The end of a year like no other. While this has taken some getting used to, I have lived through far worse years personally. What’s different about this one is that much of what I was going through so was everybody else. Being an introvert at heart I have taken this time in a positive way – it has been a year of healing emotionally and physically. The basics tenents that have shaped our life since March were things I needed: working from home, not going anywhere unnecessary, working with what we have on hand.
This gave me the space and the time to do more of what I needed to get back to things such as dealing with the weight I gained since moving to New Brunswick. I went from high end of normal to fat and since I have lived most of my life at the low end of normal being heavier was something that made me feel awful. So in honour of the fact that this isn’t me, my healing has taken to signing up for Noom. It’s a good program I think, it is sensible help and goes into psychology and nutrition instead of doing weird stuff like eliminating food groups or making you pay for prepackaged meals or memorizing systems. So far it’s working.
Also on the bill was exercise because staying in the house and puttering around the yard isn’t really healthy. I have an under desk cycle machine (think of a form of recombinant bike) that actually works without sliding across the floor in the set up I have it now – this comes in when I have a lot of reading or long meetings where my video and sound is off and I’m just listening. That plus using the elliptical has me doing around 5 km a day again. For my resolution I hope to hit 10 km a couple of times a week – that’s a bit optimistic though because that is a little more time exercising than I really want to spend frequently (would be about 2 hours). Most of all though is having less stress which more than makes up for the talk therapy that stopped when they ended in person visits to offices.
I had the opportunity to be flexible in my schedule and I am happily working my night owl hours for clients on the west coast. This means I am sleeping a regular night sleep instead of 5 to 6 hours or so. Last year when I went to B.C. for three weeks it was clear to me that there I’m functioning on what is normal time for them; I would be asleep by 11 p.m. instead of the middle of the night like I am here. So being true to my internal clock is a good thing that I hope I get to continue doing if at all possible.
What I have realized in 2020 is that what’s important to me is to be where my knowledge and experience is needed and I can be paid appropriately for it; it’s just where and who that’s the question. I’ve been looking, bearing in mind that telework and the west coast schedule is what suits me best. I also stood up for myself this year which was a good thing, even if it didn’t change anything. With an eye on the future though, my focus has been paying everything I can off and it has been easier this year with fewer daily expenses. One 10 year headache is finally paid off; that was a huge relief and a cause for celebration.
At the start of the year I was on assignment travelling to deliver training and updating web pages, things I loved doing in a previous job and it was fun to do it again temporarily. I went to Burlington, Moncton and Yellowknife which was great to see, I have always wanted to go up north for a visit.
However, on March 12th we were told to go home and stay there. It was odd trying to navigate how to get what we needed and wondering about rescheduling appointments. I’m going to stay away from politics here but I have to say it was so insane in the US that I actually did learn a bit about the US political system in order to try understand what was happening.
Early on in the pandemic I followed the lead of many people and posted a creative thing once a day, whether it be writing or music or art for about two months until I figured I should actually put more time into creating new works. So that too was my focus: submitting my writing to various publications. I made the final version of the paperback edition of I Ching Jukebox and retired the hardcover version. Now if someone is adventurous enough to want to read it, it’s less expensive. I did Nanowrimo again and while I didn’t do 50k words I did get very close to the completion of a novel I’ve been working on for five years. I do want to finish that this year, edit it and have it published, likely through Tablo with the marketing option since a big problem with my work has been that I am useless at self-promotion where it counts, like my creative works.
There were losses this year though, more of people I used to be close to or were people I had met but were dear to people I know. The first death was really unexpected: the best friend and housemate of my childrens’ grandmother and who lived with my son and his father; I did keep in touch with her and the suddenness of her passing was a bit shocking. Later in the year two people I knew well years ago passed, one of covid19. Then a couple of others who were close to people I know. My heart aches for people who have lost a close family member; you don’t know how that feels until it happens to you and each time hearing that I hurt for the people left behind.
The last five years or so have been pretty rough for me in a few ways so what I have been trying to do is to keep my focus on the now and the future instead of looking back; it’s better just to move on. A lot of what has been fueling depression has been the mourning of what I’ve lost. The realization that given there is no going back to change things, it’s better to let it go is huge. A weight off my shoulders really. I promise to stop boring people with stuff that has hurt me and instead do what I used to do which is to look for the next step in my evolution.
Understanding that maybe, no matter how hard you try you’ll never fit in is something that has been an echo in my life once in a while and it is a bit of what’s been happening since we moved to New Brunswick, lovely as it is here. I’m now anxious to find what it will take to be in a situation that is kinder. Life’s too short to be around those that aren’t. I guess one thing that’s struck me the last 7 years is that I just don’t feel like I belong here and I don’t know how to fix that. I’m sorry also that I’ve brought my partner into a place where there’s not much but us two. It’s been a little hard going from a town where we had things to do outside of work and our hobbies and meaning something to people to feeling unwanted. So hopefully 2021 is a year we can find some resolution to that. I’m not sure how, but I’m thinking about it.
So, to end out this year I do believe this has been a growth experience for all of us, whether we wanted it or not, and I hope that we’ve learned to see what is valuable and what isn’t. I always end my new year’s comments by saying to please show some compassion so at the risk of sounding like a broken record I’m going to say it again: please show compassion, we need it more than ever. Understand too that you can have different opinions or beliefs and still care about one another. This year that empathy has meant life and death. So let’s be kind to one another shall we, even if we need to agree to disagree?
À la prochaine,