Sometimes the new year isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and I’m here to tell you that that’s okay. That maybe the fresh start is that whole idea in and of itself. Let me explain:
New Year’s Eve has long been an occasion for which many people get their hopes up. If you’re like me you’ve always pictured big lavish parties with sequins and glitter and glam. And if you’re like me, the closest you’ve gotten to that is an overdressed experience at the Chesterville Legion with drinks in plastic cups, and a dance floor covered in beer that you inevitably wiped out on. Sequins, sure. Glam, not a bit.
After trying to live out the magic last year at Niagara Falls with ET Canada, and freezing our tushes off in -30 degree weather, Joey and I decided that Chinese food and watching the ball drop on TV was much more our speed and comfort for our second new year together. But when midnight struck and the inspirational quotes were plastered all over Instagram I couldn’t help but feel stressed over my lack of clarity for the year ahead. Teal’s 2016 was already off to a hell of a start in Australia and I found my new year’s resolution sounding like “trust in God’s path for me”, “be happy with all my blessings”, yada yada yada. Poor Joey was the one to console me as I tearfully and dramatically confessed that I hated birthdays and New Years and any other time stamp where major declarations are to be made with glee. (In reality, I’m one of the more hopeful people on the planet so whether these moments of doubt were brought on by raging hormones or my impending sickness remain to be seen.)
The next day, January 2nd, 2016. My entire family is now in Toronto along with members of our extended hockey family to watch my brother play. It’s a special weekend as he is rarely, if ever, on the Canadian side of the border and everyone made the 4 hour trip to stay in a hotel and join in on the hockey-weekend routine. I blame my downer attitude about the New Year and the way I ignored my body’s cries for rest throughout the Christmas break for the bad karma that was a deathly sore throat when I woke up. This time I knew that a Halls and a tea wasn’t curing anything. No sir, my achey breaky heart and achey breaky bones were locked in for a good dose of strep.
A couple Tylenol had me through the day alright but come time for supper, my fever was spiking. Chills, burning up, chills, burning up, some terrible combination of the two, vomiting, laying on the cold marble floor of Mom and Dad’s 37th floor fancy hotel room. I was a goner. Completely ruined Kare and Bri’s sleep and relaxing train trip weekend away. By 7am Sunday morning we were jammed into my Malibu and bound for Manotick, leaving the family and hockey fam to watch the second game. I was a mess in the back seat - struggling to swallow, catch my breath, and keep a good temperature.
I’m not playing a sad tune. The strep was instantly soothed by a dose of Penicillin and my soul was warmed by the continued love and support of Bri and Kare. Bri hates the city yet navigated it perfectly to get us outta there. Kare hates riding in my car but rode uncomfortably the entire way home without peeping a word about her disappointment. She then proceeded to wait on me and make sure I was comfortable, drive me around looking for a walk-in clinic. Absolute rockstars.
After ALL THAT, the point of my story: it’s now January 7th and I’m late heading back to Kingston to assume my duties and responsibilities. I’m still in recovery from the worst bout of strep I have ever had (and me and my elementary school best friend passed it back and forth atleast once a year as kids, so I know my strep). As I laid on the bathroom floor of that 37th floor hotel room, suffering like a doggie, I couldn’t stop thinking about what I’d done to deserve a start to the new year like this. The same thoughts I always get when I’m seriously sick: why me, I don’t have time for this, I’m being such a burden. But as I look back now, with a slightly clearer throat and a wholely clearer mind, I know that my original resolution, trust in God’s path for me, was the right one all along.
Yes, I got very sick at the start of the new year but what it reminded me of was that I moped through the fall feeling sad and sorry for myself for being stuck in Kingston while all my friends had moved onto bigger and better. I failed to truly appreciate the blessing that is the Masters degree I am “stuck” there completing. I failed to take care of myself, body, mind and soul, by eating a healthy diet and staying active. I failed to do all of these things because I was not trusting in the path that I was on and what would come out of it. I was so preoccupied with not having a destination, a world tour or a big showy job to work towards, that I forgot about the right now and the body that will carry me everywhere I need to go. And now, only after seeing the light (okay I’m joking, it was bad but it was just strep throat so it wasn’t THAT bad) am I able to say “Mad, today is January 7, 2016. You have 6 days left on your Penicillin prescription and you are about to kick 2016’s butt by being grateful for the path you are on and taking care of yourself while you’re at it.”