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Another Year, A Better Me

November 29th, 2016. 

This is the date I attribute to when the course of my life shifted. The precise moment I took a turn down a path to a destination I did not know it would lead.

The CMHA conference I attended - the birthright of this blog - this was where I decided to not only share my story with the world, but to take charge of my life.

While 2016 was without a doubt my most challenging year, the many months that have passed since that pivotal moment brought with them something a little bit different.

This year was one of many lessons.

This year was one of acceptance, growth, change, and gratitude.

This year, was one for the good books.

Acceptance

Happiness can exist only in acceptance. - George Orwell

Shit happens and life gets hard.

Sometimes relationships end; sometimes friendships fade; and sometimes the car we just bought requires $2500 in repairs that we most definitely cannot afford.

In other words, we have all experienced things that we would have preferred not to.

The lesson?

Own it.

Own every experience that has shaped you into the person you are, and continue to own every experience that will shape you into the person you become.

Everything that happens - the good, the bad, the inconvenient, and even the heart wrenchingly painful- teaches us something we can use to grow.

Growth

She conquered her demons and wore her scars like wings. -Atticus

Realistically, I can quite positively conclude that without the shittiness of 2016, I would not have found a fervor for climbing up cliffs or further established my steadfast love for being in the mountains; I would not have solo traveled through Alberta’s grizzly bear inhabited backcountry (against my mother’s best wishes); and I probably would not have left my stable well paying job to be unemployed for two months while pursuing my passion for a career related to mental health.

…but I’m pretty damn glad I did.

The lesson?

Turn your fear into faith and your pain into purpose.

Find your passion. Follow your heart. And don’t wait any longer to make a change.

Change

Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change. -Jim Rohn

As an old dude named Heraclitus once said (many many many years ago) - life is flux.

Strictly speaking, everything or all things change.

For me, an individual with a predisposed (obsessive compulsive) desire to control every and all things I possibly can (and in spite of the constant transitions that have occurred in my life thus far), I can be a bit resistant to change.

Stability. Consistency. Predictability. Those are a bit more up my ally.

However, if there is any single word that encompasses the entirely of my 2017, it is change.

A new residence. A new career. A ‘new’ car. A new relationship. And most importantly, a new perspective.

The lesson?

There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction.  (Winston Churchill)

Gratitude

As much as I’d like to take some credit - the acceptance, the growth, and especially the change -  did not manifest without the strong influence of various external factors.

And for those I am extremely grateful.

I am grateful for the support of my family, for old friends and new, for the many (unsuccessful) dates who taught me what I want (and don’t want) in a partner), for the strangers and acquaintances who (albeit briefly) have shown me genuine kindness, for the unexpected (and potentially unorthodox) companionships that have grown from less than ideal circumstances, for a partner who is patient and understanding and nothing but accepting of everything I am, for the opportunity to work in a job that demonstrates the importance of relationships and the power of resilience, and last but not least, for this incredibly beautiful province that I call home.

Albeit stressful at times, 2017 was a damn good year.

2018?    Bring it on!

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