I am uncomfortable with complacency, always have been. My head lives in the world of "What if?" It has led me through so many wonderful and disastrous life decisions. From my fragile foray into performing with Newfoundland and Labrador Theatre to puppeteering for kids, from waitressing and bartending to ushering folks around the world as a tour escort, I have had so many incredible experiences. My creative heart discovered a home with our theatre troupe, Madcap Players, and my drive to know more, do more, be more, found its place in education as a teacher, a consultant, a post-secondary educator and an administrator. I thank all of you who have been a part of those experiences that challenged, enriched and fulfilled me. I am blessed, blessed, beyond blessed.
Still, it was not enough. It is no secret to those who know me that stumbling across Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series ignited, in me, a renewed passion for reading and writing. In 2008, I began my writing journey with Raven's Path. What a buzz! It is a high so addictive that DH and I sat down and made a plan that would allow me to sniff the sweet blossoms of fresh words on a regular basis. It made no sense to give up a career I loved, a lucrative one to boot, to chase dreams across the page. Yet, that is exactly what I did because, you know, what if?
2015 was our first full year of embracing the new "us". We snowbirded it (that really should be a verb considering the number of Canadians who head south each winter), breaking from the mainstream who head to Florida and, instead, went to Texas—because we met in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas in 1985. We were ecstatic with the unfamiliar freedom, yet plummeted as we grappled with the lives and the careers we left behind. The rollercoaster had left the platform.
A bitter ice storm and an eight-hour drive that turned into fourteen hours, with many cars—including police cruisers—off the road, changed the trajectory of our lives. DH looked at me the day after that intense drive and told me that I needed to find a house that I wanted…in British Columbia.
Our path has been clear since that proclamation, but it has not been without its peaks and valleys. Goodbyes are hard. Really hard. Hellos come with challenges too. Yet, as we embraced new friends, we also discovered that we have not said goodbye to old ones. In some ways we are more connected than we were when we lived amongst those we love. You make that special effort to reach out. You recognize that it is no longer sitting and waiting for you because you live around the corner. Some of those friendships are glowing brighter because of the distance, some in spite of it.
It's the end of the year, and our roller coaster seems to have eased into the station. Let's step into the bar, pull up a chair and choose a beverage. We'll lift a libation to celebrate the moment, the year, our lives. I'll begin with champagne, but I think it needs to be followed by something a little more complex. Something that reflects the choices we have made. Perhaps something shaken, not stirred.
How about you? What toast reflects the year you have left behind? The year that lies ahead? Whatever it is friends, old and new, I lift my glass to you and wish you the strength to pursue all of the what ifs in your life.