One Last Hurrah

I am always surprised to look at the calendar (or, lets be honest here, the right-hand corner of my computer screen and my cell phone) and realize it’s December 31st. It always feels like I should be more prepared for the end of the year, like there should be an announcement across the city three days before to remind everyone to prepare to write “2011” in their notebooks shortly.

The end of December practically begs for year wrap-ups, conclusions about what the previous 364 days has taught us, and observations-turned-promises of how we can improve in the next calendar year. While I often reflect on how things made me feel and, thus, changed me, I’m not really one to see the end of December/beginning of January as the opportune moment to do so. I feel like our culture views New Years as the time to make changes, end bad habits and take up new challenges. I think we should be doing this all the time; change should not be reserved for one day of the year.

All of that said, I am going to be remarkably ironic and produce a New Years Eve blog. I can't resist getting one last post in before 2011 hits. So behold!: a kind of summary of how my life has changed over the past 12 months, what I’ve learned, and how I want to improve in the future.

The Past: What Happened in 2010
Lots of really big, life-changing things happened this year. With a whopping 30 extra credit-hours, I finished my BA (Hons) in April, and convoked in May. I also finished my job at the Writing Centre, where I worked for 2.5 years - my longest continuous period of employment with the same job. I was accepted to the UBC to begin my MA in Children’s Literature, unexpectedly was granted a SSHRC scholarship, and packed up my life to move 7000km across this massive country to start something new. But not before my twin sister got hitched in a beautiful summer ceremony where I watched from the sidelines as the Maid of Honour. I also experienced, for the first time, what heartbreak feels like, and lost some good friends through a combination of misunderstandings, miscommunication, and a realization that people do not always care about you as much as you care about them. My grandfather passed away in February, and my grandmother underwent surgery and radiation for cancer. It was a hefty year.

The Present: What I’ve Learned
This is a bigg’un, because I feel like I’ve learned an abundance of life-lessons this year, as cheesy and predictable as it may sound. I’ve learned that there is no right or wrong way to deal with loss. Every relationship is different because it exists between two unique individuals. The end of that bond, whether it is between friends, lovers, co-workers, students and teachers - whoever - will affect each party differently. No outsider can say how long one should grieve, what the appropriate level of mourning is, how long it should take to “get over it” because nobody knows. Every ending is something new and previously unexperienced, therefore it is impossible to know what to expect. We have to just let ourselves live through our emotions, no matter if anyone else understands them.

I’ve also learned the importance of family. Maybe it’s because I’ve realized the fragility of friendships or because I’ve moved so far away, but I feel now more than ever that I truly appreciate my family - parents, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparent. Despite their idiosyncrasies and their questionable taste in music, I have come to really like my family. My cousins make me laugh, my aunts and uncles support and love me, and my parents are, aside from being good parents, really good people. I am blessed to have such an odd and wonderful blood-line.

The Future: What I’d Like to Change
There’s always so much I’d like to change about myself, but I feel like this year there’s more than usual. If I reflect on how I felt on December 31st 2009 and compare it to how I feel today, there’s a drastic difference. 365 days ago, I felt strong, confident, and invincible (this might have been because I had a fantastic pair of boots that made me feel like a superhero). This year, I feel ... directionless, I suppose. I don’t really feel like I belong anywhere, or that there’s any sort of plan for my future. In 2011, I want to tackle this sense of lostness head-on and get involved in my community in BC. I need to find new interests, volunteer work, and a church family.

Here’s to 2010, and all of your wisdom. And here’s to 2011, and all of the new experiences you will bring.
And here’s to you, friends and family, and your own 2010 revelations and 2011 hopes and dreams.

Happy New Year!
Jillz

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