Goodbye and Good Riddance

a.k.a. How Writing Saved My Life

This tumultuous year is about to exit stage left and it couldn’t come fast enough. 2020 was like the sweater you wanted to buy at the store. You went into the changing room all excited at how it would look on you. Under the garish lighting, you began to notice details you hadn’t seen before with your once hopeful eyes. The material was scratchy, there was a loose thread here and there, and when you tried to squeeze into it, you realized that it just wasn’t the right fit.

Still, you pressed on, pushing your doubts and arm flab aside to get a better view. When you stepped in front of the mirrors, however, you could see so many more perspectives of how wrong it was for you and you just needed to get out of it pronto. In an instant, you were surrounded by warped fun house mirrors that showed you images that were anything but fun. It was time to go and time to leave that deceptively ugly sweater of a year behind.

I made the mistake of messaging my best friend last year with the fateful words “is it 2020 yet?” I had been experiencing a craptastic last few years and 2019 was particularly strenuous in my ongoing battle. Several months later, while in the midst of the first COVID-19 lockdown, I chanced upon that message thread and gave myself the hugest eyeroll. It’s safe to say that I no longer texted my best friend any sentiments other than wishing him and his family a safe and happy holiday.

Writing has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. It’s transformed with me along with my penmanship–the Golden Years were when I was living in the UK. We learned cursive in school and my handwriting was exquisite. When I got back to North America, my writing evolved along with my personality. With my scrawl, I could very well be a doctor (not sure where that sterotype came from. I know many doctors with excellent and legible penmanship). I’ve since resorted to the clacking of a keyboard. Thank you, high school keyboarding class. While there is a methodology to physically writing out words, when it comes to storytelling, my fingers and the keyboard can keep up faster with my thoughts than the old school method.

Writing is a part of my identity. It’s in my DNA. Over the years, I’ve noticed that when I’m not writing, it affects other aspects of my life. This can be a particular problem if the other aspects of my life are also contributing to the lack of writing, or in some cases the lack of motivation to write. This year, I spent the first half doing anything but writing and while I feel a slight twinge of regret that I didn’t get back into it sooner, I felt a world of difference when the words began to flow once more. It was as though I didn’t know how to exist properly without writing. I couldn’t express my frustrations and concerns clearly when trying to communicate with others. I found that once I began writing again, it was as though I was getting rid of the clutter in the attic of my mind. Daily journaling had therapeutic effects. I began to articulate my thoughts more succinctly. I felt more confident to stand my ground. It was almost as though writing served as an oxygen boost that rejuvenated me, as a whole.

Yes. I can say with confidence that writing has and did, once again, save my life. It’s given me a purpose, a direction to focus on, goals to achieve. I’m dusting off WIPs that I’d shelved for years, excited to revisit and revamp. New ideas come to me more readily now that I’ve once again opened my mind to receive them.

After having such a heavy cloud hang over me and life being such a 2020, writing has been instrumental in helping me break through some of the things that have been weighing me down, holding me back. It would be naive to think that writing alone has been a fix-all in my life but it has certainly given me that push out of my complacency (let’s be real, there have been no true comfort zones this year). It’s an ongoing process but I know I’ll get there.

So long, 2020. Don’t let the door hit ya on the way out. You will not be missed. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

I can’t wait for this year to be over. 2020 represented so many hardships, so much loss. We went stir-crazy with quarantine, tried to adjust to a new normal with social distancing, and really found a new appreciation for the ‘social’ in social media. No matter what we tried to do to get through the year, it felt like the days dragged on even slower than we could imagine. I know making a change isn’t limited to a particular date and time, but knowing that a fresh and shiny new year is just a few days away gives us something to look forward to, a tomorrow that’s brighter and filled with promise. 2020 can peace out. I’m excited for what’s to come.

Memes aside, though my nephew will tell you how important they are in this day and age, it’s not as simple as saying goodbye. So much happened to turn our lives upside down. Many of us are still reeling from the aftermath of losing loved ones, losing a job, worrying about our health, uncertain about our future. It was a tough year. If there’s anything to take away from 2020 is that every moment we suffered through was also a life lesson. We are stronger now because of these moments and we need to have that mindset as we look ahead.

Yes, another year has come and is almost gone. I hope that you and yours are safe and well. I look forward to starting 2021 with positivity and renewed energy that writing has provided. It’s a good reminder to never stop doing what you love, doing what drives you to be a better person, even when life goes a little sideways. I hope you have something to fuel you to keep going as writing has done for me. See you next year, bright eyed and bushy tailed.

Stay creative, stay weird, be kind to yourself and others.

Until next time,

T out.

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