It’s been seven months since my last anything on my own website. That’s bad. It doesn’t take much time or energy to realize just how bad that is. But it’s not for a lack of trying. Or, rather, not for a lack of sheer willpower to try.

I know I’m not alone on the difficulty of 2014, a year that will go down in history – note: my own personal history, not that of existence – as one of the most difficult years on record. It’s years like 2014 that make me wish Mulligans weren’t just the thing of golf. I’ve been broke, predominantly unemployed, overworked, under-rested, stressed out, freaked out, an anxious wreck, and an emotional time bomb. For those of you who know me, I’m a pretty emotional person. This year allowed me to explore said emotional tendency to new depths never before seen.

In short, I floundered. Some of the time it was my own fault, a lesson many twenty-somethings in similar positions struggle to learn. That life doesn’t simply happen to you – you are often responsible. Taking responsibility can be hard, but it’s a necessarily painful pill to swallow.

While swallowing said jagged little pill, however, I also found that I wasn’t the cause of all of this year’s “fun”. That can be worse than knowing you did it to yourself – that there was nothing you could do either way.

I barely wrote, because time simply did not allow it. Energy was scarce, at times I was working multiple jobs. At one point I had four … or was it five? I’ve lost track. I’ve narrowed it down to two and that’s still proving cumbersome. So what does a newly-minted 27 year old do about this?

Pick up your big kid pants and keep on sluggin’ through.

While this year has blown every theoretical testicle in Canada (sorry for the mental image, folks,) I’ve still learned a lot. I walk away scathed but knowing more about resilience, fortitude, resourcefulness, and self-reliance. I’m stronger for it. Or at least I will be soon enough. Self-improvement is, after all, a process.

This year, I’ve been neglectful. To myself and to my writing. I’ve watched opportunities pass me by. I’ve missed deadlines, been incapable of attending screenings, not had the money to pick up my own slack, and I’ve let connections falter. I’ve taken emotional beatings and flack from people who wouldn’t understand my situation, and painful criticism from people who knew just how hard I really needed to be pushed, and in what direction. Ties were severed, and loved ones did their duties. For all of it, the deepest depths of The Suck, the impenetrable highs of encouragement, the self-scrutiny and painful lessons, I’m thankful.

But it’s time to reign things in. It’s time I got back to really living my life, instead of feeling trapped in it.

Yesterday was my birthday. I am now 27 years old. Conveniently, my birthday is quite close to New Years. I’ve always considered my birthday to be my own personal New Years … not really a unique thought, is it? What a concept! But here we are. I am a year older, a bit wiser, and finally starting to grapple with a true understanding of hard work. It’s less painful to sit down these days.

I make no grand resolutions. No sweeping gestures, or promises to myself. If I don’t lose 10 pounds by summer, fuck it. I’m healthy. I am building a home with my best friend and the love of my life. I’m strengthening old relationships, and forging new ones. And, as per the teachings of one of my oldest and dearest friends, I’ve learned to really love myself. As far as I’m concerned, I’m ahead of the curve. So my vows to myself are simple:

  • I will work harder at the things that matter.
  • Devote less energy to the things that don’t.
  • Live healthily.
  • Live positively.
  • Be open to more opportunities, no matter how strange.
  • Love completely and live fully.

So here’s to the next year, and the next 27.

A photo of me at what I can only imagine is one year old, likely taken by my father.

A photo of me at what I can only imagine is one year old, likely taken by my father.