Starting the new year off on the right foot: sober, healthy and ready for anything that life has to bring. Celebrating day one in Sannichton BC, 15 minutes south of Victoria airport where mom and dad have been house-sitting for the past 11 years. This year is their last here on Mount Newton as the owners have finally sold the property and all 3 horses have passed away. We’ve had some great times here in this barn, a place like no other, stables below and a precious loft above, 1100 square feet of paradise overlooking a valley.

In a place that rarely sees snow, each time I’ve come to visit I seem to bring the white stuff with me. This particular visit I’ve seen eight and a half inches! It’s just become a running joke at this point; it even happens when other family members come for a stay. Colin and I arrived on Christmas day, watched the snow fall for three days, made our way to Sidney, Brentwood Bay and Victoria, mostly stopping in thrift stores and book stores, enjoying time spent together with mom and dad. My parents are some of the greatest characters you’ll ever meet.

We spent the last day of the year sharing in conversation, sharing stories and crying in laughter. We were all snug in our beds come midnight as pops of fireworks echoed through the hills. Going into the new year I’ve set no resolutions — I’ve set way too many in the past, just to let myself down. I guess if I had to make one for 2022, it would be to take one day at a time, no fancy elaborate promise, but something easier said than done sometimes.

Remaining in the present moment is the best way to secure a better future. I tend to get so caught up with what remains to be done, the “should do’s” or “could do’s”, constantly worrying what’s next. It’s hard to keep my mind in the present moment — it’s always wandering here or there — and that’s definitely something I can work on in the new year.

We have one more day left on the Island before heading back north to the -30°C temperatures. By the time we arrive home, I’m sure I’ll see the ice fishing shacks on the lake, a winter event I’ve been looking forward to all summer long. With winter solstice now behind us I’m looking forward to the longer days and more sunshine, more outdoor time around the fire pit, hiking the trails and play time outside.

My greatest desire is to be better than I was the year before, to smile and laugh more, to build on my confidence, attend in person meetings in Slave Lake, give back to what’s so freely been given to me, set goals and work hard on achieving them. God has his plans for me and it’s up to me to follow through. I have the best of intentions at times. For the most part I do what I say I’ll do, yet I still find myself making excuses and bowing out on the most important things, like self-care, meditation and prayer, which fills me up and fuels me up with good energy and gratitude.

With this new-found clarity, it’s up to me to follow through with the more important things in life. Of course, life has a way of interrupting your best laid plans; there’s usually a way around it, if you keep your excuses at bay, if you look for the solution rather than the problem. It’s about training yourself, blazing new trails, doing things differently than you ever have before. At first there is going to be lots of resistance, doubt and skepticism, yet with a positive attitude and perseverance, the follow through will bring the greatest rewards, more confidence and ultimate happiness.

Just as I rely on others, I must learn how to rely on myself; the more excuses I make, the shittier I feel, and the only one stopping me is myself. The follow through is just as important as the action itself, maybe even more. We all have the potential to learn more things, more ways of treating ourselves right. Pain is the greatest motivator of change, and for myself it seems I have to go through the pain before any real change happens.

Perhaps this year I can make some changes before the pain, by following through on my plans. Adaptability is an important skill, because life doesn’t care what your plans are — like the saying goes… “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade!”

On Christmas Day, our flight was delayed three hours, so we had french toast at three in the afternoon. We had planned on renting bicycles and riding around the island, go visit the ocean, hike in the woods, yet it snowed eight inches and everything froze up, so mom made curling rocks and dad cleared a 40 foot deck and we had a blast playing a game of curling. We made a snowwoman that was five feet tall and named her Sally. Sometimes you just need a different perspective on things — reach out to family and friends and don’t forget the follow through for 2022!

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