I recently published an article of Matador Network titled Why I’m Not Skipping Christmas. I’ve been bit of a Grinch this holiday, but Kimble made me understand all this end-of-year fuss: “The holidays are here, like it or not, and though they are inconvenient in the most heart-wrenching of ways, they are also what forces us together, a reason to sit down and drink to our health and happiness—and to holidays passed.”
And that’s exactly what we do: pause, reflect, prepare for 2012.
I get completely irked by wrap-up posts bragging about a person’s accomplishments (which, hypocritically, I’ve done more than once). But when I trace back through 2011 I keep thinking, “Holy nutbars, a lot happened in one year.” My blog is a kind of timeline, and I love going back through old posts to see how far I’ve come.
While I was home for Christmas, several people kept approaching me to say they loved my blog, and admired what I was doing. I was pretty gobsmacked. Me?
-I launched Social Media Atlantic Canada (SMAC), a tiny social media operation aimed at small businesses on a budget in Atlantic Canada.
-I weaned myself off of unemployment benefits and became fully self-employed.
-I became the leading editor of Matador Life.
-I became the Newfoundland blogger for AOL Canada.
-I was filmed in a clip titled “How to Talk Like a Newfoundlander” with the insanely funny and talented Mark Critch, which apparently has won me fame in the province and is being shown in schools. Not kidding.
-I was published in the Marine Atlantic’s ahoy! magazine.
-I went to Mexico to chill out in Cancun with some awesome peeps.
-I finally got the attention of Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism, made some amazing new friends, and spent the most surreal, magical, and inspirational five days in Gros Morne National Park on the west coast. My heart is still there.
When I think back on the past 12 months, I’m baffled by how intense the year has been. I’ve been happy, despite dealing with a number of family tragedies that I have yet to write about. I’ve mentioned my Uncle Glen’s passing due to cancer. I spent a week with him in July, and then my wonderful, loving, happy uncle lost his battle. He is always on my mind.
Then in November, I lost my grandmother. I didn’t even write about this, I’m not sure why. She had Alzheimer’s for years and was placed in a home, but I grew up next door to her for most of my life. I said “good-bye” to her on her deathbed. I struggled through writing her funeral service pamphlet, unsure of which font could adequately suit such a great matriarch for a family of 12.
I have a few schemes up my sleeves for 2012, including the potential launch of a new business here within the province. I want my writing career to progress beyond news blips for link fodder.
The other major life moment is buying a house here in St. John’s.
Newfoundland is my home, and I suspect it always will be. This land is as heartbreaking, seductive and inspirational as any lover, and I always want my home base to be here. I know I’ve complained quite a bit about being broke—and I’m still struggling financially—but I’ve been saving portions of pay cheques for years for an investment such as this one. With my own home—which I’m sharing with a friend–I’ll have rooms to rent out and a place to always return. St. John’s (and Newfoundland) is growing with surprising speed, and there are things going on beneath the surface here that I desperately want to be a part of. This way, I can leave for extended amounts of time, not have to pay rent, and always have a home.
Buying a house to travel the world…who knew? But I tend to have a habit of doing things ass-backwards.
As for travel plans…I have none, other than a true vacation at a resort in the Dominican Republic to get reacquainted with old friends for a wedding. But 2011 started off in exactly the same fashion, and ended up being my busiest year for travel.
Plus I have a free plane ticket to South America. Bazinga.
This was supposed to be a humorous post but I’m sneezing and sniffling and fighting off a cold, and it kinda hurts to look at stuff. But here’s to 2012, and more handwritten posts!