… that I hosted my first family dinner.
I invited my family for dinner in January. And since I accomplished that, I had the confidence to invite them for dinner again before Christmas. I hope to make it a yearly tradition.
… that I returned to Hawaii.
I once thought Hawaii was an unattainable destination, and then I went there. In 2014 that magical vacation destination was revisited and it was just as magnificent the second time around. Not only have I been blessed to have been to Hawaii once, I got to go there a second time. And in 2015, I will make it a third. There is something so special about Kailua-Kona that just feels like home. It’s unpretentiousness and down to earth vibe makes me feel like I could move there and fit right in. I had the opportunity to explore more of Maui’s beauty by hiking in the Iao Valley and driving the Road to Hana. The humpback whales, honus, and waterfalls were all incredible! And I’ve never seen a beach quite like Punalu’u’s black sand. The colors were so bright there, it was like I was seeing it in high definition.
… that I admitted I needed help.
I finally worked up the courage and got help for the depression that had been slowly creeping in over the years. How do you cope with a mom who is there , but not there? How do you deal with feeling alone? It got too much. The anxiety got too great. When you go to Hawaii and still feel anxious, you know you need help. I let go of my ego and accepted that sometimes, you need meds to reset your chemical balance. And you know what? I started to feel more like myself again. It’s a hard thing to ask for help, and Lord knows I had a hard time when I finally went looking for some. But eventually, I got the help I needed.
… that I finally accepted my mother’s disease.
I think this was the year that I finally got it. I finally stopped being mad/angry/in denial that my mother has Alzheimer’s Disease and she can’t help it. I know it is not what she wanted for herself, and I know she would not want me to suffer because of her illness. It is not by choice, and if she could change it, she would. I think this is the year that I got that, stopped wallowing in it and tried to enjoy the time I had with mom as she is. It was hard, and sometimes I had to choose her over other people, but when I thought about it, what would I regret more? I decided it was more important not to disappoint my mother and to create happy memories with her. Her disease has progressed even in the two months between when I was home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I don’t know what the future holds, but it’s not looking good. I am so glad I went to PEI every opportunity I had last summer, because the way things are looking, she’s probably not going to get over there next summer.
I am glad I finally got to see Leon Gallant’s concert with her. His music would light her up! She sang, and tapped her feet, and would get so excited every time she told me how wonderful he is. I am glad I went swimming with her, for every ice cream cone I ate with her, and for every time I sat outside with her. I made her a photo book for Christmas of pictures of our family and the beach from last year. She’s a little more lost and vacant now than she was, and her reaction wasn’t as animated as I had hoped for. But there were moments when she would smile as we flipped through the pages. And once, when we were looking a picture of my dad in the water, she managed to say that he didn’t like the swimming. And I knew my mom was still there in that statement. Dad never liked the water, and he only swims maybe once a year, if the conditions are right. And through the disease, my mom still managed to break through and joke about my dad’s dislike for the water.
… that I turned thirty.
Life at thirty is so much different than I expected it to be when I was younger. I am not married. I don’t have kids. I’m not even sure if I want children?? I didn’t move to some giant city in the States before eventually moving back home. I don’t host weekly dinner parties for all my friends.
But I have travelled to more places than I ever thought I would. And my family is more important to me than I ever thought they would be. I’ve gained a closer relationship to my dad. If anything, I’ve realized more than ever, that I’m a work in progress and want to be a better, kinder, more compassionate person.
… that I went to Spain.
If you’re going to have a milestone birthday, you might as well make a trip! And why not go to Europe? I love history, beautiful architecture and landscapes, beaches and palm trees, and the Mediterranean, so Spain fit the bill. Another travel goal accomplished!
... that I found yoga again.
Yoga is something I have practiced since University, sometimes more, and sometimes less in my life. I found a great yoga community in Truro, and then I moved and struggled to find a new yoga studio. By this time, the depression really set in and I had a hard time motivating myself to get on my mat. Thank goodness I still managed to drag myself to some yoga classes, because I’m sure I would have felt worse without them. Eventually, once I got help for the depression, those old “feel good” feelings and that sense that “everything is right in the world” that I’d get after a yoga class started to come back. I’m still working on getting myself to practice every day again, and I’m hoping 2015 will be the year I achieve that, but I’ve made great progress.
I’ve found two yoga teachers who I “get.” One has the creative flow that I admire, and challenges me to try poses I think are beyond my capabilities. The other motivates me to be a better person. She will say things, and and it’s like she knows exactly what’s going on in my life and what I need to hear. Before Christmas, she brought in a banner that read “If there is light in the soul, there is beauty in the person” and that spoke volumes to me. For so long, I felt like there was darkness in me. And I’m starting to feel like I’m finding my light again. Yoga makes me more compassionate. And when I am compassionate, I am more caring. And when I’m more caring, I’m better at dealing with my mother’s disease, and I’m better at my job. Yoga makes me a better, kinder person. And for that I am grateful.
Here’s hoping 2015 will be even more awesome!
Happy New Year!