2015: it has been a year of deep valleys and high peaks for me, both literally and figuratively.
It began in the hospital, at the bedside of someone I deeply care for. Here, winter and spring blurred by slowly in a haze of emotion, my life taking on a holding pattern as I entered a full-time support role for those around me. The next thing I knew, it was summer. At this point, the health challenges still had not gone away, but they had changed and those of us intimately involved have since been able to adapt to a new normal.
So that was the deep valley of 2015. I am stronger for the struggle endured, but also grateful to have emerged from it to a few high points that inevitably followed. Post-hospital bedside, I realized that in fixedly supporting others through their hardships I had forgotten to take care of myself as well as I should. This realization, combined with a dream that had been percolating in my mind for some time, prompted me to embark on my Pedal Powered to the West bike tour. With a combination of being alone on the road, travelling with a close friend, and visiting friends along the way, I was able to find a sort of personal healing. Returning home, I was happy to be fired up and inspired about life again, not to mention strong enough to continue being a support to those who needed me.
Everything is always changing; this is one of the beauties and also banes of living, but one that is always worth keeping in mind when riding between the low and high points in life. When we’re struggling…this will change. Take the long view and realize that this moment is not forever. When we feel like we’re on top of the world, this will change as well, so don’t be disappointed when it inevitably does. This is the rhythm of life and it’s better to dance with it than fight it.
Today, I’d like to take a moment and focus on a few of the high points of 2015. Before I get to that a few thank yous are in order, but read on for some photos and stories in the captions.
First, I am thankful for health: both my own and for those around me. We all have different struggles here, but if you’re reading this then you also have health to be grateful for (just as I do in writing this). Focus on the positive, not the negative. Every moment we have is a gift in a life of constant change, and we will miss them if we take them for granted.
Next, a nod to all the clients I’ve worked with this year. My sincere thanks goes out to all of my returning clients with whom I’ve had the pleasure to work with for yet another year. This year I didn’t have much energy to spend seeking out new clients, and that makes me even more grateful for the established partnerships that we were able to forge even deeper. That said, to the few new clients I did have the pleasure to work with this year I am very happy that we were able to connect. Sometimes paths cross in ways that are natural and organic, and I can sincerely say that I feel that way about all of you. As a freelancer, my time is limited and so I am careful about who I choose to work with. One of the huge benefits of this is that I can honestly say that I believe in the work each of you do, and I’m glad we can work together in mutually beneficial ways where we are both happy in what we have to offer each other.
Finally, a big thanks to all my friends, family, and students. Whether you realized the role you played in my life this year or not, thank you for lending me your support.
And with that, here are a few personal highlights from a year that is now in the history books. These selected moments do not necessarily reflect the daily grind of work or even daily life. Rather, they are the fruits of one of my mottos in life: keep dreaming, and keep working day-by-day to get a little closer to living those dreams.
Regardless of the season, my soul requires nature to recharge; amidst the busyness of our urban jungles, this is one of the ways I find balance. This little slice of frozen heaven is on Lake Winnipeg, near a cozy little cabin I retreated to amidst the snow drifts on shore. As a friend once told me in Alaska, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing and bad attitudes.”
Every year, the Winnipeg Folk Festival serves as a kickoff for my summer. The festival is spectacular in its own right, but personally it has also become a meeting place where old friends come together despite the diverging paths we’ve each chosen over the years. For five days every July, we erect a village together and live simply in each others’ presence.
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