Monday, January 11, 2021

And That's a Wrap


From the Art of Simple ...

Questions for New Year’s Eve

  1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
  2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
  3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
  4. Pick three words to describe this past year.
  5. What were the best books you read this year?
  6. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
  7. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
  8. What was work like this year?

  1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year? 
  • My tests came back clear in June; I am cancer-free.
  • I bought a condo. Hopefully it'll be ready for me by Christmas 2021.
  • No one in my family got Covid.
  • The Ofam remained employed all year.
  1. What was the single most challenging thing that happened? 
  • It was so hard to watch people in pain, and not be able help or hug: my uncle and a close friend's mom both died from cancer this summer. Drew and Danica's cat also died. Heartbreaking to watch people you love, grieving.
  • Not being able to celebrate birthdays or special events with my kids.
  • Anticipated family trip to Europe last May was (obvs) cancelled. Couldn't manage to get us all together for even one night away. 
  1. What was an unexpected joy this past year? 
  • Meeting Rock-star Julie (Maxine's tenant) and learning how to dot mandelas onto rocks. Then spending many summer evenings in Maxine's back garden painting rocks. 
  • Meeting Heather from England on Twitter; her tweets brought joy in January while I was having daily radiation treatments.
  • Walking, in general, was a joy this year. From finding or leaving painted rocks on trails, to the conversations with friends who walked with me - it was all good. 
  1. Pick three words to describe this past year.
  • Creative. With all our usual avenues of connection closed, we all had to be creative in our ways of keeping in touch. I loved hearing/seeing how families managed weekly zoom games nights, or how friends would meet in a large empty parking lot and sit in their vehicles, in a large circle. Walking in different communities from Vancouver to Cultus was a great way to see the creativity of kids making an effort to cheer people up, with sidewalk messages, flower petal pictures, painted rocks etc. The seven o-clock cheer was a brilliant way to bring neighbours together in an effort to display gratefulness, an so on. 
  • Typical. Every year brings it's own version of sadness and happiness. Every year people die and new ones are born. Every year has highs and lows. Every year has its devastating moments and it's brilliant ones. For me, personally, this year was no better or worse than the ones before it. (In terms of deaths, I attended two funerals this summer. In 2018, I attended nine.)
  • Political. Yikes, it was A Perfect Storm, eh? US election year/Trump. UK elections/Boris and brexit. BC elections. And a global pandemic that had All The Countries In the News. I didn't even try to keep up. To maintain my sanity, I only skimmed the news most days, skipping it altogether on others. My opinions, my angst, my feelings don't matter. They don't change a single thing. So mostly I concentrated on things I COULD control and let the rest of the world deal with its leaders. 
  1. What were the best books you read this year?
  • This is where I tell myself, that STARTING NOW, I'm going to keep a book journal, like Sheri does. I know I read a number of books while sitting in the lake this summer. And a couple for book club, but right here, here right now? I can't remember a single one. 2020 was not a great reading year for me, in terms of number of books read. Ask me how many rocks I painted though. :)
  • THIS one, however, I do recall reading/looking at often. Especially at the beginning of the year. I loved it so much (thanks, Val) that I bought 15 copies and handed them to anyone I thought might appreciate the pretty pages. 

  1. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
  • Well, there's the obvious. In January 2020 I was undergoing radiation; whereas in December 2020 I'm cancer-free. In January 2020 I had my last hair cut from my sister. She moved to Sardis in the Spring, so now, Danica looks after my head and on Dec 23 she gave me my final cut n colour of the year. And in January 2020 I was anticipating an extended European vacation with my kids and, instead, now in December 2020, I'm following along on their instagram accounts watching them frolick in the snow with their dad this week. I think the biggest change might be my attitude? God is in control. He allows things to happen. And to not happen. Ultimately He is FOR me and I can struggle against that, or embrace it. I've embraced more often this year than I have in the past. 
  1. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
  • Praying
  • Using online tools to stay in touch with people I care about
  • Evening walks
  • Cabin renovations
  • Spending time with friends and family, when it was allowed
  • Painting then selling rocks to raise money for a struggling stranger
  • Arranging meals for the homeless and hungry; being overwhelmed at the generous support of my family and friends with this project. 
  • Watching the sun set from Jesse's flower garden in Yarrow. 
  • Having picnics with my team from work, during the months we were allowed to meet. 
  1. What was work like this year?
  • I was off on a medical leave for most of January and February; coming back fulltime on March 1. Then Covid hit, mid-March and we were all sent home with new equipment. I considered myself doubly blessed: I didn't lose my job AND I GOT TO WORK FROM HOME - in an environment where I could (somewhat) control the temperature. (Haha. Oh these meds and the accompanying hot flashes.) 
  • I manage projects (which is easy to do from home) and lead people (which is a HUGE challenge if you only see each other on Zoom meetings). I was confident in my ability to get projects done, but was unsure how I'd be able to create the online atmosphere that we enjoyed in our building. I applied pressure on myself to get an "A" in this, which was unnecessary considering all the other pressures that everyone in the entire world was experiencing re: Covid. Eventually I chilled out.
  • Sadly, as per usual, I had team members move on to other opportunities. Anne, my right-hand person moved back to France in October, and in December Tyler, one of my designers, accepted a position with a marketing/ad agency. The biggest hit to our organization, however, was the resignation of our President of 17 years, Terence. (He gave notice at the end of November.) Saying goodbye in meaningful ways, online, was not as satisfying as doing so in person. One more thing I had to 'let go'. 
  • I ended 2020 with an empty tank. Grateful for the time off I had over Christmas and New Year's to recharge. 

Three things I'm thankful for:

1. This is my first weekend back at the lake house in over a month. (I lent it to my French friends, Alex and Jeff, as a place to quarantine for their first two weeks in Canada. They moved out on Dec 24. I spent the week between Christmas and New Year's at Drew and Dani's cat-sitting. Then went back to Surrey to celebrate mom's 81st birthday on January 2.) ANWAYS, I'm here now. And I love the quiet. 

2. The smell of mandarin oranges. 

3. The internet.

Stay safe, take care, God bless,

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