A New Year Reflection

I used to really like winter. I’ve always preferred to be too cold than too hot. I loved how it used to get dark before I finished class, and going ride my horse in the pitch black. I used to love coming home to a warm fireplace, home-cooked food, and a dog to cuddle with. I liked my half an hour TV limit of watching 'The Simpsons' when my dad came home from work, and the half carton of ice cream I’d occasionally sneak out of the freezer. I liked the freshly baked muffins my mum would make in the mornings, and bundling up for the drive to school in our Volvo station wagon, listening to a new book tape we’d have picked up from the library. I liked having an excuse to go to bed, as I never used to like staying up late (I still don’t really – sleep is one of the things in life that gives me most pleasure).

I used to keep my favourite books by the fireplace, and would read them over and over again – dog-eared, with broken spines and ripped-pages. I didn’t even need to read them as I pretty much could recite my favourite authors verbatim; Beverly Cleary, Kit Pearson, CS Lewis, JK Rowling… I knew what I liked, I knew what was comfortable, and I used to just stay there (and to this day I sometimes blame my unwillingness to branch out growing up, whether that was book-wise, music-wise, people-wise on my current inability to articulate a lot of my ideas in a coherent sort of way). After about the age of eleven, when I left the school that had been a steady sort of thing since I was very young, my life seemed to go in two-year phases. My parents and I would find a school that I thought would be good fit. I’d get that nervous-excited feeling over the summer, leading up to a change. The anticipation of meeting new people, the blank slate, the feeling of being able to be a new person – these were all things that made me excited. I used to buy all new stationary, and everything would be all set up for the new school year to start. And September would begin, and I was always the new person. And then somehow I would find my way in, everything bright, shiny, and new, and I would feel like I’d hit the jackpot. Then something would happen when all the shininess wore off, and I would start to feel settled in, more comfortable and over the next few months I’d start to realize things I didn’t like about where I was. The school was too strict, the people weren’t who I thought they were, I wasn’t able to do exactly what I wanted to do, and I would sink into deep depressions about my current state of affairs. I’d always be able to find something wrong. Summer would come, and I’d dread the whole three months about going back. I’d trudge through the next year, while my mother would frantically search for something that was a better fit for the following year…and this is how it went until I graduated (from a school that was probably the best fit…however slightly more relaxed as I could skip class more than I could before…oh how I hated school).

And so it’s gone on that every couple of years I try to re-invent myself, as everyone does when a new year provides a blank slate. Something always has to be improved, changed, reinvigorated, abandoned…and around winter time, in hibernation mode when I wrap myself in a cocoon, refuse to go outside and I am content with feeling incredibly settled, there is the unsettlement that always seems to come into view. I have a skill in finding people and places I like, and can feel comfortable in a new place very easily. And while I like feeling comfortable, it is the uncomfortable that makes me grow, and I ultimately like to grow. I end up resenting being comfortable, subconsciously masking this by finding things wrong with my current state and constantly searching for the place or the activity that will distract me from the burden of living with myself. And so January, with the pressure of reinvention and self-improvement coming at you at full force, with everyone asking what your new years resolutions are and everyone frantically trying to fix whatever society has been telling them is wrong with themselves, forces one to reflect. And upon reflection, I’ve come to recognize that I am always in planning mode - I’ve been planning for myself in the constant search of this ‘extra’ ordinary life I want to live - totally not content with being okay about where I am at on a day to day basis and always on the search for improvement. I recognize that in the end and underneath all of these that I are only left with my self – the basic self, with my flaws, my insecurities, and my anxieties. And realize that the self must be treated with kindness, in order to think clearly of what move to make next.

And so I used to like winter. The grey never bothered me and the rain gave me an excuse to stay inside and hide. But now the winter scares me because I don't have constant warmth and light to keep me positive, because it makes me think about the things I need to do to push myself forward, and reminds me that muffins will only be made for me by my mother very, very occasionally. (And she didn’t even make me any when I was home for Christmas; shock, horror! Maybe I am officially an adult…but then again she did make other delicious things…)

 And so I have not made resolutions, other than to keep on this path that I am on – being constantly open to trying new things, to constantly be learning and doing. And so here I am doing – this task of getting my blog back up and running, and experimenting with the cool new pens I got delivered to me in my Christmas stocking…

And while I have you here, stay tuned because there will be a lot of new music popping up over the year, exciting! Maybe Winter hasn't been so bad after all...