Thursday, January 1, 2009

To New Beginnings and New Hopes...

Once again, gentle reader, we find ourselves at the start of a New Year.

What did 2008 hold for you?

One year ago I resolved to continue forward on our course towards reduced stress, reduced consumption, increased savings... I was to pay it forward, make healthier choices and "keep my head down and do my own time". I also vowed that come hell or high water, we were getting out of that apartment building and into a house.

I do believe I paid it forward, if the comments from family, friends and colleagues are any indication. I can't count how many times I've been thanked for my generosity, for being courteous, for being kind, for providing an ear where necessary and generally bolstering the team's spirits. I've been complimented for my "diplomatic skills", so you know I must have been trying! (Either that or they've all gone mad.) I've even taken that one step further and despite possessing common sense, took the ER position to advocate better for our department and for our patients in general. I love my new job; once again I feel like a nurse, once again I feel like I am accomplishing something.

I made a few healthier choices along the way as well. I gave up aspartame and "sugar free" products; as a side benefit, started to lose a *bit* of weight. It was a testimony to how much aspartame and the like will mess with your blood sugar as I immediately started eating less. As someone who consumes pop like some of you consume water or coffee, this was a big step. I then cut down my cola consumption again, which on a breakless 12 hour night, is pretty hard to do. In general I tried to reach more for the veggies and less for the meat and potatoes, but as a true blue carnivore, I can't really say that I accomplished this each and every time. I am getting better, however.

This year also saw the death of the original Secret Evil Plan and the beginning of Project: Homecoming. With the economy rapidly spiralling down the toilet, it would have been totally irresponsible to leave my seniority at Willie-O and move to the hinterland where I might just be laid off a month later. Unlike here where there are a handful of hospitals within a short distance, there is one in Peterborough. Two, if you count Lindsay...

On November 12 of 2008, we took possession on our first house. It has been a magic month or so as we try to sort ourselves out while basking in the glow of our accomplishment. It was an accomplishment... for those of you not in the know, neither Sean or I come from wealth by any stretch of the imagination. We've also made some stupid choices over the years and had a year of separation/almost divorce that just piled on the debt. Other than good advice (and some manual labour!) from a few friends, we've had little or no help and we have done it ourselves. Just like everything else in our lives that is worth anything... But, we did it. We own a house.

2008 was a good year.

As I sit here now, on the first day of 2009, my thoughts unfortunately are turned inward a bit. A recent virus has caused some health concerns for me personally... tests later this week will show if there is any lasting damage to my heart. As I write this I have no idea what this will mean for my life, family and career. This little scare has forced me to once again confront my mortality and make some sudden dramatic changes. In the last week I have had to forgo caffeine, alcohol and chocolate. The caffeine I have remained faithful to, the alcohol and chocolate I have had regrettable relapses. On Christmas Eve I had a thimbleful of sherry only to spend most of the night feeling my heart trying to hammer it's way out of my chest. A few stolen chocolates have unfortunately produced the same effect. So can a call from my mother, but that is beside the point. As of Tuesday, my doctor took me off for two more weeks. It's been a bit tricky...

I suppose I could sit here all glum and let what may or may not ruin my hopes for the new year, but I can't. Aside from my "house glow" I have another reminder of the good things in my life: wonderful friends. I answered the door yesterday to have a beautiful bouquet of tropical flowers thrust in my grumpy hands. The friend on the other end of the flowers stayed to chat for a few minutes and in that time, tidied up my kitchen for me... just because she could, and she knew that I couldn't.

A Cheery Pick Me Up
Click to see the "notes" version on Flickr...

If I have to make a resolution for 2009 (and you all know how I feel about them) it would be to continue to reduce the stress levels in my life. This house, the new job, the organization projects, all of these things help to set the table, now I have to pull up a chair and actually dig in. To quote my friend Skye (who brought me the flowers) "I couldn't take you to Hawaii to relax, so I brought a bit of Hawaii to you". I'm going to have to continue to find the bits of Hawaii in my day to day life.

Here's to 2009. May she bring us all happiness, may she bring us all health. May she bring us good friends and family. May she bring us prosperity.

May she bring us a little bit of paradise.

A Little bit of Paradise
A Little Bit of Paradise

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