Time and the New Year

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I do not mistrust the future. I do not fear what is ahead. For our problems are large. But our heart is larger. Our challenges are great. But our will is greater.

New Years.

I was puttering around my website the other day and came across a blog post I had made after mine and Rudy’s wedding. As I was making a mental note to fix the format of the photos, the last sentence caught my eye. 

“So as I depart on my own little solo adventure, be sure to follow along – 2018 is a year for me to get back into my writing, be honest with myself, and love every word that comes out onto the paper. Or screen. Regardless of if it scares me or not.”

First of all, how strange it is to look back on a post that doesn’t seem that far away. Yet it was an entire year ago. At the time when I was writing out that sentence, I had the entire year of 2018 ahead of me. All hope no regrets, all wonder no challenges. Now I sit here typing these words and well, 2018 is gone yet the hope and and wonder of 2019 is upon me. It’s upon us. 

What a strange gift and burden time is.  

So many of us want a new year, a fresh slate, so we can change something we’re not happy about. We want to start all over again and become someone new. Or at least, our perception of a better version of ourselves. When time is in front of us, the world seems possible. When we feel we are given the ability and the chance to reset, hope is in the planning and the dreaming.

That’s when time becomes a gift. 

When is it a burden?

When our time is up. When we feel we didn’t utilize the time we were given, when something didn’t go out way, when a loved one is lost. 

When we’re trying to desperately re-live or re-create a time in our past when we were happy. Care-free. Again, our perception of a better version of ourselves or of a better moment than the one we’re in. 

This is when time becomes a burden. Because we aren’t really here. We aren’t really living the life that is stretched out wide in front of us, full of hope, promise, and wonder. 

I get stuck here too, sometimes. 

Losing Connor had monumental challenges and changes for our family unit. When you’re used to having five people around at all times suddenly four becomes small. It becomes empty. And having attempted (definitely attempted) to navigate that change over the last five years has been nothing short of brutal, uncomfortable, and heart-wrenching.

But that’s because I was holding on to what it felt like when the five of us were home. 

Obviously that’s not going to be possible to recreate and over this past year I’ve been trying to let that go and realize that just because I am trying to do that, does not mean I am letting go of Connor. On the contrary, I am giving Connor’s memories the time and space that they deserve. Acknowledging the time in my life when the five of us were doing life all together. The big events, the mundane ordinary days, the games in the back yard, the homework at the dinner tables, the family vacations and road trips. Those are now going to be deemed as some of the most precious times in my life, solely because Connor was there. 

Giving myself the space to hold on to the past and simultaneously put my hope in the future has freed up energy to be more present. Trying to recreate things and feelings of the past only leads to disappointments. Whether that’s an awesome dinner party you threw, a fantastic vacation you had, or just an incredible day. 

The days that haven’t happened yet will have their own unique magic to them. If you try to make it something it might not be, you may be stripping it of what it was originally going to offer you. What the day or the challenge or the season had in store for you. You’re missing it.

Don’t miss it. 

And perhaps that’s why I like writing so much. Why I am that annoying friend that wants to stop every thirty seconds to document and take photos of whatever we’re doing. It’s a way to freeze time, but in a way that you’ll be able to appreciate as you move forward. You can look back on those times and be suddenly transported into that memory. Old journals I have of our family vacations and times with Connor, all of our photos that we took together, those are so so precious. Because that’s what I have now. I don’t have the promise of more coffee-dates and trips to the beach in the future. I have the past. I have my memories. I have time to thank for that and time to thank as I also move forward, holding memories forever close to my heart. 

So looking back to last year’s words: 

“So as I depart on my own little solo adventure, be sure to follow along – 2018 is a year for me to get back into my writing, be honest with myself, and love every word that comes out onto the paper. Or screen. Regardless of if it scares me or not.”

I was leaving my newly-wed husband and departing on my own adventure in Indonesia by myself. Not too many couples I know promise to spend forever with each other and then flee a month later. But that was our story and I was learning to be okay with it and stand up for what we were doing. My season last year was one of many personal challenges; I became horrendously sick for over a month, I lived in a very dirty and run down hotel room (with cockroaches sometimes surprising me on the floor in the morning), the food was not good and is what was actually making me sick, I couldn’t communicate with my team, and the time difference made it next to impossible to communicate with family back home. These are all taken-for-granted comforts that were stripped from me. As well as being away from Rudy for five months. So many unique challenges popped up on the way but I am here now, writing these words the following year in Lima. Rudy is sitting across the table from me and the sun is shining outside our apartment. Seasons can look so different but each are offering their own unique story and their own unique place in time. 

Don’t freeze it out and don’t try to recreate anything. If I have any sort of advice it would be to let things happen how they’re suppose to. We aren’t in control of this world, we simply aren’t powerful enough to do that, so let’s just throw our hands up and see what the world has in store for us. 

“2018 is a year for me to get back into my writing, be honest with myself, and love every word that comes out onto the paper.” 

I definitely got back to my writing. And even though I left my precious journal of the last 3 years on the place home after World Championships (I almost cried many of times) it has somehow found it’s way back to me. 

Did I love every word I wrote down? Heck no. Sometimes those words scared the crap out of me. And when my journal was lost I was pretty convinced that some flight attendant was going to read it and make it into a book. “The psychotic thoughts of Volleyball Canada’s captain.” Would be a real juicy treat. 

Was I honest with myself? Yes. 

I can say that for certain I am becoming more honest. I am now allowing myself to freely recognize what I need. I know the things that are necessary for me to continue moving forward, the things that I need to help fill my soul back up, and what I need to say no to and make boundaries for. Whether I do them or not is an entirely different thing (let’s save that for next year 2019 shall we?) but I have acknowledged them. I am creating the space.

So cheers to time; the precious memories of the past and the hope of the future. There’s nothing else quite like it. A thing that is both uniquely and independently a gift and a burden. A thing where everything fits in to, in it’s own unique way. Time. 

Let’s use our time wisely in 2019. Let’s start making changes for the better. Not just for us but for those around us. And bring the people that we have lost on this journey with us.

And here’s a little pinnable inspiration below. Or download it and use it as a phone background / daily reminder; “This will all make perfect sense someday.”