I remember at the start of the year, so many people making big plans and predictions about the new year. “Wow, a new decade. The power and energy that comes along with this. Time to make big changes. Time to take that leap of faith.” But for me personally, I was ready to go within. To take care of my inner self.
It was a year that definately rocked many peoples world. It rocked me to my core. I was moved emotionally and spiritually. Not only because we were all entrenched in a worldwide pandemic but because as I age, I move closer towards my own mortality.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, each day, we all get a little closer to death. In a couple of months, I will be 53 years old. Our mom died at 58 and our dad died at 57. And you sis, are living trapped in your own body. So now, as each year comes to an end, I always feel, wow, I made it. Another year. I am so very grateful to be healthy and alive.
This year unfolded at the most perfect time in my life. As I moved through 2019 and got closer to the new year, I had already made the decision that 2020 was going to be all about me. Yes me. Making myself a priority.
I chose 2020 to be my year before it chose me.
So many pieces perfectly aligned themselves. I truly believe that once you live your life being “open” amazing things come your way. Even if it appears in a pandemic form. I always feel there is “magic” surrounding me. But I know this “magic” is called “powerful energy.” I move through my day always feeling good. Sure there are moments when life can be busy, or I fight with my daughter and yes there are very routine days. But it is how you train your mindset to move through these moments.
I like to share the analogy as to how one can react to rain. A person can walk out into the rain and bitch about it. “Damn, my hair is going to get wet. I don’t have on the proper boots. Shitty weather again.” Or one can appreciate the rain knowing it is helping everything around us grow. The lush vegetation surrounding us is because of the rain. So when you wake up in the morning and you hear the rain – as we all do for many months on the West Coast – listen to the sound. Appreciate it. Think of all the good it is doing and be grateful. This is how you set your momentum for the day.
This is also such a difficult year for so many. People are dealing with heartaches. Financial loss. Death. Fear. Anxiety. There is so much mental illness, suicide and loneliness in this world. Karen, as you know, our brother, is a staff sergeant in the police force. He said to me, “You have no idea how many suicide calls I get. You don’t hear about them in the news but trust me when I say, they are very real.” We all need to be aware of this. We all need to move through this world being kind. One can start with always saying hello to the person next to you in a grocery store line up. Look people in the eye when you walk past them. Acknowledge each other. By sharing a glance and or a smile, you have let them know that they have been “seen.” More than ever, we all need to show compassion for each other. But first, check in with self-compassion. If you don’t love yourself, you will not be able to love others.
So yes, 2020 will be known as COVID year. A historical year. A year where many of us feel that the world is “reseting.” A year when many are asking themselves difficult questions. Or maybe it is just that one question. “What makes me happy.”
I have always enjoyed connecting with other people. I have spent my entire life, reaching out, checking in with others, supporting and cultivating relationships. This truly makes me happy. But what I recently started paying attention to – in the last couple of years – is that often, I was “filling up” moments by focusing on other people as opposed to taking moments to be “quiet”. To be still.
How often do people, when in their home, turn on a TV. Or music. Or jump on and off social media. I have not turned on a TV for many years but I am someone who is always needing music on in the background. Is that noise filling a void for me? Am I someone who is not comfortable with silence ? These are questions that I started asking myself and believe me when I say, turning off music, not going on social media, allowing myself to be in the silence, is something that I have had to work on. It is still work in progress but when you practice it mindfully everyday it really does get easier. And it is only then, when in silence, that you truly tap into your self.
When our Province went into lockdown I actually thought to myself, “I am secretly pleased about not having to have any company. Not having to entertain.” It was my intention, this year, to say no to visitors. Even if COVID did not happen, I was planning on limiting visits to maybe a friend or two every couple of months. You have to realize that there was a time when I had company 15 weekends in a row. How fucked up is that ? lol Letting you know this information will now give you a better understanding as to why and what I have been working towards. I was wanting and very much needing, more weekends and “time” on my own. When lockdown took place, I was able to end my busy work week and not worry about groceries or cleaning my house. I was able to make myself the priority.
As I was thinking about this pattern for so many years, I had to ask myself, “Am I not comfortable with saying no ?” “Do I worry about hurting people’s feelings?” Mixed answers of course because yes I do very much enjoy being around people. I don’t want to hurt anyones feelings. I also know that I am someone who was always needing to keep busy. I have never really taken time to be on my own. What I have now realized, was that I didn’t know how to be alone. It made me uncomfortable. I found it difficult.
I made a commitment to myself that to go along with “being on my own”, I would try meditating. I was almost just about to write, “I am really not good at it.” But I don’t think that is possible. If you try and your mind wanders at least you are recognizing that your mind is wandering. That is being mindful. There is no good or bad way to meditate.
Somehow, I had to find a way to create space in my mind. My mind was cluttered – holy fucking shit was it ever lol always thinking ahead, worrying too much if I didn’t feel “organized”, never being in the moment. My mind is still busy but I actually now feel “space” in my mind. This will continue to be “work” for me but I am well on my way. I needed this last year to really tap in.
Throughout COVID, I have been driving my 15 year old daughter to and from school. I now work from home so it is an easy and wonderful routine. The quality time that we are sharing during these months, have been pretty special. Anyone who has kids knows how important these years are. Especially with a 15 year old girl whose hormones are raging !! GET OUT OF MY LIFE or I love you so much. I could share so many stories relating to my daughter Jenna throughout this COVID year. She fills my heart in so many ways. I also love, that between her dad and I, I have her two weeks on and two weeks off. I feel I have the best of both worlds. When I am with her, we spend quality time together. And when I am not with her I spend quality time with myself.
I am someone who likes to move and stay active. I always say to people, “Who cares what you do just keep moving.” This year I have enjoyed my new e-bike – best purchase ever – I get to explore the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island. I did a 4 night overnight hike to Cape Scott – with 5 friends – that was something very different for me. A personal challenge that I loved. A road trip last August to the Rockies with my daughter Jenna. And many days hiking, watching the sunrise and sunset and simply just walking. Lots and lots of walking. Very therapeutic.
My job has been very different this year. For the last 13 years I am usually driving up and down this Island – many days driving at least 4 hours in a day – however I am now home based. I wake up every morning at 6am – check work e-mail, do my yoga, my juicing – I always make sure to take a break in my day. I walk down to the Ocean, often with Lola (my beautiful part time dog) who belongs to my ex but I usually keep her on the weekdays since I am home.
I manage the Healthcare business on Vancouver Island for Gordon Food Services. My customer base are Hospitals, Long Term Care, Retirement Homes, Shelters ect. I manage approximately 15 million $$$ of business with 170ish customer contacts. I am very focused during the day. This year I felt like I was contributing in a different way. We all had no idea what he future looked like. Discussions were taking place relating to PPE items (GFS is a distribution company – we don’t just sell food we sell everything and anything) menu planning, take out containers, trays, racks to deliver food to the residents when they had to remain in the room, pre cooked meal recommendations as there was concern about staff getting ill. Such a challenging year for us, our drivers (thank you to our amazing drivers) our customers and the vendors. But we all worked together at supporting each other.
I was truly honoured when it was announced on our first National Sales call (Healthcare recently became National, I am no longer working for GFS BC) that I won top sales growth in all of Canada for GFS Healthcare. This was so special to me because for me “sales” is all about helping people. It felt pretty darn good to be recognized and appreciated, especially in COVID year, where I was able to make a difference.
I am fairly confident that most of us are looking forward to a new year. Even though I personally made the best of 2020, I am so looking forward to having COVID behind us.
I want to be able to see friends – oh how I miss my girl weekends – I miss my family, hugging, group dinners, travel and most importantly I want to see people smile. I try to look for that smile in people’s eyes but there is such joy in seeing someone actually smile.
When I am not working, how have I been spending my days/evenings throughout COVID ?
Well because of the support staff at St Vincent’s hospital, I am able to set up zoom calls with you Karen. I am actually getting more FaceTime visits with you now than any year in the past – and that makes me so happy !!! We have had several calls with your friends, friends of mom and dad, of course our brother Brian and family. I was so touched when my friend Kerri got on a call a couple of weeks ago. Tomorrow I have a call booked with our cousins, Glen / Joanne /Wendy and Elaine.
I now spend many days with no music playing in the background. I still do listen to my music but I am more selective when I play it. I am currently listening to my first audible book called “Practicing Mindfulness”. There are 24 detailed lectures. I am reading a wonderful book called “Into the Magic Shop” A Neurosurgeons Quest to discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart. I signed up for a ten day meditation retreat called Vipassana. Yes ten days, ten hours a day of meditating and no talking lol I can do this right ?? Unfortunately, due to COVID it is now postponed but next year – when it reopens – I will be even more prepared. I am so looking forward to this personal challenge.
I also made a decision to not continue doing our Podcast. Jayka is such a beautiful soul but for me it was just one too many things on my plate. We had so much fun making some of those episodes. Nothing like telling the world we masturbate and that I haven’t had sex in years lol gotta love “us”. Karen, I will continue writing to you. This feels light for me. It is special for us. I am also going to keep those Zoom calls going. I LOVE that I can get people connected to you !!!! If anyone is reading this and does want to connect with Karen, please reach out. I have a call booked with her every Friday and I can book a second call anytime. Come join us 🙂
Oh and also MSA !!! I need to give a big shout out via the MSA group – to the MSA group – who read my blog to let them know that they are not alone. There are so many of us who understand what you are going through. Whether you are a caregiver or a patient. I was on a call last month and there were 7 or 8 of us on a zoom call – one from New Zealand, Australia, New York, California – people trying to understand this disease. Sharing their stories. It is not easy. Don’t ever stop “seeing” your loved ones. Karen, something I try to do in this blog is keep your spirit alive xo
I am excited for the years ahead. When we move past COVID, I see myself going to Goa, India to hang out for at least a month. Or I may return to Bali with my daughter. There is also Vietnam, the Philippines, Africa…or Maui, a place that has become very special for me.
I will continue to move forward with no fear. Once you truly know, feel and understand that tomorrow is promised to no one and that today – this very moment is a gift – appreciate it and be present in it – that is when one finds inner happiness and peace.
Karen, you made it through another year. YOU amaze.
2020 is definately a year that I will remember.
Be safe everyone and please be kind.
I love you sis,
ps. THANK YOU AMANDA for reading this to Karen. I hope you had a nice Christmas xo
Karen this is the most recent picture of Jenna and I. We went to her dad’s on Dec 24th for turkey dinner. I stayed over and the three of us opened gifts / had breakfast together Christmas morning. It has been our tradition for the last ten years. We have been able to give Jenna the gift of both her parents celebrating this holiday with her.
I loved our family Christmas call – so special – I know you are there with us, taking in every single word xo
There were so many touching and heartbreaking moments this year. The picture below on the left shows my friend Kerri’s brother, reaching out to their mom. Not being able to hug her. The lady, Jane, in the pic below – taken 25 years ago – died in April of this year. She was very special to me. I called her my BC mom. She was the mother of one of my best friends. The friend below holding the wine glass 🙂 love it. I know the pain and how heavy my friends heart is. We have yet to celebrate Jane’s life and I have yet to hug my friend.
My friend Wendy just lost her brother in a car accident. It was tragic. My friend Paul just lost his brother to cancer.
There is so much sadness this year. My thoughts and love go out to so many people.
Last May, was the one year anniversary date that my father in law Don passed away. For 30 years, he was a father figure to me. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him. I have constant reminders everywhere that he is still with me. A couple of months ago, I was out in the middle of the Lake, on my paddle board, sun shining down, feeling amazing. I was having a moment, with a couple of friends, talking about life. As I looked down on my board, I saw a dime sitting right in the middle of the board. I see dimes all the time – they are a common sign of support from guardian angels.
And this picture – from a past girl weekend in Seattle – posting it because it makes me smile 🙂 when I look at this I realize how much I miss these ladies, my friends, sitting close, hugging OMG human contact !!! I am so going to make out with all of them when this is all over 🙂
And these moments – at the top of mountains – watching the sunrise, having a social distancing coffee with some of the best ladies in this world….
If you are in the world of technology today with webinars, zoom calls, virtual presentation and meetings, this quote is definitely the best quote of 2020 !! lol it makes me laugh every time !!
BYE BYE 2020 – IT WAS A LOVE / HATE RELATIONSHIP xo