happiness

End of a year, end of a decade

Usually I don’t get too excited about New Year’s Eve. My birthday is in January, and instead I celebrate that as my personal new year. But this year, I’m quite mindful of the fact that we are closing the door on the most difficult decade of my life. I had a friend jokingly say that the 40s were supposed to be the “fuck-it” forties, where you do what you want, no matter what people think. For me it was kind of more a “fuck-you” forties – but lots of growth and change happened.

I stopped drinking alcohol and caffeine at the beginning of the decade as I dedicated myself to dealing with the anxiety disorder that reared its ugly head during my marriage. My (now ex) husband lost his job not once but twice, which had us move from Rhode Island to Virginia, and then him to northern Virginia without us. The rage and abuse went from a mild simmer to a full out explosion of hatred and eventually the kids and I were able to get out and return home to Alberta. Then my dad died, I got divorced, my son became very ill, I broke my shoulder, my mom died, and my daughter also became ill.

Through this I learned about Ayurveda, studied it in a course to become a practitioner and became connected with a healer who guided me through my life changes. I started attending church regularly in Virginia, made a connection to my pastor who was integral in helping save me and my kids, and for the first time really learned about having a relationship with God. I took a health coach course that helped my interest in healthy living return. I started riding again, which has always been my soul connection, it helped me learn how to be brave again, how to keep going, and how to enjoy life. And finally, I was accepted into a masters of counselling psychology course, and now I have some direction for my future.

I’m happy to say goodbye to this decade, but I’m grateful for all I’ve learned about myself and about my family – immediate and extended – in this time too. When I say how blessed I am to have the family I do, they’re not just idle words. They literally helped save our lives, and have held us up ever since.

So when I think of where I want to go next, what I want to take with me, it’s what I’ve learned from these last few years.

Love unconditionally and bravely

Keep your circle small

Love yourself

Love others

Love God

Be strong, but allow others to help

Laugh often

Happy New Year, may your life be blessed.

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happiness

Will and Grace

Today was our official day to do absolutely nothing, and we’ve done it well. I introduced the boy to Will and Grace (the new version) and we have binge watched it all day.

Already my mind is starting to think about the next course that starts next week, and I can see that he’s also thinking about his next bunch of classes. It makes these moments of nothingness even more important.

Tomorrow is the last day of this year, and the last one of what has been an extremely difficult decade, but one filled with immense growth. One thing I have learned is how important it is to be with the ones you love, and to let them know you love them.

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happiness

Tea by the window

I find myself spending a quiet afternoon in Canmore with a cup of Murchie’s Christmas tea, a new book, and a window with a spectacular view. Life has been hectic lately – good but hectic. These moments of quiet are precious, it’s what allows my brain to relax and the anxiety monster to quiet to the background of my mind.

Christmas was good, it was lovely in fact, but there’s a twinge of sadness that accompanies it now. Loss of people no longer with us, loss of people who have chosen to leave, loss of the life that was expected. And yet there’s a lot of hope, hope for a brighter future for all of us, hope for joy, hope for peace. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last few years, it’s that it is as important to feel the yucky feelings as it is to feel the good ones. They all need to be absorbed and processed, keeping hold of the happier ones, making sense and letting go of the sadder ones.

And so I sit here, looking at the mountains, hearing kids run about and laugh, and I think – how fortunate we are. The good, the bad, the ugly, we are still so incredibly fortunate. Our pastor talked about how in moments of chaos you often see the light of God shine the brightest, and I feel this has been true for us. Sometimes it’s hard to see, or easy to doubt, but it’s always been there.

I’ve been so busy with life and especially with school that I’ve let my spiritual connection lapse, and I really am feeling the consequences of that. It is what grounds me, what keeps me focused, and what provides my hope. It’s almost like I needed life to get to a point where I understood how much it was missing from my life so that I could stop and refocus my priorities.

So here I sit

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happiness

It’s genetics

I’ve really been missing my parents lately, I find the season change seems to make grief reappear in ways that are just as raw as at the beginning. Grief is not at all like how I expected it to be, it’s not something you get over, more something you learn to live with.

I was looking through some old photos and came across one from when my family came to visit us in Roanoke the first Christmas we were there. One day we all went out for lunch and then walked the streets of Salem window shopping. I was walking behind the family when I noticed my dad and my son doing the exact same walk.

It’s a photo we’ve talked about often, but one I hadn’t been able to find. My dad meant a lot to my boy, he was his role model and father figure, and it broke my boy’s heart that dad died right after we moved home.

But I see my dad in my son all the time, they’ve got the same build, the same mannerism, and the same insane sense of humour.

Those genetics are strong.

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happiness

Afraid of changing

I’ve always feared change, and if not feared it at least not welcomed it.

And yet my life has been full of change. Big moves, saying goodbye to friends and loved ones as I’d prepare my family for a new life.

This last move, our move home, should have been the easiest one of all- and yet it was not at all. The entire bottom fell out of my world and I had to stop and reassess everything I believed was true about my life.

I’m tired of change, I want things to stay the same, I want to get comfortable. And yet that’s not how one grows. Change is essential for growth, and pain is often what forces that to happen.

But sometimes change is beautiful. Letting go, even when we don’t want to, opens up the possibility for new and often better things and people to enter into our lives.

Today I had a beautiful fall drive through Bragg Creek to get my girl. It was a perfect day for leaf peeping and that’s a great area to do it in.

I’m learning not to resent all the change, some of it I’m embracing, and some of it I’m getting excited about.

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