has become my love.

I have been single for most of the last five years. I have dated- some men longer than others – but haven’t ever found anyone that made me feel like my former roommate. I keep faith that I’ll find that spark – but then I think, maybe a spark like that isn’t meant to light a life. Maybe they are meant to incinerate who we were, in order to become who we need to become. I’ve been on the most hilarious and terrible dates, but I’ve also fallen in love with myself. That was something definitely missing from my life 5 years ago.

It’s been a battle – mostly with myself. I have fought myself into corners, fallen, given up, folded in child’s pose and wept, stood back up, and kept fighting. I’m really, really proud of all that. I’ve learned to dance more, sing louder, care more, and be fiercer.

To that – here is a really great dancing tune. Please go and dance for joy. Dance for life, dance for love, dance for all the lessons we have learned, for the lessons we haven’t learned yet, and the choices we yet to get to make.

End of the Weeks: NYE 2017

It’s here.

My favourite day of the year. My favourite holiday. My blank slate, lots of hopes and dreams and expectations for the upcoming year. And today, this morning, they all feel possible as I sip my coffee and look out onto my patio. I should be out running around, completing my last minute errands before I head out to dance for the night… but all I can think is writing about 2017, and letting out some of my dreams for 2018.

2017

This year started out the way it’s about to end – dancing to a local live band. The difference is that I kissed someone I really cared about at midnight. Yep, that’s right – I spent a good chunk of my year dating someone. One someone, actually. No one ever met him, and there are no pictures of us together – which is a little sad, especially now that’s ended. The one lesson that I really took away from it, and a theme that ran through my year, is the lesson of loneliness. I spent my time with this someone hiding from the world at his insistence – never touching in public (minus one very drunk New Years kiss), never referring to one another as “girlfriend” or “boyfriend” (real talk – the first time he referred to me this way, he gagged. FOR REAL.) – and that quickly turned into a deeper loneliness than being alone.

So I spent a lot of time delving into my loneliness. I sat with myself and did a lot of work on it and me and focused on the root of the issue. There was lots of quiet time – lots of meditation on my part, which was both enjoyable and devastating. My favourite meditation spot – the edge of the lake during vacation.

Yep, I took a real vacation. My first since 2013. I spent 4 days volunteering and dancing at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, and then drove out to Shuswap to camp for a few days. Oh my god. It was glorious. There was swimming and dancing and laughing and talking and starlight and a few killer sunrises. During my vacation, however, a crack happened one morning. I split in two – it felt like my soul was exposed. All of the deep fears and a feeling that took a long time to identify – love – were released into the universe. I spent the next few days confused and fearful, and made some pretty significant changes following that morning.

This year, I ended up having a lot of time on my hands- another restructuring meant another 2 months unemployed. 2 months with my thumb jammed firmly up my ass – I played endless amounts of Pokémon Go and worked at Noorish way too much. I did lots of yoga and applied for endless jobs (again. Seriously, I can write the most awesome resume/cover letter/LinkedIn profiles ever), and ended up fielding multiple offers, which blew my mind. It’s been 9 months, and I still wake up in love with my job.

To that – this year has been the healthiest and happiest I’ve been in a very, very long time. In May, I started losing weight in a pretty big way – dropping 25 pounds (give or take) and pretty much overhauled my lifestyle. I started scanning labels at the grocery store, I started using My Fitness Pal religiously, I started working out every day at lunch time.

And then a bunch of people quit or retired and I am up 10 pounds because I got stressed right out and lost my motivation. So hooray me?

The best part of this year – Nox Minerva. My little fur baby, the stinky slinky, my Snickerdoodle. Adopting her was the highlight of the year. She’s 9 months old, drives me crazy, is so full of mischief and cuddles… and I honestly still can’t believe she’s here.

2018

My first and biggest priority is getting back on the healthy train. Back to being the person scanning in the grocery store, back to moving every lunch time (starting Tuesday! Hooray!), and back to dedicating time to meal planning. I’m planning on signing up for my friend’s spin class, I’m planning on joining a yoga studio near here. My health kick was great – I was writing on here every week (EVERY WEEK. This blog post is coming 2 months after the last one I wrote! WTF), I was feeling like a babe all of the time, I love the feeling of my clothes falling off of my body. Which is weird, maybe?

My other healthy promise is that I’m taking a mediation course in a few weeks. I want my mind to be clearer, I crave that focus and peace. I’m sure that these two goals are going to lead to a third, actually, but I don’t want to discuss that one until later on into the journey. But you are all coming along on my journey, because my GOD I’m updating this weekly throughout.

I’m also going to use all of my vacation days. I’m taking at least one vacation this year! I am striving to go away for my birthday – I cannot have my birthday here – so I’m going to try to take an overseas vacation in March (think booking the time off and then seeing what last minute trips are available… and then leaving for a beach and a bottle of rum on a beach somewhere). Maybe another one – another Folk Fest weekend – and maybe out to Vancouver Island to camp and chill on another beach. Maybe. The only solid one right now is my birthday.

The dating thing is…. fucking dating. Of course it’s a goal, because funny enough I still want to have a baby and still want to get married. My goal for this: I want a man who is super proud of me, and is totally fine screaming to the whole world that I’m his girlfriend and he loves me. Is it crazy that I want him to share pictures of me if he has social media? If not, I’d like to share pictures of him on my social media – I want someone who wants to be seen with me. Maybe I’ve met him already, but if not – it’s still my goal.

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope this year is the best one yet for us all. I hope it’s full of love, light, healthy eating, sweating, kitten cuddles, laughter, starlight, and really really great sex.

Week 16 (or so): The vacation and its aftermath

So, I’ve lost track of the weeks. Whoops. 

I was on a really great streak, though. It was really great for me to do it, though. I was accountable to everyone who reads this, or, at least, it felt like it. I’m still losing weight, though. Hooray! 

The truth is, I’m struggling to write about this summer. I always preferred winter anyways, but this summer is a brutal reminder of what happened last summer. I struggle with the idea of telling the full truth here – what’s worse, telling the harsh truth about why you’re struggling to focus on the goals you’ve set, or be silent and appear to have given up? I feel like I give up far too often, but that harsh truth…. yeesh. Yeesh. I never understood how someone can have big heavy secrets until last year – and now I have secrets that I’ll never tell anyone.

I’d like to think that the harsh truth can be forgotten, one day. The tears and the alcohol and the begging and the crushing depression – maybe that will go away. I think I’m on the best path I’ve been on in years… but that has been sticking in my mind. Those broken pieces, those secrets, that crushing blackness – I’m so afraid that it will happen again. 

However, in an effort to show my dedication to my goals and avoid that harsh truth, I’d like to write about my vacation. The first real runaway I’ve had since 2013. I’ve had time off, but it was plagued by depression, anxiety, and all the fun that comes with those bastards. So, this year, I decided to take time off, properly. To enjoy my volunteer gig at Edmonton Folk Music Fest, to dance all night, and then to camp in the Shuswap with a group of amazing humans. I started volunteering on Wednesday evening, and this is what my Folk Fest did for my FitBit. 

  • Wednesday – 14,784
  • Thursday – 21,117
  • Friday – 14,161
  • Saturday- 28,426
  • Sunday- 18,052
  • Monday- 10,228

For anyone who doesn’t want to do the math, that’s 106,768 steps in 6 days. It wasn’t all walking – I did lots of dancing, lots of wandering. I (with the help of my astounding parents) meal prepped for my camping trip, and I was on my way on Monday evening (only part way, though. I though I’d be able to drive to the Shuswap on Monday, but HOLY MAN I needed sleep). 

I derailed in the Shuswap. We had a great time – lots of swimming, lots of walking, lots of games, lots of laughs – and my diet fell off my mind. I had all kinds of other things to think on, and I feel relatively OK that I fell. I still lost weight that week (I think I can blame the one truly horrific hangover for that), but now, I’m struggling to get back on the horse. Or should I say treadmill? I’m struggling to get back into my routine, back onto my treadmill. And now I’m back at work, working even earlier than usual for a few weeks, and it’s been a tough two days. And maybe I’m being a wimp or maybe I’m over tired, or maybe it’s the anxiety and sheer panic that hit me two days before my vacation ended, but it hasn’t been a good two days. It’s been a sad and stressful two days, and now, I’m back to the edge of panic. 

I know that a lunch time walk would feel AMAZING. I know that I need groceries in order to keep up meal planning. I also know that my get up and go… just got up and left. Once I’m back into the routine, I’ll likely sleep better and will likely stop worrying so much (insert audience laughter here). But getting there? Oh man. SO MUCH HARDER THAN I WAS EXPECTING. 

Anyone out there have any tips? How do you get back onto the treadmill? 

Love letters 

Many years ago, I sat on the edge of a cement wall next to the Sydney Opera House and wrote a postcard to myself.

To step back – I left Canada with a very banged up, very scared little heart. My boyfriend of 1.5 years had been cheating on me for over a year. I had never traveled alone before. I had never carried a backpack as far as I was going to. I was afraid of a lot – heights, water, sharks, big bugs, being let down after over 15 years of planning – but I did what my parents taught me to do and packed my bags and did it anyway.

It ended up being one of the most important things I’ve ever done. It still doesn’t feel like it’s been (spoiler, holy fuck time flies) 10 years since I moved back to Canada. I remember the utter terror and excitement of landing in Auckland, and I remember feeling elated when I extended the trip by moving to Perth. I got over my fear of heights by being tied to a bridge and leaping off, I got over my fear of bugs by swagging in the desert, I conquered my fear of sharks and water at the same time by learning to dive. Suffice to say that my coming back to Canada made me feel like a completely different person – one that I became genuinely afraid to lose.

I didn’t want to be the scared girl in the corner any longer. I wanted to remember the feeling of being able to conquer anything I set my mind to, the true joy of being a brave person. So, on the last day of my journey, I wrote a letter to myself, reminding me of what I had accomplished and how powerful I really was.

To honour that, and to say goodbye to the shit year that was 2016, and to joyously welcome 2017….

Dear N.

You beautiful, wonderful, astounding creature.

You made it. You’re officially on the other side of the worst year of your life. There were moments where you laid down, little girl, and you almost didn’t (or couldn’t) get back up. There were moments where you thought it was over – when the failures and the broken heart and the turmoil almost broke you forever. When you raised your voice and started screaming to wound the people closest to you. When you cried until your eyes swelled shut and you didn’t have tears anymore but you kept crying anyway.

Baby, you made it.

And not only did you make it, you made it healthier than you have been in YEARS. You have learned more about yourself this year than any year before – how to deal with your emotions, how to meditate best for you, what you need to keep yourself healthy – and you have healed so many of the hurts. After finally turning to see yourself, you saw what needed fixing. And you fixed it. You’re still a bit of a chubby panda, but you finally even fell in love with those curves and accepted every single inch. 

Hell. You didn’t even see the freckles under your eyes until this year. How lovely is that? You can hold crazy yoga poses and walk forever and lift weights and rock climb- maybe you aren’t the beauty specific, but you’re a smoke show, traffic stopping babe nevertheless. You even stopped believing in love for awhile- how crazy is it that the best, sexiest, and most fulfilling relationship you’ve ever had is with your beautiful self? Even crazier- why did it take you so long? 

There is a lot of mystery surrounding your life right now. Things are in a holding pattern right now, and you are usually way more prepared (ahem, you anal planner you, ahem) than this. But you know what? You fell down HARD this summer. You failed the worst you literally ever have. But you know what, babe? You’ve been into the darkness. You can’t be afraid anymore, because you’ve seen the other side. So embrace this mystery, the unknown. Your path is leading you precisely where you need to go. Keep loving fiercely and keep volunteering and keep laughing and drinking green smoothies. Keep crying at movies and keep praying and meditating and working your ass off. 

You have everything you need. 

Keep moving forward, you stunning goddess. 

With so much love and joy and respect,

N

The summer of 2015!

First, let’s press play on my eternal summer song.

Right on. Grooviest tune I know. Catchy. Reminds me of drinking and singing with friends in Australia. Feel free to dance a little as you read.

So far, this summer has been awesome. It’s been busy as sometimes, and a lot of the time I’ve felt overwhelmed with the things going on in my life. That said – I’m going to practice a little bit of gratitude today, because my soul needs it.

  • This summer has been about volunteering. I’ve been volunteering as long as I can remember – for Santas Anonymous, for the Hinton SPCA, and now for the Freewill Shakespeare Festival, Noorish Yoga, and the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. I’ve spent a lot of time in ugly volunteer shirts this summer, laughing and talking in the sunshine.

    volunteer

  • This summer has been about great music – the Wild Mountain Music Festival, the Calgary Folk Festival, the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. I’ve heard Corb Lund, Delhi to Dublin, Oka, the Joel Plaskett Emergency, Whitehorse, Shakey Graves, the John Butler Trio, Jenny Lewis, Frasey Ford, Ashley MacIsaac – to name a few! I’ve danced a lot, drank some, and generally had a blast. Next up in the great summer of music? The Edmonton Symphony Under the Sky. Heck yes.
    YEG
    (thanks to the lovely ROB for the image)
  • This summer has been about friendships. Old friends, new ones. I went on a bit of a runaway with one of my oldest friends, and woke up with a sore stomach from laughing all night (and a sore head from all of the beer. Won’t lie there). I volunteered with newish friends, and definitely feel like I made some lasting friendships. I spent a weekend camping with two of my dearest friends, which is always full of laughter and stories. This weekend holds moving two of my most favourite people, and drinking mojitos with another group of amazing individuals. How lucky is that? I feel pretty darn lucky.
  • This summer has been about trying to figure out how to do yoga in a smoking hot basement when it’s +30 outside. The short answer is – bad N to her practice that has slid to 1 night a week because it’s all I can handle. I am not a fan of the heat – can it snow already, please? Or at least rain every night so I can sleep?
  • This summer has been the year of camping in the badlands, which is something that I have wanted to do for years and just haven’t done. It wasn’t strictly badlands – as my pal Joe described it – it was where the prairies met the badlands. Either way, the company was fabulous, the river was lazy, wide, and cool, and the food tremendous.sunset
  • This summer has been punctuated by one really amazing, slow kiss after a second date. The night was warm, and there were butterflies during said kiss and wide grins immediately following, and lots of hope for the possibility with this guy. Sadly, it was just one kiss and then done – boo to that. But. Clearly not meant to be. And that’s okay too. Because, sometimes – all a girl needs is a slow, sweet kiss that gives her butterflies to remind her that there are kisses like that out there.
  • This summer has been about trying my first (and very likely last) prairie oyster. Turns out, garlic butter covers all manner of sins. For those of you who don’t know, a prairie oyster is bull testicles. It was…. interesting. As I described it to my BFF this week – it was like a sausage bite. Until you think about what it actually was.
  • This summer has been full of family visits – literally. I’ve seen my brother more this summer than I have in the last 3 years. My parents have been in the city more than they ever have been, and sometimes with my very short, bossy notice (more on that reasoning in a moment). I’ll be visiting with my father’s sister in September – she’s never been to Alberta in my lifetime, so I’m so excited to get to know her more!
  • This summer has been the summer of buying property. That’s right – I definitely purchased my first home this summer. I take possession at the end of August, which is equal parts terrifying and elating. It’s the most perfect place for me – full of light and high ceilings and dark laminate and a kitchen big enough for two. I’ve spent a lot of my summer getting ready to move – buying plates and glasses, finding bar stools to fit at the island. I’m now packing my books up, sorting through years of memories and purging from the things that I no longer need in my life. It’s been about daydreaming about the colour of my bedroom – do I keep it the sapphire colour? Or should I paint it a more aqua colour, to help bring out the purple crystals in the closet chandelier? It’s been about trying to find a date for an open house that works for my pal GG AND my brother, while keeping in mind that I may have an overnight guest (or five) for that weekend. It was about telling my Nana about this achievement, and hearing her get oh-so excited for me.

This year is going by so quickly. It makes me happy that I’m able to be here, and be present within it. In the meantime… have a little bit of a smile, courtesy of Bill Watterson.

Calvin

Reflection on 2014, and hope for 2015

I love the new year. I love new beginnings – the idea of them, the planning, the feeling that you get when you open up a new day timer. I get a thrill thinking about all of the possibilities for next year, and it makes me happy to reflect on the past year. So, without further ado – a recap.

2014 was the year of miracles.
I learned about miracles this year. I wrote (and read!!) about them several times, but I also discovered an awesome, undocumented method of working my own miracles.

My dad and I spent a lot of time in the backyard this year – especially relating to the next point – and this place, is my haven. It is the safest place I can think of – when the zombies come, I’ll be hiding in the treehouse in my parent’s backyard. When things got really bad, and I wasn’t able to take anymore, I came home. We called our coffee and Bailey’s working miracles – it turns out, we were. After we spent a few days in our contemplative silence, whether we were painting or putting benches together, we had breakthroughs. We had made changes in my life, in my dad’s life – in our collective silence, and comradery – and we now call it making our miracles. Today, in fact – we made miracles happen.

2014 was the year of anxiety and depression.
I learned this year that anxiety and depression are cyclical. Where one is, the other will likely follow. I had panic attacks before 2014 – but nothing like what was going to come. My first panic attack that kept me from work happened in January, and I literally could not get out of bed. I laid there, trying to hold onto the good things as panic seized me – I felt like I was having a heart attack, and drowning, and being lit on fire ALL AT THE SAME TIME. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t see – and by the time it was over, I felt brittle, like ancient glass. I felt like it I let my guard down, I would shatter and explode everywhere. I cried, and then prayed, hoping it wouldn’t happen again. Crying and praying wasn’t enough. It happened again. Over and over, with stronger intensity.

I also learned that I am strong enough to defeat both.

2014 was the year of friendships.
As previously mentioned – I really learned to value my people this year. My friendships grew stronger, and I became surrounded by astounding, powerful people. As I learned to lean on others, I let others lean on me. Rather than being powerful for everyone, and leaving nothing for me – as I did for a long time – I gave, and took. I learned how wonderful a friendship built on written correspondence could be (psst…. KP – I do mean you. KM was taken, so I have to use your maiden name…), I learned how much it means to me that I have women who support me as much as I support them. I already knew the importance of female friends – my parents both drove the importance of friendships into me, and my mom especially had some really powerful female friends – but this year really drove this need in me.

2014 was the year of the ironworker.
I love me a bad boy. I blame the black and white movies – James Dean and Marlon Brando…. Who wouldn’t have a crush on these brooding, dark leading men? Of course, as I grew, the bad boys grew with me. Romeo, Mr. Darcy (he was a bastard at first too), Robin Hood (both Kevin Costner AND Cary Elwes), Norman Reedus, Charlie Hunnam… the list marches ON. And, of course, if you look back at my history, you’ll notice a fair amount of bad boys. None of these, though, had shit on the ironworker.

I think I was supposed to meet him for 3 reasons. First, for LUSH. Because who doesn’t love natural products that make you smell divine? Second, because I had to know what I deserved – namely, a man who will bring me breakfast and hold me in the hard times, a man who will call me his queen, a man who loves me. Three, because I had to leave him. The bad boy thing? Yeh. Over it. (In real life, that is. I’ll always crush on the fictional bad boys).

2014 was the year of the geek.
This was the final year of new Middle Earth. The year of Guardians of the Galaxy, the year of new Star Wars trailers. This year was the year that I learned how to embrace my inner geek – the year I planned to create not one, but two geeky quilts – and this year I learned where the best comic books stores in Edmonton are. I waited in line for the Dwarves at Comic Expo, and sang along with the original TMNT voice actors as they sang the theme.

I am okay with being a geek. More than okay. And I have the underwear to prove it.

2014 was the year of the New Job.
This was the year that I was finally able to write like a motherfucker. That’s right, I fulfilled my Dear Sugar dream. I write. Daily. I write websites and social media and blog posts and newsletters and key messages and articles. I fought and fought to tell the story at my old job – and now, I finally get to tell the story. I get to tell the stories of this beautiful, local, not for profit – and I am so happy.

That, and the fact that I am totally thrilled that I wake up EXCITED. Every day, I wake up happy. There are some things I miss about my old job (Hi JAM. You asked me once to tell you a story – here they are), but I wouldn’t go back. I am beyond thrilled to go back to work on Monday, January 5. It’s still December 31.

2015
I am so excited for the possibilities of 2015. It’s there, waiting like a good book, to be cracked open and savoured. I don’t really have any resolutions, simply because the things I want (like, losing enough weight to fit into my favourite blue jeans from college) seem so cliché. My standard is “have more great sex”, simply because 1) WHO DOESN’T WANT MORE GREAT SEX, and 2) See point 1. It’s been my only official resolution for… 5 years? Maybe more?

But, I think I have a few things figured out for 2015.

2015 will be the year of the letter.
I want to handwrite letters. Really. KP and I once talked about writing a novel through letters to one another. I sent multiple letters with Christmas cards. I want to write letters to my hero in Camrose. Who doesn’t love getting letters?

2015 will be the year of the adventure.
There are so many big things possible with 2015, and the New Job. I really want to take myself on an adventure. The REAL question is – where? Peru? Everest Base Camp? Maybe I’ll go back to Tofino and hang out? Or. Maybe I’ll be really brave and enrol in a Masters program, and visit Tofino ON THE WEEKEND.

2015 will be the year of Doctor Who and quilting.
Only because I haven’t yet watched Doctor Who, and I have two quilts that I’d like to create. For me. Because I can. And, because why not?

2015 will be the year of the book.
Yep. I fell off the reading wagon a little bit this year. I’m making it semi-official. I’m going to read a new book every week this year. At least. Because what isn’t better with a good book?

2015 will be the year of love.
Oh, love. What kind of love? Friend love. Family love. Literary love. Self love. Especially self love. I want to look in the mirror and be so full of love. I’ve been following some advice from my wise card reader – I’ve been looking in the mirror and daring myself to just love – even though I’m not perfect, even though I’m not thin or overly fit, even though I’m just me – and that’s my goal this year. I just want to have a year of mad, crazy, stupid love. Even if it’s with myself – I just want lots and lots of love.

Happy New Year, everyone. I wish you love, health, and all the great sex you can handle.

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