I can't believe I've not done this before; it's been an amazing year and I'm going to go over each month and what happened...
January: I was living in an awesome sublet on Main Street. It was the start of a new year, and some things needed to change. I received an email from my summer employers saying that they wanted me to lose some weight before my contract began in the spring. Although I was shocked and angry, that email did spark an urge for change in me, and I began to watch what I ate and how I exercised. It was also a month to take stock of my finances and realize that things couldn't continue as they were. It's an ongoing struggle, but I've become a little bit better about money since then. I also reconnected with my ex and we strengthened our friendship, and my new friend from Victoria-Holly- came and stayed with me while she took a course in Vancouver.
February: I said goodbye to the lovely sublet and moved in with my brother and sister-in-law just off Fraser Street. Thanks to my summer employers, I got funding to take several courses, including Victorian martial arts, playwriting and first aid. The first aid course was intense, and in the end I failed it, but I learned a lot. My resolve was strong and I continued to exercise and lose weight.
March: I got an amazing contract with Studio 58, composing music for a play. I was able to see how far I'd come in terms of both competence and confidence during this job, and it was delightful. I explored my new neighborhood, crocheted tons of crafty things, and fell in love with my brother's new kitten.
April: once again I got ready to leave Vancouver while the city did its best to seduce me into staying. I continued to play music with Old Yeller, a group of friends and ex-boyfriends(!) who became a second family to me. My ex and I deepened our friendship and connection to each other, which laid some of the ghosts of guilt and sadness I'd been carrying around since we split in 2010. And I visited my new friend Holly in Victoria, falling in love all over again with that city, and delighting in a new friendship.
May: back to Barkerville, and back into winter after Vancouver's spring. Old friends and new co-
workers. As always, the first month of work up there was isolated and busy, and it was only as the month drew to a close that we started to make tentative friendships outside of work. There were some changes to the town: new people running things and new employees. We opened our school show and kept rehearsing for the main season. I fell in love with the double bass all over again.
June: I got to house-sit for some friends in their beautiful converted church. The rhythm of my summer job washed over me again and I settled back into the groove. We opened our main season shows and started to socialize with neighbors and fellow interpreters. The four of us who lived together became tighter and tighter as tensions at work drew us together. Spring and then summer arrived in the north. I rekindled my feelings for someone, only to realize once again that they were not returned.
July: the weather turned hot and sunny, and I had friends to enjoy it with! Margaret and I went running. Tanya and I discovered paddle boarding. It was a month of outdoor adventures and hard
work, and work could be a pretty intense place at times. Luckily we were all becoming experts in
letting off steam during our downtime.
August: this month was a highlight for me, beginning with ArtsWells (Dancing! Live music! New friends!), and ending with my 40th birthday, a delightful night which included a bonfire, cake, many friends, and hash brownies. The four of us who lived together made friends with a wonderful gang of people who became a delight to hang out with. We rented a cabin on Bowron Lake and many of those friends dropped by and spent a wonderful day off with us, swimming and sunnbathing. Meanwhile, tensions at work increased until someone was let go. We had a new cast mate who became a fast friend, and work became fun again. Unfortunately this came too late for our employers, and one of them became very ill, necessitating changes to the show.
September: I moved into another house for the month, and my new friend Eve came too. It was a month of saying goodbye as people finished their contracts... But although it was a melancholy time there were moments of great joy: incredible hikes, trips to the big city (Prince George!), gatherings and adventures and the easing-off of work. Only one show a day as opposed to two. Sunny, crisp Autumn days watching the leaves turn almost overnight. Crazy late-season swimming. When my contract ended I stayed a few extra days but that was a mixed blessing as the last of my friends left town.
October: I paid a quick visit to Kelowna to visit my dad. Fit and healthy after an incredibly active summer, I returned to Vancouver and began work at the pumpkin patch. I also entered the world of online dating... Three dates in I met this motorcycle-driving dude at a coffeeshop. The moment he walked in I thought "wow", and the rest is history. Two months later we're still going strong and we're absolutely crazy about each other. I never expected this, and it's been a gift, every day.
November: I kissed my new guy goodbye and flew off to Oahu with my friend Tanya. Eight days of sun, surf and sharing a bed! And we're still speaking to each other! As November ended I made the difficult decision not to return to Barkerville for my summer job. I still don't know what the new year will bring in terms of work, but I want to restart my career down here and see if I have what it takes to live in the big city year-round again. Several people I knew in Barkerville passed away, a sad shock.
December: I played accordion in an Italian christmas play and started rehearsals for a musical based on the video game Portal. A whole new world for me. My new guy continued to teach me how to love riding a motorbike, and how to be a girlfriend again after not being one for a long time.
When I think back over this year, what strikes me is how happy I was, even though there were financial difficulties and big changes and periods of loneliness throughout. It was a happiness that began back in the fall of 2013 and just kept going. I had some wonderful gigs. I wrote some good songs. I travelled to some beautiful places and learned all over again the importance of exercise and a healthy diet. I met a lot of new friends and held on to them, even though we were separated by distance. I reconnected with a wonderful person from my high school days. I forged a tender and forgiving friendship with my most important ex. And in the last few months of the year I was surprised by something-by someone- wonderful. Someone who swoons when I sing, who made me a funny and saucy hand-drawn Christmas card, who wraps his arms around me and gives me rides on his motorbike and tells me true stories late into the night (and early into the morning too!).
Old and new, young and old, my friends give me strength, joy and support as I keep stumbling down this crazy road of life. They keep me excited about the future, even as I see the dangers and sadnesses that lie ahead: parents aging, money troubles, health issues, uncertainties and worries. I think that 2015 could be incredible. But even if it's not, I know I'll have the best people to hold my hand and get me through it.