So, 2014, thank you.

Here's to new beginnings.

Here’s to new beginnings.

We’re always told to look forward, anticipate the future, plan for what’s to come, don’t dwell on the past. While I’m all for that and hate to dwell on things that have come and gone (especially if they’re unfavourable and can’t be changed nor done over), I realize that seeing where you’ve come from is so important. What we’ve been through, who we’ve interacted with, what we’ve done/said/experienced, it all leads us to where we are right now, in this very moment; the present.

So, as Owen takes his last nap (please, just fall asleep and stop playing with your Mike the Knight swords) in 2014 and I sit amongst a mix of crayons, Hot Wheels, cat toys and dust, I’ve decided to look back — and not in some cheesy, flip-book Facebook way, either.

This year has been… there really isn’t one word for it, and so instead I’m going to categorize it in terms of what I’ve learned and how I’ve grown.

I’ve learned that being untruthful to yourself is the worst thing you can do for you and for those around you. Not being the real you, not doing what you want, being who you want to be, it’s just toxic. And those toxins will spread and infect everyone around you. I’ve learned to tell myself the truth, and in turn that truth has spread to those around me.

I’ve learned I have amazing friends, and not so amazing friends. I think this has a great deal to do with properly entering my 30s, too. Instead of wanting lots of friends, I am happy with a select few who don’t judge, who stand near me no matter what, who love me (even my black, undesirable bits). Thank you all (you know who you are). Your kind words, your support, your love, your understanding, it’s meant the world to me. Without you there to hear me in my good and bad times, I’m not sure how I would have gotten through this year, truly. You have been my lifeline when I thought I had none.

And to the not-so-amazing friends, I’m going to guess you know who you are, too — and I’m going to assume you aren’t reading this. However, if you are; I wish you all the best in the future, truly I do. I wish you no ill-will. In fact, I wish you health, happiness, and love. I know I’m not the most angelic, perfect, wonderful person in the world and I’m OK with it, but I know you aren’t which is why we don’t talk anymore.

I’ve learned I’m a helluva lot stronger than I ever thought I was. Physically, mentally and emotionally. This year has been about a constant up and down, the ultimate stomach-churning roller coaster of emotions. I’ve hit rock bottom and soared in the clouds — sometimes on the same day. Countless tears were shed, but I’ve also laughed — A LOT. My strength has shocked me, to the point where I’ve looked in the mirror sometimes and wondered who was looking back (in a very good way). I see Owen grow and progress everyday and know that I had a great deal to do with that, and it makes me swell with pride and strength.

I’ve learned the beauty of travel and what it can do for the soul, for the heart. Travelling back to my childhood stomping grounds, bringing my mother and son the second time around… it did something in me. It wasn’t an exotic location, but it was eye-opening, it was revolutionary. It taught me more about myself, my state of mind, where I wanted to be in life and who I wanted to be as a person.

It also opened Owen’s eyes to the world of travel and other places. He came back from that trip a different child, an aware child, a confident child. No more hiding behind mummy’s legs when someone says hi, he’ll have a conversation with anyone (as long as mum says it’s OK). I am so very grateful I was able to open his eyes to the world at such a young age. And our recent adventure to Jamaica only broadened those horizons and his imagination.

I’ve learned to be present. I spent a great deal of time trying to not be where I was before 2014. I wanted to escape my life, my brain, myself. I wanted out of everything, and so I was never present. I stopped listening, I stopped participating. I lost myself.

Well, no more. 2014 has been the year of me being present, being there, being fully involved. It’s tough work. It’s demanding. It’s emotional. And it’s not always pretty, but it’s incredible. I feel like an entirely new person (and truthfully, I kind of am).

I’ve learned that reinventing yourself is about more than changing your hair colour (which I tired). While I loved being a redhead for the first time in my life, it turned out to be just another mask to hide behind. It wasn’t really me.

I’ve learned I am successful in my career and line of work. I may not think my writing is the best, but someone out there does. Despite my focus shifting a bit from the office to home life (being a mostly single parent will do that to you), I know a great deal of people in my industry respect me as a writer and an editor. That makes me feel proud. I have had so much support in 2014 from colleagues across the country, and I can’t thank you enough. I often feel judged by those closest to me, but this year has proven to me that sometimes I just need to take a deep breath and accept that I’m pretty good at what I do.

I’ve learned being a mother is fucking hard (‘scuse the French). It’s demanding. It’s tiring. It’s long days, short nights; rushed meals, lots of “but why?”, tears, bloody noses, various spilled liquids, lots of trips to the bathroom; but it’s also hugs, kisses, I love yous, colouring and Play-Doh, sunny afternoons at the park, swimming in the ocean, building sandcastles, getting new kittens, early morning cuddles, and being called a princess when you wear a dress (every. single. time).

I’ve learned that taking a break from it all is OK. I’m not a bad mother when I feel a sense of relief and relaxation when Owen is with Nanny and Poppa. That time for me, alone, is just as important as every moment I spend with him. And I’ve learned to be alright with it, and even look forward to it.

I’ve also learned how to be an honest, open partner and friend. By not being present in the past, I was also very closed off. I’ve learned the liberation that comes with being open and honest (even if you know it might hurt the other person, because the truth is better than telling a lie to protect them).

As 2014 comes to a close, I can truthfully say I’m happy it’s over. But not because it was so horrendous I want to turn the page and never look in it again. No, I’m happy it’s come and gone because it’s put me where I am now. This past year I experienced great triumphs, huge disappointments, hurt, love, loss, ego boosts and embarrassments — sometimes all on the same day. I’ve seen people I thought I knew well transform before my very eyes into something completely different and opposite, and I think I’ve done the same. All for the better.

So, 2014, thank you. Thank you for kicking my ass. Thank you for offering up a hug. Thank you for making me a better person. Thank you for all the experiences. Thank you for all the loss. Thank you for all the gain. And thank you most of all for proving I can do anything I put my mind to and that I’m strong and confident, and a damn good mother and writer.

Now, I look forward to getting to know 2015…

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~ by drivingmsmiranda on December 31, 2014.

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