Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Notes from a year named Illuminate

I've taken 2017 off blogging—putting words into other things and other places, but tradition is tradition is tradition. So. Here we are. 36.

It is a strange thing to go to work on four hours sleep at 36, hazed and mostly content in one's skin. I went to see Oh Wonder last night; they were great, even if the crowd was a mixed bag. I came home buzzing with concert and unable to sleep. Some things don't change.

In March, I left my community management and customer service job with FAN EXPO HQ to go work as a community manager for a digital agency. The team I'm on is seconded to a consumer package goods client. It's not a weird job. It's possibly not weird enough. But it pays better than pop culture conventions, I'm on the biggest team I've been on yet in my marketing career, and I'm community managing four major accounts.

It's not as easy to have fun. The content is not as interesting. There's no flow yet, no sense of completion at pulling off a massive event by sheer force of will and knowing what happens next. But I spent the Thursday evening of FAN EXPO Canada with my former colleagues and... I miss them, and we make a point of staying in touch, but it's not a place I could go back to.

I'm not sure about the fit of me and agency life, but it is absolutely helping me hone my skills and focus on what it is about social media I enjoy. Where I want my career to go. And I'm grateful for that. I'm grateful for the foundation that allows me to strive and push myself and repair the damage to my confidence that I didn't fully grasp was there until earlier this year.

It is good to feel competent and confident again. It's good to consider the possibility of being able to move into a place above ground on my own. It's good to have time and energy for friends and hobbies and life.

I went to a writer's retreat in August. I'm not writing every day this year, but I'm working steady, and I believe in what I'm doing again. It's no longer this bitter, I worked so hard snarl of frustration. It's an understanding of knowing what I can and can't give to the business. What kind of publishing career those choices will allow.

I'm reading more than writing, but maybe that's the flow of it. A year focused on making words; a year focused on learning how to make words. Maybe. I no longer feel like I'm writing because I'm running out of time—because I have to or else—but because I want to.

My grandmother has dementia. It's a little more obvious each time I see her, so I feel compelled to visit while it will still matter. My travel this year has been to family, including a trip to celebrate my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary earlier this month. It was a lot of work, done primarily by my mother, but worth it to see my grandfather enjoying himself and not having to be the one doing the work at a family event.

It's been six years, Toronto and I. What a thing when you realize a city becomes home even if you weren't planning on it. Even if it's because of jobs, because of leases, because of choices. The home of my heart will always be: BC mountains with their streams feeding into deep, clear lakes; rivers combining and making their way to the Pacific Ocean; skies so big you can't see them all at once. There will always be a deeper peace waiting for me there I don't feel in Toronto.

But I am here. This city is home. I didn't think, six years ago, that it would be. It is easier to think that in another six years, I'll still be here.


And now, the note for next year... because that's really what these birthday posts have always been. Notes for a future self from a present self (reflecting on a past self.)

Acknowledge I'm often the expert in the room and go get the job that recognizes it as well. That might be found where I am. That might mean moving on to somewhere else.

Keep writing. Even if it's not this story or the next one. None of them have ever really been the one, and that's not ever really been why I do it. Get new critique partners or finally take people up on those offers to read.

Go on an actual vacation. That's starting to sound like Japan. But pick something. Book the ticket. Go on the trip. It's time for some of that time off to not be spent visiting family.

Get finances in order and talk to the bank about mortgages. I'm not going from the end of this lease to a purchase, but if I can see myself still wanting to be in Toronto in another six years then it's time to buy a condo.

Remember I have Lorde tickets for next March.

Keep growing. Keep glowing. Onwards. Upwards. Keep walking towards those mountains.