Reflections at the Edge of 33
This has been a good year. It started out with dinner and drinks with some of my closest friends in Vancouver and will end with a different set of friends I've made here in London. This time last year London was a plan in my future; something I was saving for and preparing for and talking about with excitement. Now I'm nearing the end of this trip, making new plans to come home. My next adventure? Time with Mom. A trip to visit Lori. Finding a new place in Vancouver; one with hardwood floors and lots of sunlight and maybe even a view. And, maybe in the not so distant future, the purchase of my first home! Wow, that seems so grown up and big. I feel like I'm moving into a new phase in my life, one of stability and possiblity.
Here are some of the highlights from 32:
- I've been to Toronto/Hamilton (twice!), Fort McMurray (twice!), Seattle, San Francisco (twice!), London, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, Rome (twice!), Calabria and Sicily.
-I've been to Keighley. I've taken my Grandfather home. I've connected to my past.
-I saved many thousands of dollars, a first for me. I spent many thousands of dollars much faster than I'd prepared to.
-I restored my credit. This is huge for me, becuase it's plagued me for so many years.
-I feel like I've become closer to my family. That's amazing to me, because we're already incredibly close. But ironically, I feel that being so far away has brought us closer together. We talk nearly every day! I've got to spend lots of time with them, too. Two visits to Lori, one all-family visit in Hamilton.
-I was bored and frustrated with my life in Vancouver. I'd stagnated in my work, feeling like I needed a change. I was fortunate enough to be given a year's leave of absence in order to take this trip, uncertain of what would come of it. But the great thing is that being here, working at a job where I have no input, no voice, I've realized how lucky I am to have the job I do in Vancouver, and that in August it will be mine again. I've realized how integral I was to that team, how much of a contribution I've made and how much respect I was given. Not only that, but the commute! Oy vey, the commute. Public transit is killing me! I remenber living in Toronto and taking the subway to work every morning and how much that affected my day. The rudeness, the standing, packed in like a sardine, setting the tone for my day. It's the same here. No, it's worse. And it's extortionately expensive! In Vancouver, however, I walked to work. An easy 11 minutes (and that's if the lights aren't in sync). Not only was I able to save an hour of my day for myself, but I saved money, and frustration. And, in the distance mountaintops peeked out from behind the buildings, and the beach was two blocks from my home. How great is that? I can afford to live in Vancouver, downtown, in an apartment of my own for less than I pay to share a house with 3 others (4 if you count one flatmates' boyfriend who is *always* here), miles from the centre of town, miles from my work. So this trip has shown me what I had - what I have, rather. I'm going home to Canada, armed with a fresh perspective and renewed energy and excitement for my life there. I feel like I've been able to take a holiday from the realities of my life - put it all on hold - then I go back, press "play" and resume life, only with more excitement than I had at "pause".
So what's next? I still have two months left here, and I'm going to fill it up with as many adventures as I can. I've got a trip to Dublin planned in two weeks, and a trip to Oslo, Norway at Easter, just before I leave. Then I get to spend lots of time with Mom, then off to Vancouver to resume life as usual - the new usual! I get to feel the excitement of moving into a new place, I get to see my kitties again (Hi Dolce! Hi Gabby!) I get to reconnect with my many friends that I miss so much. I hand't realized how many dear friends I'd left behind, how many close relationships I'd developed in my 7 years in Vancouver. I'll get to have drinks with Sheena, get to see Melissa & Dave's new baby who will be nearly 1 by the time I get home. I'll get to watch mounds of reality TV with Ken and get together with Jenn and Chris and do singalongs. I may even get involved in a new show, or join a choir. I'll definitely keep travelling - in fact, when I go home for Christmas this year, I'm doing a side-trip to NYC with Marni to ring in the New Year, and have been invited to do a roadtrip up the west coast with Marni and her mom to LA and Palm Springs before I start back to work. I'd love to do a holiday with my family at some point, to a resort or a sunny destination.
32 has been good. I feel like the older I get, the more possibilities open to me. I'm a little wiser, a little more worldly, maybe a bit more cynical but a lot more happy with my life, a lot more appreciative of the things I have. There's a song by Indigo Girls called "Watershed" that I love with a line that says "every five years or so I look back on my life and I have a good laugh". I do that; reflect back to where I've been, where I am and what my future can hold. I do laugh at myself - some of my decisions, what I thought I knew, what I know I don't know now. I'll do it again in another couple of years, laughing at what I think I know now and how much more I have to learn. But for now, I'm content with who I am and what I have in front of me.
Here's to thirty-three!