New Year’s Day is the epitome of nostalgia. January 1st becomes a semi-restart button in a wonderfully metaphorical way. Like birthdays or springtime, it’s a strange and exciting new beginning – and I’m all about attempting to start fresh.
The first half of 2019 I found myself constantly putting all of my energy into fixing all of my seemingly broken pieces only to watch things fall apart once again, in my hands. I took action. I got a counsellor, took supplements, took pills, tried cleanses, tracked cycles, went to yoga more often. I ran into loneliness and tried to keep running. I battled bitterness and took several heavy hits to my self-confidence. I made lists on what I could do to fix myself. Made lists on what I thought might be wrong.
My days became characterized by a pattern of immense effort, successes, and falling back several steps where I’d meet myself with anger and confusion. I held onto all of my anxieties, flaws, and emotional turmoil so tightly beneath the heavy weight of an endless string of questions. It wasn’t until the second half of my year that I started learning how to loosen my grip.
Things shifted in July. My life, emotionally and physically, began to change and I’ve been living in those changes ever since. Developing them, clinging on to them for dear life, feeling proud of them, and finding confidence in them. It’s perhaps the first time in six years that certain, seemingly small but truthfully quite large, aspects of who I am have taken a turn.
It makes me nervous. Every time I catch myself overthinking, feeling burdened, feeling lost, I struggle not to put a label on it and just let myself be human. It’s a grand work in progress – emphasis on p r o g r e s s.
I’m thankful for the events that took place in 2019. The changes that occurred – the ones I orchestrated and the ones that were thrown upon me. The friends and family who stood by and felt the remnants of my own emotional whiplash. I’m thankful for the courage to leave for 3 months. It has clearly been the greatest decision I made this year.
Snippets from 2019.
A large bowl of chicken nuggets. Taking pictures on the couch in my best friend’s Hamilton home. Shaking my head at drunk texts from a best friend. A playlist made specifically for the morning-after-NYE-drive-home. A cleanse. Wrestling with my job. Bitterness and a desperate search for contentment. Deciding on solitude.
A Vancouver snow storm. The city hates it, but I love it. Decorating the house for Jord’s birthday. A pro’s and con’s list on quitting my job. Searching for God. Small steps towards contentment. Deciding I don’t want to get paid to write anymore.
Drinking with close friends. An ‘oops’ or two. Spending a lot of time alone. Self-written notes that read “PMS starts today – don’t panic.” Really pretty trees. The creation of the Scotland Whatsapp group. Knowing I’ll be leaving my job in May. A game plan. The “I need a counsellor” moment. Getting a counsellor.
A really bad night. A strange Easter by myself. A print of a heart from an art stand on the way to the park. Setting up my hammock on Easter weekend. Fighting with loneliness. A much needed hike.
A trip to Portland. Sour beers. Hot weather. Bike rides. Great ice cream. Jord crying from laughing from being high. Making our way to the seaside. Wrestling with myself, constantly. Quitting my job.
A panic attack and a 2-week migraine. The culmination of stress. Everything feels bittersweet. Leaving my job. Leaving my laneway house. A final park night. $600 on supplements I’ll never end up taking.
Moving out and moving friends in. Going home. Reunited. Time at the pond. The Ziggy Alberts concert with Rach. BBQ at Manda’s. Wrestling with myself. Wondering if I’m ready. Knowing I’m ready. Getting on a plane to Scotland. Falling in love with Scotland. Contemplating the meaning of safety. A small book with a massive impact.
A special reunion. England, Wales, Slovenia, Croatia. Waking up in new cities. Falling in love with waking up in new cities. Walking until my feet hurt. Mountains, lakes, oceans. Dip tours. Salty hair. Wine and cliff edges. A cancelled flight. Peace.
Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Denmark. My first time on my own. Falling in love with who I am. Finding confidence in new places. A best friend and another new city. New friends from a rooftop in Portugal. Food I still dream about. Sunsets. A fascination with feeling weightless. Digesting the past several years. Feeling whole.
Scotland, England, Ontario. The Dermot Kennedy concert, on my own, in Glasgow. Thinking about what I want my life to look like when I come home. Edinburgh again, with new company. Realizing I smell bad. Thanksgiving featuring a Sunday roast. Many goodbyes. Feeling unsure about leaving. Coming home – still whole.
A new apartment and a new job in a matter of days. No more appointments. No more pills. Comments that I seem different. Throw pillows and the colour orange. New but familiar friends.
“I’m still doing well.” Reassurance. Church services. New strength with old weaknesses. I am, still, doing very well. Critical thinking. Learning to let go, every, single, day. 2 bucket list items. Home for the holidays. And back again.
This year I’m giving my body a break from all the supplements, pills, and birth control I’ve been putting in it for the past many, years. It was due time for a break. I’m working on reading more, because I’ve got a bad habit of numbing with TV (despite my unwavering love for Grey’s Anatomy). I’m working on forgiveness – for myself, for all the times I fail and falter, and for others and the pain I’m still healing from. I’m trying to ask questions – especially about God – because it’s about time that I started asking questions. I’m going to keep trying to let go, because it’s easy for me to hang on to things, but I also know how good it feels to not carry too many things at once.
2019 was a long, difficult, and rewarding year. One of my close friends says she has high hopes 2020, I agree with her.