Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016: Let's Break It Down!

Hello Everyone and Welcome to 2017! I right?

Yes, sir before the clock struck 12 last night, a lot of people said they would be very pleased to see the back end of 2016. Once midnight hit they let out a soul wrenching “Happy New Year”, or texted a meaningful “Happy New Year”, or screamed nonsense to the night gods and swore they will never drink again and please for the love of all that’s holy, do not move me from this snow bank. You know, normal new years stuff.

 And then, after the cheering faded away, and the attempted singing of Old Lang Syne lost its luster, they let out deep sigh of relief that 2016 was over and now hope with every fiber of their being that 2017 will be grand.

 2016...not the best year, but was it as horrible as some people are saying? All years have tragedy, heartache, events that make us shake our heads. Every year we all go through a myriad of ups and downs with both the world and in our own lives. Every year we look at each other and ask, “Gah! When will this year end?” or say, “Fast the way the old year passes, fa la la la la”, and yet, when we think about last January, it’s hard to remember what we did, or what happened in the world. A year is a long time. Good things will happen. Bad things will happen. Events you planned, will come to fruition. Happenstances that you never thought would happen, will happen. People you thought were funky keen on January 1st could quite possibly be your enemy come December 31st. (It’s good to have goals right out the gate.)

Well, whatever the reasons, I’m not going to dwell on the negative. A lot of sadness occurred, and events that I refuse to talk about because they send me into a white-hot rage took place. In my personal work bubble, I’m just going to say that I, and most of my co-workers, have found this year to be somewhat challenging. We all hope that work wise, 2017 will not be a repeat of 2016.

So, in celebration of hope, I’m going to go through my year and list positive happenings from every month. This is for me, mainly, but I join you to stick around and share in my reflection of 2016, the year many people were itching to say goodbye to.

January: I’ve got my calendar beside me, the big one we keep in the kitchen with all our what’s happenings on it…And…wow, the memories are foggy. OH, a lovely man who has now directed me 4 times asked me to be in 2 plays this year. That was very flattering and I was happy to accept.

February: Oh boy…ok, not going to lie…this was a dark month. I’m struggling here. Right, on February 7th I went crazy and bought tickets for myself, my daughter Sorcha and her friend Cas for a Supernatural (as in the TV show) Convention. It was happening in October in Toronto. It was something to look forward to.

March: I had a couple days off to myself, but they weren’t supposed to be. They were supposed to be spent with my daughter, during March break, but March break turned out to be the week after. This may seem mean to be happy to have time alone, but sometimes you just have to binge watch something silly to feel that all is right with the world.

April:  On April 15th, I went to a play that had many people in it that I like and have worked with before, but this one was extra special because my husband was in it. Sean and I met in college in a drama program and we worked together in and out of school a lot, but the last time Sean had been on stage was almost 20 years before. I was so proud of him and I’m excited because this we get to be in a play together.

May: Through the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick, I received an honourary mention for a short story I’d written called, “Falling Into”. I’m very proud of this story, but honestly, I wrote it to get rid of some demons and wasn't sure if anyone else would connect with the tale of a young lady who wakes up one morning to find that her spine, her metaphorical spine, has left her to go do all the things she doesn’t have the courage to do.

June: At work, I took the plunge and joined a particularly challenging team. It almost broke me, and I only lasted 8 weeks, but I learned a lot and don’t regret it. It may be strange to find something that brought a HUGE amount of bone crushing stress to my life to be somewhat positive, but it was. I won’t do it again. Don’t make me go back, but it was.

July: Very good friends of ours from Toronto came to visit for a weekend. They are some of our favorite people and always bring happiness and good vibes into our lives. It was lovely. Also, Sorcha and I took an overnight trip to Moncton to spend time with great people. These friends are always a breath of fresh air and it’s always nice to spend time with them.

August: This is the month my year got better and it was in large part to going on a road trip around the east coast with one of my oldest and dearest friends. It was exactly what I needed to break from a lot of the stress chains that were preventing me from seeing how much good I have in my life. I can’t thank Kim enough for that trip. It was beautiful.

September: Sean and I had a getaway to St. Andrews, New Brunswick. We went whale watching, ate at some great restaurants, stayed at a beautiful spot, saw a friend I hadn’t seen in a few years and bought 2 of her beautiful paintings. If you’ve never been to St. Andrews drop what you’re doing and go now. You won’t regret it.

October: This month is usually our best month of the year and once again, it did not disappoint. I could go on and on about our trip to Toronto for the Supernatural Convention, but in brief I'll say it was an incredible experience. Not only was the convention itself a great time, but we had perfect weather, saw lots of good friends, and went to the Royal Ontario Museum. It was an exhausting, but highly memorable and exciting 5 days.

November: This was the month of plays. Both my daughter and I were involved in productions and they went up only a week apart. The play she was in, “The Lion King”, was an absolute joy. All the cast and crew worked so hard to put on this much beloved musical.  It was beautiful and I was, and am, so proud of all of them.

The play I was in, “Waiting for the Parade” was on of the best plays I’ve been in. It was perfectly written, with well developed characters and it was a challenge I needed in my creative life. I’ve been playing around on the piano since I could sit at one. I took lessons off and on in my teens, but had only played publicly once. (I was 14, it was a recital, I'm sorry Anne Murray for butchering one of your tunes.) In the play, my character played the piano and sang and ordered people around all at the same time. I was nervous, and thought I'd maybe taken too much on,  but after I enlisted the help of the very talented and inspirational Margaret Craig, my confidence grew and I did it; I played the piano on stage, in front of people, and survived. Not only that, I screwed up, big time one night, and survived. And while I did a bit of...ok a lot of...ego beating back stage, once I’d settled down, I felt prouder of myself than I’ve possibly ever felt. I'd messed up in front of a live audience, I'd had to quickly find a way out of it, not melt down and stay in character. It was an actor’s nightmare and I lived it in front of 200 people and pulled through. What's that universe? Why yes, I'll take that high five. Thank-you.

And finally,

December: A look at our calendar shows that the Rule’s were a social bunch! It was month of dinners, phone calls to loved ones, parties and long chats with great friends. Last night, New Year’s Eve was full of laughter and absolute silliness, a perfect ending to any year!

Other events, unfortunately trying ones, peppered our year and gave it a hue of stress that made for some tough times. My Mum suffered an injury so severe last February that we weren’t sure if she’d ever be able to walk properly again, but she healed and overcame a lot of odds. She’s a pillar of strength and I admire her beyond words. My job is beyond crazy, but I made it. I’m still standing and come January 3, 2017 I’ll be back at my desk, working away, hoping things will get better. My daughter has had her ups and downs too and Sean, but we’re a close family and we stick together. We have each others backs. We’re each others rocks.

Strong family, wonderful friends, good fortune and a happy home. We had them at the beginning of 2016 and we still have them now.

So while for some 2016 was a year to forget, it gave us a lot to remember and to cherish. I right? It was a pretty good year.