Friday, December 30, 2016
I've written and backspaced the first paragraph of this post probably a dozen times by now. It's hard. That's about all I can say. December is a hard month for many, for so many reasons. And it's almost over, thank the gods. I didn't think I'd make it through without a complete meltdown, but I'm lucky to have understanding friends and family, and a solid partner at my side. Even as the west coast saw it's first actual winter in several years, I managed to keep it together while everyone's world was seemingly ending, under a blanket of ice and snow. Once you get out on the roads, you can really tell who's from the east coast. We spent Christmas day helping push people out of the snow, and taking on mini winter rescue missions while on our fishing trip.
2016 flew by so fast, I didn't have a moment to panic despite how absolutely crazy, turbulent and ever-changing it has been. Pain, joy, loss, celebration. A balance of extremes. Connections and deaths so unexpected. Lessons learned that I wasn't even aware were in the program. I could have never imagined in January where I'd have ended up twelve months later. Sitting on the stairs of an unfinished basement, awaiting further instruction on how to assemble the section of duct I'm working on, with all the required takeoffs spaced appropriately to accommodate the necessary heat runs.. HVAC. Who knew I'd get into sheet metal. Not me..
Then again, most of this year took me by surprise. What else is new, I guess. Life is an adventure. Expect the unexpected, and all that.
Most of last winter was spent living with my good friend and his dog in a pickup truck in the woods. No running water, no cell service, no power but the truck battery, no heat besides the fire. I spent most of the season laid off with the occasional day of gardening, and eventually found a temporary greenhouse job at a hardware store in the city. Nights were long and cold, but thankfully never lonely.
Spring meant more work for me. My friend and I had to part ways so that I could be closer to the city. I set out with my tent, moved my gear into a storage locker, and worked nearly 7 days a week to get caught up. Between two jobs, one of them with horribly long hours, I burnt out after a few quick months. I was lucky enough to find a couch to crash, and find better work before summer rolled around.
Shortly after turning thirty-one, I met someone whose lifestyle inspired me to change my own. I finally acquired a BC driver's license, and swore off working weekends. Weekends are for adventure, for fun, for church, aka nature. I spent every weekend of the spring camping, traveling, venturing out on the water, and making new friends. My connection with that particular individual ended abruptly, and shortly thereafter, I made an unexpected journey home.
One of my closest friends, a brother so to speak, passed away suddenly in late June. The thought of his passing is still difficult to conceive. The journey home stirred my mind and my spirit on so many levels. I nearly stayed. I miss my friends, my family.. [which extends far beyond any blood-line]. Returning west was one of the most difficult decisions I had to make, but I had a feeling the coast wasn't done with me yet. For now the only cure for my anxiety lies up in the mountains, and along these river banks.
I went back to work until it broke me. My partner [who I thankfully met along the way] finally convinced me to stop working a job that was slowly killing me, and instead, work towards my freedom. We bought a vehicle so that I could find my own direction. I found some contract work that I could schedule around my existing life, and rode it out until I found something even better. Trades.
And so begins another new chapter of my life. One completely unlike any other, and I have no idea how it's gonna go. No pre-determined schedules, no guaranteed paychecks, long-term contracts, everything is day-to-day. Just playing it as it comes. This spring the challenge will be to keep steady work rolling in, find an actual place to live, and start planning for the future. Finding a plot to build a garden would be nice, it's been too long.
While I'm at it, I'll take this opportunity to call myself out one last time this year.. with my focus being scattered all over the map [literally], I've completely lost track of my own physical health. Though I have a better grasp of my mental health now than I have in a few years, my body is suffering. I finally managed this past week to ditch the cigarettes, after who knows how many attempts, and the rest of it is to come. No more crap. Don't need any more junk in my trunk, if you know what I'm saying. Time to offload those pounds I found again that I'd once worked so bloody hard to get rid of. Bring it on 2017, I'm ready.