Goodbye 2021 – Hello 2022

New Year’s Day Tradition

Since 2015, when I married my husband and moved overseas to Qatar, I enjoyed a tradition of starting each New Year’s Day in a different country.

I was able to start this tradition because Michael and I worked in education and during Christmas Break, we would travel.

I’m allowing myself the indulgence of revisiting this tradition’s journey in an effort to get me into the reflecting mood…

January 1st, 2016 Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt – Snorkeling in the Red Sea

I was in the water so much, as you can see, my fingers are wrinkled.

January 1st, 2017 – Flying out of Geneva, Switzerland to Return Home to Qatar

Last bit of foodie freedom before returning to a country that authorizes where alcohol and pork can be served.

January 1st, 2018 – Flying out of Prague, Czechia to Return Home to Qatar

Just like Switzerland, we savored the last bit of alcohol freedom (me, more so then Michael, as you can tell by the expression on our faces!).

January 1st, 2019 – Tbilisi, Georgia – Touring Around This Once Small Union Republic of the USSR

I’m wearing a papakha hat, a hat traditionally worn by the moutain people of the region. As well, I’m standing in front of traditional Georgian sweets called churchkhela. Churchkhela is a fruit or nut on a string then dipped in fruit juice and dried in the shape of a sausage!  It’s very sweet and has a waxy texture.

Funny story – in this photo I’m explaining, again, to the elderly shopkeeper who did not speak English how to use my camera. Once she figured it out – the game was on! She took about 100 photos of me! Not really, but my exaggeration is to give you the idea of her fun!

January 1st, 2020 – Huatulco, Oaxaca, Mexico – Chilling out on Chahué Beach After our “Polar Bear” Dip

When we moved back to Canada in 2019, my waking up in a new country on New Year’s Day tradition continued as we traveled to Mexico for the Christmas holidays.

Yes, this New Year’s Day we suffered through the warm, but somewhat chilly waters of the Pacific Ocean to endure a “polar bear” swim!

Adapting The Tradition

January 1st, 2021Canning, Nova Scotia, Canada – Walking Cape Split

COVID was in full swing.

As a result, travel was put on the back burner while we continued our focus towards the eventual building of our home and development of our property.

I wanted to somehow continue my tradition of starting 2021 in an exciting way.

So, I took my British Columbia now transplanted to Nova Scotia husband on his first hike of Cape Split.

January 1st, 2022Waverley, Nova Scotia, Canada – Just Chilling

COVID is still hanging around.

We stayed put in Nova Scotia and enjoyed family and each other.

We woke to clean up after a fun evening for family and friends. Next we tore down our little Christmas tree and put everything Christmas away. Then, we chilled – made a fire in the wood stove and spent some time in each other’s arms. Later, we relaxed some more. A long, hot bath followed. Finally, I started working on a helicopter model Santa gave me for Christmas.

All the while, family made their way slowly about their day, too. All was very relaxed and peaceful.

Even our fish were relaxed this day! Meet Edgar Winter, one of our Beta fish. He and Buddha were just chilling, too.

COVID

I am sitting here now, trying to remember the past year.

I’m struggling to do so through the haze of the year long COVID stress fog that has saran wrapped around my brain!

A wrap that perhaps, was a helpful barrier from the virus fear frenzy.

I also had to be vaccinated to keep my job.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

2021

A lot of wonderful moments happened in 2021, including my Minute of Mindfulness, my Anxiety Support Group, getting to know Michael’s family and my return to kayaking.

Some sad moments happened too, mainly the death of our young cat Bob who drowned in Falls Lake and my having to be COVID vaccinated against my will to keep my job.

We grieved Bob…

And I navigated a horrible powerless feeling of having the government force me to be vaccinated against my will to keep my job.

Yes, I could be one of those who decide to quit my job to stand up for my beliefs.

But, as the poem Desiderata says – “Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

I value my job and how I contribute to the community.

Yet, I couldn’t talk about my horrible feelings of defeat of having to be vaccinated to keep my job, at my job.

I feared I would be slotted by some as an “anti-vaccor” and possibly treated as a pariah.

But, as time passed some of us “anti-vaccors” found each other and secretly shared our dismay.

It’s just such a mess, this COVID thing.

However, there is a lot of truth in Robert Tew’s quote about how the struggle I am in today, strengthen’s me for tomorrow.

COVID is teaching me how to develop and navigate my personal beliefs about this virus in a world of vastly different views on it. This sure is a learning curve.

Photo Credit – Pinterest

Setting Off Onto The 2022 Path

Continued Self-Care

This year I will continue the deep dive into my mental health that I began the last months of 2021. I’ve a plan in place including a psychological assessment for diagnosis and weekly therapy sessions in hopes to finally know why my brain is the way it is, meaning the level of anxiety and dissociation that can happen with me.

Medically prescribed CBD and THC are a continued and integral part of my anxiety management plan. I use oils and slips to help me navigate my day with a calm, clear and as best as possible, rational mind.

2022 will be:

  • the start of my third year of running as a form of regular exercise
  • the start of my third year living an alcohol free life
  • the start of my second year not eating chicken, beef and pork

This year I would like to focus on regular stretching after a run.

Photo by Tamba Budiarsana on Pexels.com

As well, more focus on interesting plant-based recipes.

Photo by Polina Kovaleva on Pexels.com

Anxiety Support Group

In 2021, I created and facilitate an Anxiety Support Group for the community.

I’m quite proud of this.

It was something I was looking for and when I couldn’t find what I was looking for in a support group for anxiety, I created one.

It has been a slow start, getting the word out there and finding a location that works for everyone.

I’m excited to start this year off in a new location – a community hall. Fingers crossed!

Minute of Mindfulness

In 2021, inspired by Tamara Levitt and Jeff Warren’s daily guided meditations on Calm, I created the Minute of Mindfulness where, twice a week in the morning before announcements and Oh Canada is played, I guide the school I work at in a short guided mediation.

I’m super proud of this, too. This is perhaps one of my most favorite aspects of my job now. I feel a deep satisfaction, a deep connection to the entire school and look forward to continuing this practice for the rest of the 2022 school year.

Both the Anxiety Support Group and Minute of Mindfulness are ideas that came to me while running.

The below video is a recording I did at the request of my husband, so he could hear an example of the Minute of Mindfulness.

This particular morning, it was busy in the office as I stood at the PA system to start the meditation. What I always find rewarding is how, in its busy morning as everyone settles in, slowly… a quiet falls over the entire school. There is a true moment of stillness in the building.

Space For Reiki

Developing a Reiki practice has been a struggle because it requires space – space in my brain to think about Reiki begetting the time to practice, to then have the physical space for a massage table as well as the physical energy to give treatments.

As Michael and I are in the planning stages of building our house and developing our property, we haven’t had our own space to live in and have been living in temporary locations to bring us there.

This has presented struggles of having the mental and physical space to practice.

True, I can practice Reiki in a chair.

Anywhere.

But, I am all about having a space.

I need a space where I can close the world out and immerse myself in Reiki.

At this time, I have the physical space with a massage table to practice on.

Next, are my hopes to actually get the space in my brain to start thinking Reiki.

Then, to have the physical energy in a busy life with a full time job to start a part-time practice, again.

I need to somehow get my momentum going…

Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

Can It Be?

The spring/summer that the building of our home and development of our property begins?

I sure hope so, it will be three years in the making!

Property
House Plans

We’re a bit like George Lucas when he started the Star Wars saga with Episode IV – A New Hope, we’re starting our house plans out of order, with building the garage first.

Our thinking is by building the smaller structure first, we see how much it costs to build the main structure.

If we can’t afford to build the main structure, then we remodel the garage space into the main structure.

But, we don’t foresee this happening.

If we can afford to build the main structure after building the garage, then we continue to live in the studio apartment above the garage as we build the main structure.

Once the main building is complete, we move in and rent out the studio apartment!

Michael has spent the last year designing our house plans. He is like Captain Picard, he knows every nut, bolt, crook and corner of his ship, our custom-designed geodesic dome home.

I haven’t yet allowed myself to become excited for our house because this process has taken a few years. The 3-D drawings feel more like a computer program project than an actual plan to be built.

That said, I do have mini-moments of imagining myself being excited and totally into the building of our dome home once it gets started!

What I am feeling is a confidence in the process of building a home – because we are not in a rush. We are taking our time with the planning that parallels the actual accessibility of our property.

Travel? I Sure Want Some!

I’m at this place where my COVID saran wrapped brain needs a break from everything COVID fear based.

I’m hearing stories of those who have traveled and have been in locations where COVID isn’t running everyone’s life and scaring the general population in a fear frenzy.

I want myself some of this.

Michael and I are talking about a trip for March Break.

Somewhere.

Anywhere.

Hopefully, by March Break COVID has been down graded in Canada to a cold.

Or, maybe not and when March Break arrives it will be a staycation.

Scattered to Smooth

I feel like I have this writers block with what I am trying to articulate, communicate, say, express, create, in this blog.

I branched out on a variety of tangents with a purpose of finding a purpose.

To wrap my head around this past year.

A year I’m having a difficult time remembering.

I feel like I have to remind myself what the year was like.

What I’ve done.

How I’ve grown from set backs.

What I’ve accomplished.

And where I am going.

I do enjoy having a plan.

I like to know where I am going and how to make that happen!

Photo Credit – QuoteHD

That Said

Photo Credit – Lessonslearnedinlife

I Wonder What 2022 Will Bring?

Whatever happens, I wish for you a year that tests you limits, makes you grow, lets you laugh until your belly hurts and love until your heart overflows…

Stephanie,☀️

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