2016 – wow, what a year. And I’m not saying that while reflecting on what happened around the world in 2016. I am just reflecting on my own, little space. I got married to one of the best people in my world; traveled to Spain, Portugal and Morocco with my crazy family; I lived in the same province as my best friend for the first time in nine years; I spent nights researching the American visa process when my husband received a job offer; I spent days laughing with the same childhood friends I had in elementary school; I took a late-night drive to the beach with one of my oldest friends on her birthday; I ran my first 10km race in my hometown; I left my job of 3.5 years to pursue a career in freelance writing; I packed my things up just days after throwing the best cottage party/wedding reception and moved to America. And here I am now and how different things are. I have gained 10 pounds due to an affinity for deep dish pizza, I am obsessed with making our new space feel like home, and I’ve never felt more alone.
2016 – wow, what a year. Amidst all of the amazing things that happened, for the first time in my life, I found myself questioning my mental health and my ability to overcome the tough stuff. As a self-professed ‘people person’ and someone who thrives on other people’s energy, I’ve never really had to be alone. I’ve never, in my 27 years on this earth, learned to just sit with myself. My whole childhood I had my sister in the next room over, in university I had roommates who were almost always around, and when I moved back home I had some of my closest friends at my nearest disposal.
I am a dedicated resolutioner: in 2014 I vowed to travel more – and booked flights to Europe for that fall, in 2015 I promised to focus more on relationships – and after a whirlwind trip to Montréal I returned home a hell of a lot happier and engaged to my best friend, in 2016 I channeled my resolutions towards health and wellness, but after a job offer came in and a wedding was planned in less than five days, my resolutions moved to the back burner as J and I navigated what life would be like not in Nova Scotia. Anyone who knows us knows we’ve always talked about moving away – we just didn’t expect things would happen so quickly.
February was a crazy month. We got married on the 5, submitted our immigration documents and spent our last morning hours in Canada working on HR papers before flying to Spain. When we returned home, it was a whirlwind of paperwork, immigration documents, plane tickets and questions about our lives together. In April, we packed two suitcases full of J’s personal belongings and completed our immigration interviews in Toronto, en route to Chicago. After two weeks of working remotely, moving into an apartment we had never seen before, and building IKEA furniture, I flew home – my fingers still smelling like pressed wood and without my partner in crime.
The summer was a mess of flights to Chicago and pleading with my Halifax employer to let me work remotely for more time. My days were long, working my regular hours, writing articles in the mornings and evenings – and trying to plan our #FallfortheThurrotts wedding reception. In August, I resigned from my role, and pursued freelance writing and reception planning full time. Life flew by and my friends flew in, our wedding reception was finally happening – and before I knew it, I was packing up my childhood bedroom with the optimism that everything would fit in our two suitcases.
The first few weeks in Chicago were great in our “newlywed” bliss, we had a staycation where we ranked “Chicago’s best hamburger” and drank a lot of Three Floyds Zombie Dust beer. But after a month in our new home, I was feeling really restless and slightly useless – sure, I was still writing but my other goals had fallen to the wayside. I spent my mornings feeling too sad to pull myself from bed and it wasn’t until I realized I had watched the same instagram story three times that I decided to get up. I became chronic: complaining daily of not feeling “well,” picking fights over the tiniest details and reminding my husband that he chose to move to a country where I can’t work. Admittedly, I’ve thought about these things before but as someone who prides themselves on being independent, I had never felt more dependent on another person to fuel my happiness.
I had become a lazy, negative Nancy. Ask anyone – I’ve always been the most positive, passionate and optimistic person. I swear, my house could’ve burned down and I’d claim it helped me grow as a person. Today, if my house burned down, I’d probably decide that was reason enough to leave my husband, desert my family and start using hard drugs. All I can say is that I am so lucky to have the support system I do – I challenge you to find a more-compassionate husband, more-honest parents or a more-inspirational sister than I have.
2016 – wow, what a year. Despite having my first Twitter interaction with John Legend and bringing me one of my greatest sources of happiness (J) for forever – for ever, ever – I am looking forward to seeing you go (and you can take those 10 lbs of deep dish/Donald Trump with you). In 2017, I am going to focus on sitting with myself in peace, finding a way to self-identify that doesn’t involve a job title, and building a routine that works for me. I am going to bask in life’s frustrations without letting them consume me, I’m going to continue freelance writing about things I love, and I’m going to really dig into the things that make me tick with happiness. I can’t promise that I wont still find myself curled up on the couch crying for no real reason, but it won’t happen as often – and when it does, I will appreciate it as part of the process and remind myself that dreams only work if you do.
Adapting to a new lifestyle is hard, but there are a few things that I know will make it better: getting back to my yoga practice, building a daily routine that serves me, sitting with – and taking care of – myself, and having real conversations with the people I love. In 2017, I am going to take back control of my own little space and find the balance within it, 2016’s negativity be damned.