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Saturday
Dec312016

Finding balance in the year that was and into the future

It’s easy to write off 2016 as a crummy year. Sure, lots of unsettling things happened in the world-at-large that challenged our values. Almost in response, many people’s personal circumstances also took a beating this year — including my own. But here I am at the end of 2016, still breathing like you, reflecting on the delights this year also contained. Yes, it was messy, amusing, frustrating, exciting, worrisome, joyful, painful, beautiful, grievous, and creative. Some highlights:

1. A favourite Aunt’s funeral happened the same day as a dear friend’s wedding. I wrote and read a poem at the marriage ceremony. I was such a ball of grief and joy that day I didn’t know if I’d be able to do it. Somehow I did.

2. A bothersome injury reminded me to practice self-care. And reminded me I don’t heal as quickly anymore but I do still will heal with time and rest. 

3. I lost and gained teaching opportunities. Seeing my students grow as writers and thinkers is one of my truest pleasures. I taught an essay class that brought 12 new personal stories into the world and helped those writers work out some things in their own lives. I also welcomed a former student as a guest lecturer in my College class and she reminded me what amazing potential lies within people. Thank you, Carole.

4. I wrote a few journalistic articles, an annual report, and a creative nonfiction story in 2016, but overall had less published than in previous years. THAT’S OK. I finished a full, feature length adult novel. It now sits with a publisher. Who knows when or if it will be picked up but heck, I wrote a book, guys!

5. My family needed and loved me. My dad turned 90 this year. He and my mom are both still alive and living independently. My willfull and wonderful kids are turning out decently. I’m starting to exhale.

6. I worked hard and played pretty hard, too. I got outside a lot. I hiked in Yellowstone Park, swam in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the Amalfi Coast in Italy, ran 10 km along the ocean floor in the Bay of Fundy’s Not Since Moses Race, skied in the Laurentian Mountains, ice skated, cycled and took lots of walks along Nova Scotia's beaches and through her forests. My appreciation for our natural world remains strong.

7. I lost a friendship, made new ones, and strengthened existing ones. I volunteered with the Avalon Sexual Assualt Centre, was a reader in the CBC creative nonfiction contest, and stayed active in my book club, writing group and ukelele circle. My communities and the arts continue to enrich and explain life to me.

All in all, it was another year in the life. I’ve emerged older and wiser. My hope for 2017? To continue to keep my balance. Not to let the challenges — because let’s face it, there will be more — drag me off the beam. To walk with a straight posture, clear eyes, an open heart and a sharp mind. Please be well and be happy in 2017. 

 

 

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