Monday, December 28, 2009

Winter Wonderland

Oh the weather outside is frightful… which makes this a perfect day to write a blog entry.

Today is officially Day 10 of my 16 days off this holiday season and it’s finally decided to snow. And boy is it snowing! This is the closest thing to a blizzard we’ve seen this season so far and I am so very glad we don’t have to go anywhere today. Most people have heard me proclaim my hatred for winter, but to be honest, I actually find the snow very pretty – if I can watch it from inside my warm home. What I hate is risking my life outside in that same snow. You see, slippery surfaces and I have never gotten along. I have no real sense of balance and the slightest slip will cause me to fly head over heels and usually injure myself in some way. For some reason, my car (any car I’m driving for that matter) seems to adopt this problem in the snow as well, so really, I’m not safe anywhere in the winter except the cozy confines of my own house. When I think back to all the injuries I’ve had in my lifetime, most have been winter related – a broken wrist on a toboggan hill (going UP the hill at that!), lifelong TMJ from a slip on a patch of black ice, countless sprained ankles and wrists thanks to mandatory ice skating trips in elementary school…is there any reason why I prefer to hibernate through the winter rather than risk life and limb? But today, on this day of doing nothing, I find myself drawn to the window to watch the snow cover the landscape, Christmas lights glowing through the mounds of white stuff piling up on them…THIS is the type of winter day I love. Bring it on…but just for 6 more days. Then it has to stop, because I have to get back to work!

Christmas came up out of nowhere it seems this year, and I’m still having trouble believing it’s over already. We did the dinner, the gifts, the visits…but something still feels like its missing. I watch my friends with children (ok, I creep them on Facebook) and I see how much more special Christmas seems to be to them. Are children the missing ingredient? If we had a little one waiting for Santa Claus, would we feel the spirit of the holidays more? I’m sure we would. And who knows what our future will hold. But when I think back to this past week…a week of relaxing with my husband, going on a Christmas lights tour through the city, making a Christmas feast together, opening our ‘zero dollar’ Christmas gifts (thanks for the idea 30 Rock), and lounging in front of the T.V. in our new Christmas pajamas, I can’t think of anything I would have wanted to do differently. This is Christmas OUR style, and while we may not have stood in line to meet Santa, or left cookies and milk out on Christmas Eve, we still felt the magic of the season just by being together and frankly, that’s the definition of a Merry Christmas to me. So maybe nothing really was missing...

Now we’re on to New Year’s…a time to reflect on the past and look forward to the year ahead. I’ve never been one for making resolutions, mostly because I’m not great at keeping them, but I do have a good idea of what I’d like the year ahead to look like, and will work towards that throughout the year. New Year’s Eve for us is low-key. Every year we talk about getting dressed up and going out to a New Year’s party somewhere and dancing the night away, and then as the time gets closer, we remember that our favourite New Year’s Eve involves good food (mmm fondue), comfy clothes, a funny or romantic movie in front of the fireplace and the big countdown with Dick Clark. We’ve invited friends over in the past, and frankly, counted down the moments until we were alone again and could get comfy. Does this make us anti-social? It very well may, but it also makes us happy. And I think Dick Clark would miss us if we weren’t there to count down with him.

My wish for you - family, friends and acquaintances alike – is that all of your hopes and dreams come true this year. There is nothing more important than health, happiness and true joy. May you all experience that in your own special ways over the next 12 months, and, in turn, spread that joy to others who may need some help finding their own. Happy New Year everyone!

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.
~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

One resolution I have made, and try always to keep is this: To rise above the little things.
~John Burroughs

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.
~Bill Vaughan

What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the New Year.
~Vern McLellan

We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential.
~Ellen Goodman

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A long overdue return

It’s been a long while since I’ve posted a new blog, and I have to admit as I sit here, I’m having trouble deciding where to start. I could talk about all the reasons why I haven’t been writing – 16 hour work days, 2 DreamLifts that took me to Florida and California, stress, fatigue, trying to keep my marriage alive in the midst of all of the above – but really, those who are close to me know all of this, and those who aren’t close to me likely don’t care. I could talk about all the things that have happened in the world since my last post in July, but to be honest, the same things that kept me from blogging also kept me from being on top of many of the current events happening around me.

This past couple of months, and really this past year in general, has made me think about life and how I live it in new terms. I have always been a driven person, and have always demanded the best out of myself, but this year I pushed that to the limit. I enjoyed great professional success and reward this year and I can honestly say I have never been happier in my career, and am so excited for what is still to come. I am challenged again…something I haven’t felt in a while. I am able to be creative, which as past blogs will show is so very important to me. And I feel like I’m working to my potential finally, rather than always thinking I was capable of more than I was doing. I am excited to kick off the New Year and the new adventures that it will bring at work, and I can’t say that has always been the case in previous years.

I also, however, found myself faced with the realization that in my quest for perfection in my work life, I lost the work-life balance that is more important than anything. 16 hour work days and a mind spinning at 100 miles per hour at all times means that something has to give, and for me, the things that gave were the things that are most important to me…time with my husband, connecting with friends and family, taking time to relax and spend time doing things for myself. I lost 47 pounds without ever once thinking about it, or trying to make it happen…it’s amazing what stress can do to you. It took a while for me to see what was happening, and it almost cost me everything that I hold dear, but I vow that moving forward, that balance will be regained. I need it for my happiness, for my health, and for my sanity. The New Year will include lots of hard work, I’m sure, as I learn a new career, acquire new skills and put some others into practice for the first time in a while (I’m sure my championship speech writing skills from Grade 8 will come back to me, right? J). But this year will also include some fun as well. Drum lessons (what am I thinking??), voice lessons (I feel bad for whoever takes me on as a student) and finishing the book I started 6 months ago, that has been collecting dust on my flash drive over these past few crazy months (thank you honey for convincing me to save it to a flash drive just before a Trojan virus wiped my entire laptop).

So as this amazing, insane, emotional, scary, exhilarating and exhausting year comes to an end, I choose to look forward rather than back. Look forward to a new year of learning, laughing, loving…to new experiences and new friends, reconnecting with old friends, relearning old talents and gaining new ones. There is so much ‘out there’ to do and see and explore…so much more that I can be…so much more that I want to do. The trick will be harnessing my ambitions enough that I don’t burn out trying to be and do everything all at once. Because the one thing I have never held the ambition to be is Wonderwoman. I mean sure, the outfit is cute, and really, how often do you get to wear a gold crown on your head unless you’re the queen, but I don’t need that. A simple tiara will do J Happy holidays friends.