2008 was an eventful year to say the least. This isn’t something I say every year, like “there’s way more snow this year than last year”, I can honestly say that 2008 was a veritable avalanche of change.
Last year, I was drowning in guilt for what I’d done. I felt like I had ruined everyone’s lives. What I did was wrong, and there are better ways of fixing your life than cheating and lying. But sometimes when you’re too scared to change your life, and something so sad is growing and consuming you, but you can’t put a name on it... you fuck shit up. Like a game of musical chairs, we all switched places, and yes it is still uncomfortable as new chairs tend to be, but I think we all ended up in places that make us happier as individuals. Sometimes I still feel sad for the past that had been so beautiful and good on many levels... but as each day passes, I wake up feeling more whole. More me.
At Christmas dinner, I asked my cousin Kevin if he was still working at the same place, and he said, “Unlike you, I don’t change jobs every year.” It’s only been 2.5 years since I finished school and I’ve switched 3 jobs, and for my family who only see me once a year at Christmas, my job hopping probably seems excessive and unnecessary.
But my career is important to me, not only because of the money it brings, but this is how I spend 90% of my time. I don’t want to waste time staying at a company where I’m unhappy because I need the money; that isn’t worth it to me.
For me, satisfaction comes from having contributed something positive to the team as a whole on exciting work. Whether if it’s to spend extra time to do research to write a better strategy, or to stay til midnight to take a presentation to the printers, or to cheer up the office with some crazy story about pole dancing and dating, it’s worthwhile because everyone in the agency benefits.
For the first time in my short career, I can see myself growing indefinitely with my tiny team of 8 – soon to be 12. Soon to be... who knows? The foundation of Twist Image was laid in the main office in Montreal, and while the agency is still kind of young compared to some of the others, what has completely won me over is that the executive management actually understand the where the digital world is heading and leads the industry by action, not jazz-hands.
My mother is getting married. It’s been almost 16 years since my parent’s divorce, and my mother hasn’t remarried since. Last summer, she met her ballroom dancing partner and now they’re planning on getting married in Q3 or Q4 of 2009.
It was completely unexpected, and yet when she called to tell me one beautiful, sunny, gorgeous day while I was bike riding in Stanley Park, Vancouver, I was genuinely happy and excited for her.
It’s been just her and I for a long time. And I think I’ve done everything a daughter can to separate myself from that relationship, seeking independence from an early age. Over the years, we worked out our differences, creating an understanding that I’m never going to turn out the way she imagined, that I can’t be an emotional substitute for my father, that I need to let go of all the bitterness of our past and trust her with the truth, etc.
They’re letting me handle the planning of it, but it’s not going to be elaborate or expensive. Just something fun and intimate... just like my mom. I look forward to standing beside her as she takes her vows, and wishing her all the happiness that she has made possible for me in my life.
All my friendships moved to new levels this year. Those without solid foundations have tapered off. The others, blossomed with new warmth and genuine affection. From reuniting with old friends from elementary / high school to giving more of myself to the friends who need an open heart, a listening ear, and the perspective that only a caring friend can provide, I was there. Conversely – and even unusually – I accepted those things from my friends as well, finding them to be even stronger and lovelier people than I ever imagined.
And as those relationships continue to change where we can no longer be in each other’s pockets day in and out, at lunches and coffee breaks, I’m comforted by knowing that the depth of the foundation that has been laid is strong enough to withstand time and distance.
In many ways, my friends – who remind me about who I am and how far I’ve come – are the siblings I’ve never had. We are lucky when we find each other.
2009 will be all about me. Now that I’ve proved to myself that I’m capable of making tough decisions and following through on them, that I’m able to stand on my own, that I have the love of friends and family to back me up... I’m ready. I don’t know at this point, on January 1st, 2009, what the focus of the next phase of my life will be, but I will make the most of the momentum from 2008 to propel me forward.
Even though the new year emerged from a depth of pain I’d never experienced before, I also achieved immense triumphs. And although nothing will ever be the same... at least we’re all still here. And isn’t that the important thing?