I usually write something for New Year’s, whether it’s a resolution to make a blog (no virtual dust here, everything’s clean and tidy…ish) or a review of my year, I come up with something. I considered writing another review for 2019 but didn’t want to repeat myself, and then I thought about resolutions but those can be daunting. And the end of 2019, while very much like every New Year’s Eve is different in that it marks the end of a decade.
It’s not like this is a new thing, but I was sixteen the last time we entered a new decade and aside from it being the time amazing New Year’s Eve party glasses died, I didn’t care about much else. I had turned sixteen literally a few days before and saw that as way more important than the end of a decade and the start of a new one.
But I’ve thought about it more this year, about why the end of 2019 seems to be affecting so many people in my generation versus other years. Maybe it’s just the acknowledgement of time moving on, of ourselves aging. Hell I was born in the 90s and 2020 still sounds like some futuristic year when it’s literally tomorrow. Maybe it’s remembering where people my age were ten years ago, in high school and awkward versus seemingly adults now (and still awkward). But I’ve started thinking about the past decade, all that’s changed, all that’s going to come.
So let’s start at the beginning of the last decade, all the way in 2010.
I was sixteen, I was in high school and I was obsessed with Cats the musical and Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. I had dreams of being an actor and writer and quickly realized the former was out of my league but maybe the latter wasn’t. But I still didn’t really believe in myself, I remember telling myself that if I only published one book in my life that would be all I needed. The next year I was published in my city’s newspaper, my piece used as the byline for the story they were writing on faith and Easter (I was seventeen by then and still went to church and altar served, still believed) and seeing my name in the paper was a happy site, made me realize that I could get used to seeing my name in other places.
I did a leap year of high school where I met one of my best friends and then the next year (2012) my sister and I started university where on the second day of classes we learned my mom had breast cancer for the second time. She died on January 4th 2015, the middle of the decade, and truthfully one that shaped most of mine. She was sick for four years, had cancer twice in that time until the last diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer was too much. While I enjoyed university and loved all that I learned and met many good people there, my sister and I didn’t get the experience most students get. It was a relatively solitary experience spent either at school or at home, and I would choose to be with my mom instead of partying if I had to again. But I can’t relate to movies that show keggars and road trips, late night adventures, first loves, mistakes, they’re experiences I didn’t have and ones I’ll never have. It changes you, ages you, I am still aged and still have trouble relating to people my age at times.
Much of the last half of the decade has been learning to cope with my grief, learning to live without my mom, but that doesn’t mean it was all bad. My sister and I started a production company and made three web series, I wrote two plays that were each accepted into the HamilTEN Festival (and discovered in December that I will have my third play in the festival in 2020) and the latter which was also asked to be in the Mind Play Theatre Festival, which was written for my mom, about my mom, about my grief.
I joined a playwriting unit filled with amazingly talented women who help me grow and be more open as a playwright. I played Ultimate Frisbee which is a sport I never thought I would play. I adopted a sweet little kitten, my quirky Tamsin full of tortitude who I loved with all my heart for two years when because of a genetic disorder I had to put her to sleep. I grieved for her for long too, when it seemed that all I was good at was grief and being sad. And then last year I opened my heart to my sweet and fiery calico Cordelia who in March 2020 I’ll have had for two years. In ten years I’ve had four different jobs and this year I started a new one, one I hope to make my career.
I have made friends who I know will be with me for a lifetime, friends who have taught me not to be afraid to hold
on to tightly, to be open and vulnerable. Friends who love me, somehow, who make me feel loved and lucky and blessed and seen.
Ten years is a long time. A long time for big changes that change your life, that change you. It’s unpredictable, it’s exciting, it’s scary. It’s weird to think that I will start this decade without my mom and every decade after without her. But I know she’s with me, and I know that the next year and decade will be full of its own challenges, its own changes, its own excitement.
I can’t say whether or not I’m ready for it, that I’m not a bit apprehensive, but it’s coming and we’ll see what the new decade brings. Fingers crossed for flapper fashions and smooth jazz.