Saturday, January 01, 2011

2010: a radical review.

I'm blogging this from a remote location (Read: not on my MacBook) therefore there will be no pictures accompanying this post (except the ones in links I add like: this!) ... I'm turning this sweet sufferage of insomnia in to a radical, by all meanings of the word, review of the past year of my life... starting at the very beginning:

Twenty-Ten: My Life as A Canadian... and why tundra will never be the new tropic.

January.
New Years 2009! I was partying amongst rockstars (quite literally as that was the theme of the party I was at!) dancing in the middle of a circle of 15 middle-aged women chanting "If you like it than you should've put a ring on it!" in which I realized life doesn't stop at 50, like I had imagined it to... and in retrospect, he must not have liked it. This fantastic night was the beginning of an exciting month with a combination Phoenix/Los Angeles trip with M. and then a weekend of fashion, food, and fun in the socialite mecca- NYC - with my besties! I also began to precept my first nursing student before the month finished.

February.
One word defines February of 2010: Olympics. Being on the same soil as the Games, Canadians were so proud to be hosting the Winter Olympics and our spirited little red mittens were seen everywhere, almost endearingly. My auntie from Vancouver went "Olympic-sh*t crazy" and hosted one helluva 2-week party. As a dual citizen, I got to celebrate double the amount of victories for both Team USA + Team Canada... and my own personal victory was with Mother Nature, as I survived the two coldest months of the year in which temps dropped down to -40 (with the windchill) on occasion.

March.
March was madness. I flew to LA and went to a live taping of American Idol with Carly. Then we headed to Vegas for the weekend where we drank fruity cocktails out of a plastic man while plastic-like men danced around us at Chippendales... My lifelong wish for a big brother finally came true on the 20th when Kara & Creed got married and I learned the definition of webcast... as friends & family from around the world were at the ceremony in {internet} spirit.

April.
April did not just bring May flowers. It brought me the exciting news that I was going to have a niece in September!!! It also brought me on an official "first date" (and in retrospect, perhaps simultaneously a "last date" as well?)  to a John Mayer concert. It brought me to a yoga studio... repeatedly...until my kidneys cried. But my favorite place April brought me was to the beautiful city of Montreal, where I fell in love with its French fusion and cobblestone streets. While in Montreal, it (It being the Metro.) brought me to an amazing Cirque du Soleil performance in a real circus tent, a biodome, and to not one, but two!, NHL playoff games!!! April was awesome.

May.
Keeping up with the pattern of returning to LA every 2 months since I left my happy place, I headed back out to LA in May to soak up the sun and get my roots touched up. Carly + I went on a wine tasting in Santa Barbara and I have no photographic form of any of these memories because I lost my camera at the aforementioned hockey game... and failed to replace it until September.

June & July.
The summer months consisted of a lot of rain mixed with some incredible long summer nights where the sun, Mr. Golden Sun, shed its light down on me 'til the wee hours of the morning for the first time in months. I optimized the days off in between little clusters of shifts to laze by the lakes, read books in fields and run through the countryside. I ate ice cream at sunset. I hosted a baby shower for Kara and went to a fairytale wedding with M. in Minneapolis. I struggled with the emotional challenges that unavoidably come with being a nurse... and a defining moment for me was when I realized for the first time that I was struggling with the emotional challenge that accompanies a hopeless romantic's belief that fairytales exist.

August.
I'm not sure what it was about August, perhaps a very frustrating apartment hunt or the broken promise of not having to sell your soul to the Devil just to survive another winter in Winnipeg or the tragic loss of a patient and the absence of my biggest supporter to help me through-  that inspired me to start living the life of my own dreams, but I mustered up some courage and I did it!... Not sure even where to start, I dug up my Bucket List, drew a swirly schematic of my life and began at the very top of my compilation: Get My Masters Degree. I spent August researching grad programs, studying for the GRE and daydreaming of somewhere warm to relocate to.

September.
Always a special month because my birthday is on the 26th. I received the best birthday present EVER 4 days early ... the birth of my niece, Reese Rylie! It was such a proud moment becoming an Auntie for the first time... an unforgettable, instantaneous love so strong to a tiny, beautiful baby so sweet!  My present to myself (I get one every year!) was the enrollment in to a creativity course that reawakened my creative soul. It might have marked the beginning of a very challenging search for the courage to stop letting life pass me by + start finding my way again... I wasn't (and in so many ways, still not) quite sure how this journey would take course...

October.
...but things got a little bit clearer when I left on the one year anniversary of my hasty relocation to the White North to spend some time down South. I learned that love at first sight does exist. I learned that the best things in life aren't actually things. I learned that sometimes love isn't enough. I learned that Halloween isn't just for little kids... even if you're dressed like one.  I learned that the {surreal} life found in LA is the most fulfilling escape from the mundanes of adulthood... and why sometimes back where you started from is right where you belong.

November.
I did a lot of letting go. I let go of my fairytale dream. I let go of my job. I let go of the comforts of my apartment. I let go of a lot of emotions in the form of endless tears. I was shocked by how much the more I let go, the more beautiful life in Winnipeg became to me as the weight was lifted. I was enjoying going to work and was surprisingly, dreading my last day. I was going on dinner dates with friends + couldn't fathom saying good-bye. I was excited for the snowfall + I loved, loved, loved being with my cousins. For once, I could hardly wait to leave and cried the whole way to the border. The irony was almost patronizing.

December.
In December, I found the cure for a broken heart: to borrow the hearts of the great people in your life and submerse yourself entirely in laughter, reminiscing and lots of, lots of love, the unconditional kind... and slowly, almost unnoticeably, your heart will begin to repair itself. Yummy meals with the Gallos. Scrabble with Grams. Running errands with Kara. Skype dates with Deidre. Reading with Reese. E-mail chains with Kristy. Chicago with Megan. Home with the Hallams. Playdates with Miss Kate + conversations with Rhonda. Work-outs with Jess. Seeing the world through Christopher's eyes. Sleeping in the same bed as my mom. Quietly, my heart was starting to find its beat again.

As 2010 comes to an end, I have spent so many of the last sleepless nights reflecting a lot about all the LIFE tiles I accrued and the meanings behind them... While I have no real understanding of the course of the last year at the moment (I'm sure Hindsight will be able to see it, crystal clear.) I'm certain everything happens for a reason and that's what life is for: finding out why. I'm learning to forgive (mostly myself) in order to move forward. Holding grudges and having regrets always seemed like a waste of energy to me; if a lesson was learned, neither seem worth the expenditure.

The funny thing about life is that it goes on, whether you are choosing to sit back and watch it pass you by or choosing to live each day to the fullest... because it is a choice, you know? After succumbing to sadness this past year, I think I'll opt for the latter in this new year. My mantra for 2011 will be something along the lines of: take life by the sapphire-encrusted horns + seize the opportunity each new day brings.

Oh, 2011. How I welcome you with open arms... sans my heart on any sleeves. I can't wait to embrace you, big-bear-hug style, with restored sanity, superheroine strength and a radiant smile! =)

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