Looking in the rearview mirror

Just for a moment, oh faithful reader, I’d like to look in the rearview mirror of life and reflect on what 2010 meant for this road warrior — because it was quite a traffic jam of madness at times.

From the very beginning of 2010 I knew things were doomed. The end of January marked the beginning of the end with the passing of my Aunt, my father’s youngest sister, who lost her 7-year battle with Leukemia. For years we’d watched her struggle, watched her fight, watched her weakening, getting stronger, then losing her will to live again. It was a constant struggle, a constant rollercoaster of emotions and physical pain and healing. In the end, her siblings were her strongest asset, and they supported and loved her to the very end.

I’m an only child, and to watch the strength that was a sibling bond was truly incredible and something I will never forget.

Dealing with a family death is hard enough, but it became even harder when my boss chose to ignore the fact that I was suffering and instead decided it was better to punish me (the day after my aunt died in Ottawa and I’d spent the day before crying, driving, and crying some more and yet still made the effort to come to work, he chastized me for coming in late) and not focusing on the tasks at hand. That first day back at work after she passed, my outlook on work and life in general changed a great deal.

In some way, I should be thankful for his heartless ways. That day I transformed; I shifted into a lower gear to gather more revs, prep for a major move forward, get ready for a passing manœuvre.

It may have taken a little over a month, but by March I made that move. I left that toxic, emotionally draining environment and struck out on my own. But, nothing is ever as easy as you think it’ll be.

With a mortgage to pay and bills coming in, living on one solid income (God bless my full-time working husband) and random spurts of freelance work just wasn’t good enough. I spent the first month of my “new move” wallowing in self-pity and wondering if I’d ever be able to make it.

My previous employer had truly sucked the confidence right out of me. It made me mad to know he’d had such an influence on me and my work. And that anger fueled me forward into an eventually great 6-month freelance career.

Over those 6 months I learned a lot about myself, namely:

  • Working at home is not easy. Laundry and dishes suddenly become so much more important than deadlines and assignments.
  • I’m obsessed with being Freshly Pressed.
  • Working at home with cats is like working at home with children: Not a smart idea.
  • Instead of panicking and crying in the kitchen in your underwear when you pour hot tea on your laptop, instead put it in a casserole dish of uncooked rice and everything will be OK.
  • I truly love BMWs.
  • I need to buy a MINI asap.
  • ZUMBA is a lot harder than it looks — trust me.
  • I have a real problem with people who don’t use their turn signals.
  • I’m an OK video host and hopefully I’ll get better and better with time (and support from you lot!).
  • I was meant to be a writer.
  • That last one truly was a revelation for me. And that might seem strange to you, oh faithful reader, but it’s often a case of not seeing the forest for the trees. I’ve always known I could write, but I didn’t know I could truly write for a living — and to pick up my freelance career so quickly only boosted that affirmation.

    And yet, it wasn’t good enough. I craved job security and a more regular income. So, I took on yet another challenge and another change taking on a full-time position as an in-house communications writer for a large engineering firm here in Montreal. Stepping way out of my comfort zone and into a corporate world has been rough — not to mention my Sophie’s choice to take the position (well, I lie, it wasn’t as hardcore, but still pretty difficult): I gave up my weekly article in the Montreal Gazette (my major goal as a writer in this city) to take the position.

    It was one of the hardest decisions I had to make, and I think it helped that I had to make the final decision on the day I arrived back from a press trip to London, totally sleep deprived and a little hungover. I made the call to the HR department the moment I landed, and to be honest, I don’t really remember what I said; but I guess I subconciously made the choice I wanted and started my new 9-to-5 the following Monday.

    2010 was all about dealing with loss and discovering new things, both internally and externally. It was a year full of letting go and learning new things. It truly was unlike any other year I’ve ever experienced. I didn’t know 365 days could be so emotionally packed from beginning to end — it was even more emotional than my wedding year in 2009!

    I think it was quite fitting that in the final hours of 2010 I spent them hugging a toilet in my basement washroom ridding myself of everything — truly flushing 2010 down the drain (graphic, but I speak the truth, oh faithful reader). I swear, the combination of a fondu dinner, rum, vodka, wine and beer had nothing to do with it — it was purely a symbolic gesture.

    Yet, through it all I had the constant support and love of my family and friends. Without them, I would be nothing — and without you, my readers, I would be nothing as a writer.

    2011 is already shaping up to be a fantastic year with a MINI Cooper Clubman lined up for next week and a BMW X5 booked closely after that and the Montreal Auto Show fast approaching as well. I’m full of nothing but optimism for 2011 — because if I can survive a year like 2010, then I’m prepared to handle anything life throws my way: bring it.

    Drive on,
    – M.

    ~ by drivingmsmiranda on January 3, 2011.

    One Response to “Looking in the rearview mirror”

    1. Crikey! You have had a full on year – be grateful you got through it without a nervous breakdown!

      Hugging a toilet is also known as: ‘speaking to ruth down the big, white telephone…’

      I have never been freshly pressed. Sigh.

      The Mini is a great car. The old mini was a great car as well and I am glad that BMW just tried to capture that ‘rollerskate’ driving sensation rather than a pastiche or a glib replication. My best friend has The Clubman and loves it.

      Happy new year!

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