Saturday 15 December 2018

A look back at 2018: who would have thought?

It's Saturday morning, I'm sitting here in my little beige room, hot vanilla coffee by my side, and that statement is baffling to me. Who would have thought I would ever live in a beige room? I hate neutral, sensible colours. No matter what you want to call them - eggshell, greige, vanilla, light brown - I would never use those colours in my own place. I like bright, vivid, in-your-face colours!
And yet here I am, living in a beige world for two weeks every month since September. Who would have thought?

That was the theme of 2018 for us: who would have thought? The year was full of surprises, big ones and small, and if you fasten your seat belts, ladies and gentlemen, I will take you for a ride!
2018 started with Rich recuperating nicely after being horribly sick for four months with Lyme disease, following his diagnosis at Christmas last year. The best side effect of his disease? He officially retired this year, and he took to retirement like a duck to water. It's like he was born for it! While others struggle to find something to do after a lifetime of work, he doesn't have that problem at all. Rich spent the year buying himself a big orange tractor, selling all our rabbits and guinea pigs (who would have thought? I was ecstatic about that! They were a lot of work), adopting five kittens (and subsequently turning me into a cat lover - who would have thought?), and adding one more dog to our pack: Teddybear!
Rich and I discovered our love for M*A*S*H-marathons in bed, and later that year we became obsessed with the shows Shark Tank and Dragon's Den, always watched in bed, with hot cups of coffee and tea. Heaven!

But by far the biggest surprise?? Rich unearthed a formerly unknown obsession for iced coffees with a shot of Baileys! Who the frick would have thought?! He is a militant coffee-hater, crediting the world's evil to the consumption of coffee, so this is a big deal. He needed to be tricked into drinking it, of course, which was the skillful work of a waiter at the resort in Mexico we vacationed in last month. Every afternoon they would walk around with these gigantic trays filled with 30 or more drinks, offering them to people lounging around the pool. Rich accepted one without knowing what it was, and after one sip he was hooked. It's a miracle!
(For proof, he's holding an iced coffee at 0:09 in the video below ↓)
In short, Rich had a really good year, living in the moment like all the self-help books tell us to.

My year was unexpected in many ways.
My silver/grey is coming in stronger now, and I'm not a crying heap on the floor about it - I really love it! Who would have thought? I wrote a post about why I'm going grey, and I still stand by it: embracing the aging process is another step towards living fearlessly.
I accumulated several new mystery scars, weird bumps on my leg, and new moles that I have to get looked at pronto. Also, my cellulite is alive and kicking, but according to my (completely biased) husband, my butt is still "so tight you can crack nuts on it". As compliments go it's a weird one, but I'll take it!
This was the year of the She Shed, and the end product looks quite a bit different from what I envisioned:
Instead of a crazy colour explosion it ended up being the most gorgeous quintessential Canadian cabin, and I couldn't be happier! It turned into what it looks like now almost by itself, as if it was always meant to look that way. It's a truly special little house, and it's what everybody who comes to our place comments on first.
My first book was published, and it made a small splash in my world, but the rest of the world continued on like nothing happened. Despite my secret hopes that it would become an international bestseller, it didn't - who would have thought? But it did end up in 3 Canadian provinces, 10 states, and in the UK, Germany, Switzerland and Italy so far, and that's pretty damn cool, isn't it?

My sister came for a visit and we had an epic time. After all these years of old baggage we truly left it all behind this year, and I'm so grateful for it. The best surprise ever!
But what I never saw coming was this: accepting a new job that requires me to live away from home 50% of the time. I truly never thought I would ever do that, much less like it! But I've been working in my job since August, it's going really well, and I (mostly) enjoy the time away. Who would have thought?

Despite the many good things that happened this year I have struggled quite a bit with my depression. Since the summer I've had an immense craving for alone-time. I'm okay at work, I even enjoy it, but when I'm home (or at my home-away-from-home) I've spent a lot of time in bed with my corgi, watching Netflix, reading or napping. It almost felt like a need to hibernate, with low energy, an intense need for rest, and little desire to interact with others. Instead of fighting it, I gave in. I still socialized a bit, but mostly I simply did what my body and mind wanted me to do: I hid from the world.

And you know what? It's the best thing I could have done. Gradually, without me noticing at first, my depleted energy reserves have slowly refilled themselves, and I'm finally getting my old energy back.
I feel like a wimp calling what I had burn-out - after all, I don't lead a very hectic life - but I still believe that's what it was. With our move 2 years ago came a rapid change in our social life - we suddenly had one. (I'm only half-joking.) Our old place was secluded with no interaction with neighbours, and we only had people over when we invited them, which wasn't that often. It was an introvert's dream!
But since our move we have neighbours calling and people dropping in regularly, and we've had more house guests in the 2 years we've lived here than we did in 10 years at our old place.

Rich's illness last year and his slow recovery this year took a big toll on me as well. The worry about his health, the burden of looking after the majority of the farm for so long, all the fears and what ifs -what if he doesn't get better? What if he gets worse? Or, after he started to get better, what if it comes back?
I was also stressed about the book, fretting about promotion and sales and people liking it and not selling enough, and feeling guilty about not enjoying it more and secretly convinced that I sucked at it all.
And don't forget that I was still a casual at my job until August, meaning no guaranteed hours. With Rich being retired I'm the only one with an income until his pension starts next year.
After an unexpectedly slow June I started to panic about hours and job security and money, which is never a fun time.

So yeah, maybe it was burn-out.
But after months of taking it easy, of resting and introverting and dividing my free time between my bed and nature (and a quick trip to paradise last month), I'm coming back to life. I'm slowly feeling like myself again!
During a time when I had no strength left to be strong, I got to be weak for a while. What a gift.
But I'm strong now, and getting stronger every day!

I wish you this, as written by the amazing Emily McDowell (whom you should follow btw, she is incredible):
Have a very happy weekend!

xoxo Miriam



  1. You had an incredible year. Merry Christmas Miriam. And a happy and healthy new year too.

    1. I wish you the same Mary! I can't wait to see where your alignment-journey is taking you next year ❤


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