In no way do I feel like a victim, but I will admit to often feeling very confused and lost this past year. I’ve learned so much about people this year. There are specific people who have surprised me and have behaved in a way I never would have believed and....then there is just a new awareness about humanity, in general, that I’ve come to notice. This experience has been very exciting; and in some cases caused great anguish. But...that truly is the journey of life. Alice once said,
“Imagine how the world might be if we look at it with wonder and curiosity.”
And that is how I try and choose to look at my world.
Financially the girls and I have struggled most of this year. As some of you know, in 2011 I resigned/retired from my 20 yr career with public service in order to pursue a new career. In 2011 I registered my for profit business. I registered my not for profit organization in 2012. The first eight months of 2012 seemed to start of very well but...ended in confusion and chaos.
I felt as if I had gone “right bonkers.”
~ But I’ll tell you a secret, all the best people are.”
As 2013 began, ignorantly I still believed I could rely on the commitments of others. I learned very quickly, that would prove to be another life lesson I would be reminded of - that is not always true. Before the first quarter of the year was over, I realized, without an income, I would become almost solely financially responsible for the costs of caring for my children. Very quickly, I was forced into establishing a budget without knowing what expenses to expect. I tried to rely on my past experienced. Wow...was I off! Let me share one of the Four Agreements with you again...this hit me upside the head many times this year; “Don’t make ANY assumptions.”
Oh and... $1000-1200/m to feed clothe, educate, cover house and auto repairs, health care costs, care for a pet, and more...for four people...is darn near impossible. To all those angels who saw what we were going through....THANK YOU for all your helped out!!!! You have no idea what your generosity meant and means to my children and I.
Some of the highlights in 2013, for me, include....a renewed relationship with daughters, my parents and my brother. Getting reacquainted with my friends and meeting so many new ones. I had forgotten what it was like to have friends to spend “girly” time with and do crazy things like, drinking tea, reading cards, giggling, cutting down a Christmas tree, hanging lights, installing a toilet and chatting – sometimes till the wee hours of dawn. I’ve read some great books and watched some good movies. Oh and OMG....the person I’ve rediscovered and who I had forgotten about... ME!!!!!
I learned how to work a snow blower, change a car battery and chase critters out of the attic. I learned how ask for help and accept it graciously. I’ve found a reliable car service...the Muffler Man; Thank you for treating me like a person and not taking advantage of me because I’m female’. I’ve also learned just how important it is to make sure home maintenance is kept up; not only does it cost a ton to repair when left unaddressed....but it also negatively impacts the value of your home.
This year, my daughter and father took me to NYC ~ Broadway to see The Glass Menagerie. I spent an afternoon with Jebb Bush in Toronto and an afternoon in the House of Commons followed by a private reception as a guest of Hon Steven Harper; PM in Ottawa. My brother made it possible for my daughters and me to continue our annual fall trip to Bronner’s in Mi. It was also the second year my parents were able to join us.
In so many ways....2013 has been bitter sweet for my daughters; from crushed dreams of post secondary school to school honour roll, and everything in between. My eldest has chose to attend Continuing Education classes, my middle daughter returned for a victory lap and my youngest graduates this spring. Together our goal is that the all three will attend some sort of post secondary program in the fall of 2014. It is not an unrealistic goal, but it will require a LOT of hard work and hopes that factors outside of our control to go as they should.
I cannot say enough, how impressed and proud I am of my daughters – their understanding of the situation and their commitment to work together is brilliant and amazing. I truly am blessed with and thankful for all their love and support!!!!
During 2013 I completed my Reflexology course, became an Indian Head Massage practitioner, and I earned my Nia Instruction certification – White Belt. For both my businesses, I’ve been a guest speaker, participated in Expo’s and co-ordinated several events. One of the businesses, or entities, that I started is a non-profit organization called Artistically Speaking OutAgainst Bullying. Our board of directors doubled in size this year and during Nat’l Anti-Bullying Awareness week we coordinated several events to raise awareness and funds: There was the Orchestra London and the Grand performances we sold tickets for, a community conversation evening about Bullying we facilitated and two SafeTalk (suicide awareness) certification training sessions we hosted.
In spite of all the challenges my daughters and I have had to face, I think we did ok. For me, it is proof we could do so much better, if certain matters were resolved. It is my hope, that there will be a fair and equitable resolution to our financial situation and other matters during 2014. Once there is some stability in our lives, I believe the children and I will be able to focus better on our lives and attaining our own goals; hopes and dreams.
As Christmas greets my family and 2013 comes to an end, I am reminded of opportunities lost, barriers overcome, and so many blessings we’ve received.
With hope and excitement, I welcome 2014; believing it will provide my children and me with continued good health, more independence, new challenges and fresh prospects. Until then, here's hoping our Christmas tree hold together a few more days.
From our home to yours...
...a very Merry Christmas to you and a wonderful New Year!