I dont know about you guys, but every year on the date of my birth I mentally jump up and down and silently yell "I survived another year!". In retrospect, that sounds kinda weird. But I do it because hell, that's an accomplishment in itself. When I was younger I did not think I would live past maybe twenty-three or twenty-four, and I'm well passed that now.
It's also a little time to reflect. What was I doing this time last year? How has this year changed me for better or worse?
And this year was a doozy.
Last year on this day I had just arrived in Quebec four days earlier and I was heading down to the city from my family's place up in St.Hippolyte to celebrate and start my life in Montreal. I went to a Short Shorts party with the person who had alot of influence in my cross country move and whom believed I was in love with at the time (that didn't work out so well). I was grieving my grandmother, who died a week before I made it home. I was ecstatic, excited, terrified, overwhelmed and already homesick for Victoria.
And I only knew two people in this city.
When I came here I didn't have much of a plan. I had no job lined up, an apartment to sublet for one month but otherwise no permanent living situation and very very little money. I just knew I wanted to come here and hoped for the best.
It did not start off well. That person I was dating ended things two weeks after I got here (shortly after attending my grandmother's funeral with me). I got a job in a diaper factory/ warehouse that only paid $10/hour and I got a crappy apartment that smelled terrible and whose only view was of a dirty white wall. It got no sunlight at all and I knew I had to live there at least for the duration of winter. But in the tiny window between arriving and when the snow started falling I managed to make some connections, a handful of awesome people that I was comfortable with. I am ever so grateful for that, at least.
Oh and then winter came.
Cold as balls-slush and snow-dark at 4pm-horribly lonely winter. It is a terrible season to be living alone in a new city with a broken heart making minimum wage. But again, those people I met and continued to meet were like a buoy in the middle of the ocean during a storm. There were Thanksgiving potlucks, ugly sweater parties, orphan Christmas dinners, and lots of good talks over Vietnamese Pho. And then in the thick of January's frost bite, my eldest brother died of cancer and my friend overdosed. There was alot of death this winter. A trip to Calgary and back. Alot of processing and mixed emotions, and more loneliness than you can shake a stick at.
Slowly but surely though, the light came. I got a new job, albeit telemarketing but still with much better pay. A better paycheck takes a bit of weight off your shoulders, at least on grocery day when you've finally got more than $20 with which to feed yourself for two weeks. Relief! I moved apartments to what I would call my ideal Montreal apartment. It gets sunshine! I wake up with it beaming on my face and can sit on one of two balconies (either facing the street to people watch or over looking my landlords beautiful backyard garden and Koi pond) to drink my morning coffee!
I've made more friends and connections and I know my way around now too. Last night my friend and I were at a show in middle-of-butt-fuck-nowhere and I got us back to a metro without looking at my GPS! Hell yeah! I'm a Montrealer now!
And most recently, I got work as a full time writer. I can't even describe to you the awe of this. No more phone sales! No more crappy retail! I actually get to use whatever talent I have and work in a creative environment. Holy-crap-hello-thing-I-never-thought-possible.
So that's the recap. I'm another year older, and even though it doesn't feel like it some days- I hope I'm a year wiser. I know that people are what is important, travelling through the days with other human beings and the connections we make with each other are what will save my ass everytime. Being a loving, caring person and offering solace to others. Lending an ear, an hour, or a kind smile in passing.
I learned that we're not here for very long and its the impact we make as we go that will always be remembered. I am so, so grateful to have had so many beautiful souls put in my path this year (you know who you are). Here's to another year and whatever may come.
Now, let's eat cake! xo.