Well, this year just kind of flew past me! Not sure if you are feeling the same way, but 2021 was a bit of a blur – it really did feel as though it was driving very fast. In ways, it was a good year, and in many ways it was challenging with many ups and downs at home and outside in the world. However, I’m good with a year of hard challenges, because there are way more lessons in life that way, than with an easy ride.
So, as I began this post, I was ready to reflect on the year, and the wines that made it tolerable. However, I feel as though this post will be a bit of a “journal entry” or personal “memoir” of a year that won’t be forgotten. This is your chance to keep reading (pour a glass of something delicious) or hop out and revisit later.
I’m sitting here on the couch with a hot green tea in hand, my favourite to start the day. I’m staring out the window at the snow falling yet again, with a little cozy jazz playing on Spotify in the background. And I find myself reflecting on the past year… and realizing I haven’t taken the time to fully process it.
That would explain why this past week (you know that weird one between Christmas and New Years?) has had me feeling… melancholy. Even the mulled wine I made wasn’t helpful. I’ve forgotten, as many do, it should be no surprise, I have felt this way a few times around this time of year. The reasons…
- Seasonal disorder – that sucky time of year when we have the least amount of daylight (sunrise at 8am, sunset at 4pm) causing tiredness, slight mood swings, feeling down, and just all around blah.
- I’m alone for the 2nd Christmas in a row.
- Covid Craziness.
- The loss of friendships, friends and family.
It’s pretty hard not to feel the emotions of the list above. Plus add in all the rest of the year, and boom – that’s full plate right here. As I am finally reflecting and processing, I feel raw and vulnerable. My chest feels heavy, I’m feeling sensitive and a tear can well in my eyes for no reason.
Here’s what I’ve been reflecting on.
In the winter of 2020, I had an unexpected exchange with a very good friend, that led to us not speaking for the past year. I didn’t think this would happen, I thought we would eventually touch base and work through it. But, now I realize so many things came into play, that I didn’t stop to process it fully and work on it – until this week. I realize now, it hasn’t felt right all year! But I didn’t attribute that feeling to this situation. So, in an effort to take action now on something very overdue, I reached out. It’s an olive branch. It felt right in my soul. I’m not sure if my friend will respond, but I’ve learned that letting go of expectations, and choosing kindness and love – makes any outcome more tolerable to digest and understand.
And just like that, a deep breathe, and a wee bit of that heaviness just lifted from my chest.
I remember that the year started with the sad new of my Aunt Sally passing away. The English Rose in our family, who was this fun, loving woman with a true zest for life – was gone. She spent most of her life married to my Canadian Uncle on Vancouver Island raising my 3 crazy cousins. She loved to travel, garden & take really cool photos. Plus, she showed up for me as an Aunt, I remember many a great conversation on the phone with her. She is a part of so many of my memories – I’m grateful and sad all in the same breath. We had a delayed celebration for her in August with a high tea in her garden.
And then the Spring seemed to arrive quickly. I remember, I threw myself into creating a new business and website, and trying to figure it all out. And in that time, a relationship I was in ended. As I was navigating this loss, I welcomed a new car into my world, which was pretty exciting. And I shared the story on my blog (you can read it here). I also had many friends come and visit me and was able to see cousins, so life was busy. Many of my friendships have been strengthened because these sweet souls made the time to come see me in the Okanagan. I’m so grateful for them!
And then – voila! Just like that, Summer arrived in the Okanagan. We were hit with super hot temperatures (45+ C) which is out of the ordinary here for a long period of time, making it so hot, it was impossible to stay outside for too long. So we lived in the lake or inside with air conditioning. It was even hard to exercise outside, it was just too hot!
I did take a spontaneous trip to Tofino on my own – which did add a burst of sunshine to my life. This is when we were “allowed” to travel again. It’s very healing there, it was such a great experience! But, the day I arrived, I got the news from a very good friend – that her husband had been diagnosed with brain cancer. Inoperable. He passed away just 6 weeks later. He was a brilliant human with a big personality. The loss of a life is soul changing. It’s humbling. It makes all trivial things around you just fade away as it all feels surreal.
And that whole summer with the hot, dry days, led to wildfires throughout the region that accompanied the summer months into the Fall. Another reason that makes it hard to be outside is the particles in the air from forest fires – creating very poor air quality. Although that was going on, I was able to help a friend with her “pop-up” Dim-Sum & Wine series at a local winery. It was a fun addition to a crazy summer, and I now have a huge appreciation for cooking Dim-Sum!
So as the summer ended, and we headed into the Fall, life seemed to relax a little. I started a new contract with a winery, and continued my work with other winery clients. And I made my way to Tofino again, this time to celebrate my birthday with a group of friends. It was wonderful. Great food & loads of fabulous wine. No expectations, just wonderful memories & lots of laughs. Highlights: Fluvio Restaurant & Roar.
I think Mother Nature was just taking a breather. Because, the crazy weather began shortly after. Crazy rainfall across southern BC leading to major floods and landslides that ended up closing all our major highways leading to Vancouver. After the floods receded approx. 3 weeks later, we went straight to above normal snowfall across BC and straight into Winter!
I don’t know about you, but I’d say Mother Nature and the Universe are pretty pissed with us.
But, aside from all that weather, and all the ups and downs from the year, I love looking back for for the silver linings, and there were many.
So, as I take the last sips of my now cooled tea, and wrap up this not so wine and travel related post, I am feeling… lighter. I think I’ve just done some good reflection and processing! I am looking forward to welcoming a new year – with big hopes of a bit more normalcy and less craziness. I’m grateful for good friends, family, work I love doing, and a kitty to keep me company.
My New Year’s Eve will consist of a warm bath, a guided meditation, then I’ll turn up the music that makes me happy in hopes it will make me do a little shake, then I’ll make my olive oil drizzled crab and lobster stuffed ravioli alongside a glass (probably the bottle) of Champagne.
Blanc de Noirs (100% Pinot Noir)
“Changing your perspective, changes your experience.”
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it.”
I have big hopes for 2022, and I hope you do too.
Cheers to you & to creating a magical year ahead,