2010: My Year of Packing Light

I didn’t have the New Year’s Eve I thought I would have this year.

I’m usually all about NYE. I get excited. I buy a new dress. I stock up on Champagne even though I don’t even really like it, just because its New Years. I’m that annoying friend who whines and begs and tries to drag you out of the house even when you tell me over and over again that you’d rather stay at home, drinking beer and watching Teen Wolf in your pajamas. This year, eventhough I had spent a really great afternoon having coffee with Kim of The Modish Mama, I realized that once the sun had started to set, my New Year’s Eve Mo-Jo was missing in action.

At 11:55 pm on the 31st, I was curled up on my Mom’s couch, wrapped in a blanket, shivering, unable to warm myself. I felt sick and exhausted. My Mom and I had just finished watching Back to the Future and we were half-way through Teen Wolf. I’m always down for a 1980’s Michael J. Fox marathon however, as the clock inched closer to midnight, I started to feel increasingly sad and anxious.

When the ball dropped & the people on the TV started to sing “Auld Lang Syne”, I could feel the tears start to well up in my eyes. The revelers. The cheering. The extreme happiness. The bad musical performances by Canadian pop singers. None of it jived with how I was feeling at the moment (I mean, when does listening to the likes of Shawn Desmond EVER jive with how I’m feeling?). I just couldn’t watch. I asked my Mom,

“Can we please change the channel?”

I thought maybe if I could forget it was New Years, I’d feel better. My Mom changed the channel to a music documentary but, a few minutes into watching it, I started to cry.

It felt like all of the built up stress & tension from the year had decided to pour out through my eyes.

I think a large part of why I was upset was because of this letter I wrote to myself last year. I thought that if I crossed off all of these things off of my list that by December 31st everything in my life would have fallen perfectly into place. (There is that word again – PERFECT). But, life just isn’t like that. I did a lot of the things that I set out to do last year but, there is still lots of stuff I haven’t figured out and things I am working on. My life is a work in progress (as it should be) but in that moment, all I could feel were the fails, the disapointments, my short-comings.

So, I cried. I cried because I still have more questions than answers. I cried for the people I have lost. I cried for the things that weren’t accomplished. I cried because I have hurt people. I cried because I still have these moments of total anxiety – moments that are much less frequent than they were a year ago but, are still very real when they happen. I cried because I really wanted to write an inspiring New Year’s post but at that moment felt totally and completely uninspired.

In the middle of all this, my Mom wrapped her arms around me, pulled me into her chest and said exactly what I needed to hear:

I know. It’s OK

I woke up the next morning to the sun shining brightly – a winter rarity on the North West Coast- but, I still felt unsettled from the night before. My Mom came into my room and said three more magic words:

“I made coffee”

My Mom and I drank coffee. We talked. We wrapped ourselves in blankets and curled up on the couch with our respective books. We stayed this way until we both felt better.

When the sky started to turn dark, my Mom said;

“We need to eat something”

We got dressed, put on our coats and stepped out into the moist, darkness of our street. That’s when we saw it.

It was one of the most amazing sunsets I have ever seen. I wish I would have taken a photo of it but, I think it was one of those things that is best remembered by your mind’s eye. The buildings and trees on our street created black silhouettes against the orange and magenta sky. We just stood there looking at the sky.


Stunned, I said to my Mom:

“Oh my fucking god. That is beautiful”

She agreed.

It was the perfect moment.

(The moment was made even more perfect by the fact that while we were looking at the sunset a homeless guy with a overflowing shopping cart barreled down the street yelling “MHHHAFFFFFG HAPPPY NEWW YEARRR AHHHHHH!” – not an entirely unexpected occurance in my Mom’s neighborhood.)

Sometimes you need these moments of pure beauty to bitch-slap you back into reality, to remind you that this past year has been full of many perfect moments.

I traveled way more than I ever thought I would. I played in the sand in Santa Monica. I road-tripped to Ohio just so I could scream at the top of my lungs. I swam naked in the ocean in Miami. I met a handful of other girls who also like to live their lives out-loud, convincing me that bloggers are this weird, ultra cool tribe of awesome women that I am so glad I am a part of. I gambled in a casino in Detroit and won big while the Marvin Gaye played in the background. I spent a week in Edmonton visiting my best friend and shared a room with her newborn daughter who is my favorite tiny human ever. I went back and forth to BC three times to spend time with the people I love. I accumulated a lot of Air Miles.

With the exception of swimming naked, none of these moments were items that were crossed off a list and none of these moments were experienced alone.

2010 can be defined by these two words: PACK LIGHT.


I learned that everything you need can fit into a small (now slightly battered) black carry-on rolling suitcase. You need a lot less than you think you do to get by. Keep only the possessions you truly love and need. Give the rest away. There is probably someone who needs them more than you do.

Apply the “Packing-Light” philosophy to who you choose to surround yourself with. Always choose quality over quantity. Walk away from people who do not bring anything positive to your life and who prevent you from moving forward. But the people – the ones who welcome you into your home when you are feeling sad, who hug you when you are crying, who listen to you when you feel like you’re talking like a crazy person, who you can laugh with for hours on end, who sweetly says to you while looking at an amazing sunsetI think we should go get a few Filet O’ Fishes” – those are the ones you should always keep close to your heart, right next to your passport.

This wasn’t the New Years I expected but, it was the New Years that needed to happen.

Happy 2011! As always, thanks for reading.

Love, S.D

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