A Letter to 2013

2013-11-09 11.26.48

Dear Last Year,

I suppose I should thank you for kicking my ass. I was getting a bit smug, and starting to take some pretty important things for granted (like mortality and economic security) but you sure showed me, didn’t you?

Thanks a lot for the heartbreaking brushes with fate, both direct and indirect. I had assumed I was done with watching dear relatives die of wasting illness, far before I thought their time should be up. I was also totally caught up in the delight of witnessing so many of my friends as they enjoyed stepping into parenthood. I completely counted on things humming along according to plan. My folly was assuming that plan was mine.

So, yes, I think I get it. My life, and the lives of everyone I love are the briefest whisper on the lips of the Universe. If I thought I could get lazy, or wait for another day to use the good china of my life, or spend more time on email than with my children, I have realized the heinous error of my ways.

If it seemed like my life in the heart of downtown Toronto was the most ideal way for me to be my most authentic self, I was really ass-backwards. Giving all of that up, pulling my kids out of expensive private school, saying goodbye to the leased Mercedes, and moving into the home of my in-loves on thirty acres in the heart of wine country was the kind of life implosion I needed most. Here I found a safe haven to hide from the rest of the volcanic action of the year, though the lava flow definitely burnt my ass.

But guess what? I’m still here. You’ve motivated me to work harder at living each day exactly the way I’d like to remember them if I’m lucky enough to get a few more years under my belt. The terror and triumph of watching my first bio-child grow into his first year of life has made me humble in the face of my own fragility. I’m compelled to offload anything and everything that is getting in the way of my greater plan – even some things I used to think I couldn’t live without.

The plan, dare I whisper it to your fickle ears Universe, is to see the world with our children over the course of the rest of our lives. Not week-long family vacations, but a great scheme that includes finding ways to work from mobile locations so that we can live wherever we deign to for six months each year.

I’ve lost enough to know what I need. I’ve gained enough to know what I’ve lost. I’ve cried enough to cherish each moment of happiness, and I am hell-bent on having stories that will ring clear and true long after I’m gone. May this life I am living be a vibrant testimony to the soul that dwells inside this body.

Starting today.

Yours truly,

Catherine Skinner

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