Reflections: Love, Life and Loss

This year’s been a doozy. A 365-day whirlwind of weddings, old jobs, new jobs, re-connecting with friends, love, laughter, a dream vacation, hope, excitement, disappointment and most importantly a rediscovery of dreams, reimagined to fit my life today and brought to life with the support and love of friends and family. In essence, a year of love, life and loss.

Of Love: I’m at the age now where many of my friends are getting engaged, and a select few are already married. The weddings I did attend this summer were all a beautiful affirmation of love followed by a kickass party. I’ve never been one to get emotional or shed a tear in public, but dang, the speeches got me, especially one from the father-of-the-bride who spoke about the power of connections. It got me thinking of the connections I’ve been fortunate to have, primarily my partner of 6 years and of course my more-than-awesome parents, but also of the people who have entered my life, in some form or another. The older I get, the smaller my tribe has become – but those that remain are the ones I can count on for anything, who would literally drop what they’re doing and fly across the country if something happened and who I could ask my silliest questions and deepest fears without fear of judgment. They are my rocks and I am eternally grateful for them.

Of Life: Saying this was the year of personal growth would be a serious understatement. I was put through the wringer – and while I got through it, it was a tough one. But here’s what I learned: it’s ok to say no. It’s also ok to leave. Choosing to leave isn’t failure when you’ve tried every avenue but nothing’s worked. It’s not giving up if you’ve put the time in and haven’t gotten anything out. It’s also not weakness if you ask for help. It’s fine to voice your thoughts, concerns but also gratitude (who has ever said you thank them too much?!). When it comes to yourself, the only opinion that matters is your own. Ignore the doubters and the haters, even when that may be you. Whatever you may call it — witchy senses, gut decisions, that tingling feeling — trust it. And whatever happens, happens for a reason, you just don’t know it yet (and hot dang, waiting is hard!).

Of Loss: I recently lost my grandmother to a stroke. She was 92 years old and 100% healthy, walking every day and engaging in deep, political and philosophical discussions. So it came as a surprise when she suffered from a stroke, and 2 weeks later, passed peacefully in her home. Of course the loss I feel is immense – this was the woman who inspired me to think beyond just myself; to put my anger and resentment aside, making room for forgiveness and peace; she was and always will be my champion, who, despite all that she endured personally, advocated for love above all else (see a theme here?). So whatever grudge you’re holding or anger you’re harbouring, let 2017 be the year you let it go. Instead, fill yourself with love and gratitude for all that you have in your life. From friends, family, puppies, pet hamsters, matcha tea and latte art, endless belly laughs and walks on the beach — whatever makes YOU happy — fill 2017 with it.

While I have you here, I wanted to say thank you. To all my peers, colleagues, readers – thank YOU for being my endless source of inspiration and support. Thank you for continuing to be here and for letting me share my stories, however silly they may be.

I don’t have resolutions, I have goals. Some are more lofty than others, and some I know I’m going to hit out of the park, while others are down because I feel guilty (like, come on – I will NEVER drink enough water each day no matter how hard I try). But in the spirit of my first goal, I wanted to share all that I have planned for myself in 2017:

Fear less. Don’t wait. Say yes. Trust your heart. Love your tribe. Hug your parents. Avoid toxic relationships. Don’t flake. Eat that dessert you’ve been eyeing. Laugh more. Ignore the fine lines around your eyes. Put on makeup. Don’t put on makeup. Challenge yourself. Set goals. Love yourself for all that you are and all that you can be. And for God’s sake, stop comparing yourself to everyone else. Oh, and wash your face before you go to bed (or at least use those face wipes you left on your bedside table)!

So there you have it, my advice for the new year. I’m excited to see what you all get up to, to see what amazing projects you have up your sleeve. I know I do, and I can’t wait to share.

Happy holidays and see you in 2017! From, Ana

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