On New Year’s Eve, I was sitting on a plane hurtling towards New York City in a race with time, after all, I wanted to kiss my husband at midnight, not my cab driver. As I sat in that tin can 10,000 feet from the ground I started to reflect; 2016 was a strange year indeed. It started out with me moving to Albany, NY for a hot minute, moving back to Nashville and ended up with me working in New York City. America voted in the least likely person ever to become President, and that left me with the most despair I have ever felt, had me start to question America and the people who lived here and ultimately left me filling out my CIT 0002 form to become a Canadian citizen.
There was some good that came from 2016; I finally learned to love me. Grey hair, extra pounds and reading glasses, I found myself to be enough, and I am content. I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but it did, and it is a relief, a load off my shoulders. With that load off my shoulders, I found life was a little sweeter; food tastes better when you aren’t worried about how many calories you are consuming. Flowers smell better because you ventured out of your shell and went for a walk. Words from people who inspired me were even more inspiring because I put on my reading glasses to really get a good read. When you love yourself, you are just happier and happy is good.
In 2016 I realized my chickens could be functioning adults without me. That was another hard thing for me to accept in 2016, but it made this stint of working in New York City, far easier. I could give my job and the city my all because I wasn’t in a constant state of panic that something was going to happen to those chickens when I was 1,000 miles away. I am, however, grateful for those phone calls for the random recipe from their childhood or the phone call to come and be the hand to hold when taking the cat to the vet. 2016 has taught me that everyone, no matter the age, wants and needs to feel needed.
In some ways, 2016 is a blur. In August I had a breast cancer scare, and that put things quickly in perspective and made me realize ice cream and the words from my husband “it’s all going to be ok, we’ve got this” really can be a comfort in almost any situation. 2016 brought the actual breast cancer diagnosis to my baby sister and took her and me to Mexico. Breast Cancer and 2016 also taught me that when bad things happen family pulls together and will drop everything, scrape together pennies and be by each other’s side. 2016 also brought the loss of my father-in-law and my biological father was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.
In 2016 I got to hug so many old friends and share a lot of drinks with people who thought the same way about the world. 2016 has taught me that to stay sane in a crazy world; you need to surround yourself with individuals who are on the same page with you, share a really great steak and an even better red wine. You will walk away from the table with your belly full, your head light and your heart warm. You will feel like the whole world isn’t bad and your corner is going to be ok.
Because I’m always trying to figure out how I can make a difference, in 2016 I started a CrowdRise fund to raise enough money to purchase 50 coats that turn into sleeping bags for the homeless (which you can still donate here) for my 50th birthday.
But even with all that 2016 brought those old feelings of what is next, how can I do more, how can I make a difference are back. As I sat on a plane New Year’s Eve, those questions were swirling around my head. How was I going to make a difference, a real difference, in 2017? I, of course, don’t have that answer at 10:00 pm on December 31, 2016, and at this point, I’m not even really sure how to find that answer, but I do know a couple of things. For me there will be less social media, less striving for “likes” and more of being present with the world around me. More watching and observing. More writing. More of making a difference. That is the goal of 2017.