Even though there are still a few hours to the New Year, I decided to look back on 2017 a bit early. Welcome to my 2017 Reflections | It was a Big Year. While my blogging may have fallen off a bit in 2017, my year outside of blogging has been huge. It’e been filled with a lot of ups and downs. The highs have been very high; but the lows have been so low they were enough to crush me.
I started the year living at my Aunt’s house. It was different experience, because the house was full. My Aunt, Cousin and a student where all there. I’m used to either being on my own, or at the most living with one other person. It took a lot of getting used to and certainly forced me out of my solitary comfort zone. The best part was living right downtown and 15 minutes from work. I was able to walk to work everyday and I did it everyday, except when it was raining. I loved the walk which was surprising because I am so freaking lazy.
In late June, after waiting two and a half years, we finally got the the keys to our brand new house. While it was just an occupancy closing, and the final closing wouldn’t happen for a few months, it was still such a relief to finally be in the house. Seriously, I love being in the house so much and having my own space that I don’t really want to go and visit anyone at their houses. It’s not rational, but there it is.
My dad turned 80 years old in June and it was great. We didn’t have a huge party or anything to mark the milestone, but just the fact that he is still around at 80 is amazing. It’s no surprise to anyone who actually knows me that my dad is pretty much the mot important person in my life. He has always offered me unconditional support, regardless of my stupid decisions. He has never had a harsh word for me, and has pretty much taught me just what a man is supposed to be. I’ve always known that my father was older and I was born when he was 44 years old. But it wasn’t until he turned 80 that it really hit me just how much older he is than most others. The reality is that he is nearing the end of his life and I don’t know how I will cope when that happens. For now, I’m going to spend all the time I can with him just absorbing how amazing and awesome he is.
In July came the devastating news that my younger cousin Matthew was found dead in Thailand. This news came out of the blue and really knocked my entire family down lower than we have ever been in a long time. I hadn’t seen my cousin in a few years due to him living overseas, but I was super proud of him being out in the world living his dream. He was a champion Muay Thai fighter, participating in the sport he loved at some of the highest levels in the world. Then the news came, and it knocked me out of left field. I had to ask my mother to repeat herself several times before it finally sunk in. Now I’m no stranger to death; I’ve lost my grandparents, several cousins, brother and partner over the years. But Matty’s death was never something that had ever seemed like a possibility. He was 9 years younger than me, and when I was a teenager, I was often his babysitter when he and his mother were in town. He was the sweetest kid and was probably the favourite amongst myself and all of my cousins. He just lit up a room and continued to do so for his entire life.
Losing Matty was probably the most devastating thing that happened to me in a number of years, probably because I wasn’t expecting it. Unlike the other deaths I’ve experienced, I wasn’t able to prepare myself. It just devastates me to know that Matty was going through things in his life that were so devastating to him that he felt his only option to stop his pain was to take his own life. I took months to pull myself out of my grief and guilt about his death. I don’t think I’ll ever be truly over it, but I think I was finally able to come to terms with it. I still have moments where just thinking about him moves me right to tears.
In November I started a new job; a new job I’ve wanted for a very long time. I was finally able to get back to doing what I love which was such a relief. I had been in my previous job for just under 6 years and while I learned a lot in that job, it was at the point where it was just stagnant. I wasn’t feeling fulfilled or challenged by the job, so a change needed to be made. Lucky for me, my new job allowed me to go back to my roots in student services. I’m back in a job where I’m able to make a difference and where I have some authority to make decisions and changes. I’m so excited to see where this takes me.
2017 Reflections | It was a Big Year first appeared on Beauty, Brains + in December 2017