Thursday, January 3, 2019
Five Questions for New Year's
On New Year's Eve, my friend Janet sent an email with five questions to reflect on as the year drew to a close, and I thought it would be fun to answer them here, then ask you to do the same.
1. Best moment of 2018?
There were plenty of great moments - seeing Mamma Mia at Neptune Theatre with my mom, sisters, nieces and friends, sleepovers with my sister's daughters, touring Ireland, hiking with another sister and her daughter in Canmore, visiting with good friends, enjoying beach suppers with my folks, and attending the King's Chapel Choir Christmas concert, to name just a few. But the moment that stands out is the moment when, driving down the highway just outside St. John's, Newfoundland, we received a text from our realtor telling us we had a firm deal to sell the city house.We were totally over-the-moon! It changed everything because it was the first step towards restructuring our lives so I could give up my day job and we could live in the country full-time.
2. Best book?
I had a hard time with this question because I haven't read much outside of work the past few months. However, looking back, I realized there were two books that really affected me - Jann Arden's Feeding My Mother and Nora Ephron's I Feel Bad about My Neck. Jann's book is a moving account of her efforts to care for her mother, who was suffering from Alzheimer's Disease, interspersed with recipes and photographs. I found it especially moving because I witnessed my father-in-law's struggle with the same disease. Nora's book was recommended by a friend. It too is an intimate little book, though much more light-hearted, filled with laugh-out-loud observations on what it means to be a woman of a certain age - of any age really. It especially affected me I only realized after I read it that Ephron had passed away 2012, which was hard to fathom. How could a person with so many advantages, and such humour, insight, and zest for life be gone so soon?
3. Best lesson?
This year was chock-a-clock with lessons - many of which weren't particularly pleasant. For example, I realized how vain I was when I got bizarrely stressed about having surgery to remove a small skin cancer from my cheek. And that age was winning when I suddenly developed arthritis in my hands and feet. Fortunately, there were happier lessons too - like how much fun it is to play theatre games, and how good Guinness tastes when it's properly stored, served in a fancy glass and enjoyed with friends in a small Irish pub. Overall, though, I'd have to say the best lesson this year was that the time has come to free up more time in my life for the people and things that matter most.
4. Best buy?
The truth is I bought very little stuff this year - not even running gear. Ever since we sold the city house, our focus has been on disposing of stuff rather than accumulating more. Given that, I'd have to say my best buy was our air tickets to Ireland. Those tickets provided months of joyful anticipation and heaps of happy memories that will last a lifetime.
5. Wish for 2019?
I have two. The first is that I'm able to create the new life I'm dreaming of - one that enables me to be more active, engaged, creative, and compassionate. The second is that, in the face of the environmental crisis, people around the world come together to take action before it's too late. Yes, I know the second seems a bit unrealistic. But - hey - we have to be able to imagine a better future in order to build it.
And what about you, gentle reader? How would answer these five questions? What books should I put on my reading list? What lessons did you learn? What are your wishes for 2019?