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Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Five Hundred, Twenty-Five Thouand, Six Hundred

Five hundred, twenty-five thousand, six hundred. That's how many minutes there are in a year. 525,600. At the risk of sounding like the theme to my favourite musical, how do you measure those minutes? How do you measure a year?


For some, a year is a long time; for others, it's merely the blink of an eye. For me, 2014 has been a bit of both, and I've been trying to come up with a way to sum everything up. It's had its ups and downs, its fun and its torment, its joy and its sorrow. But, all in all, I really cannot complain. I have met some amazing people in this last year, whose lives have come to run alongside mine. Friends have come and have moved away. I have gained, lost, and then gained employment. I spent 30 days alongside and leading an incredible group of writers. I have been given an amazing opportunity that does not come every day.


2014 started on a slightly somber note when a friend I have come to regard very highly moved back home to London (the real London). I count him among the very best of my friends; he's one of those people who makes my world seem right and my life would not be complete without him. I would see him again in April and again in November when he came back to visit, visits I wished had lasted much longer than they did.


April saw me taking on the Camp NaNo challenge, during which, I finished a Power Rangers fanfic I had been working on for about four years. It was both exciting and grievous to have something that had been in my life for so long come to an end. But, end it did. Throughout it, I met with some fellow writers every Friday at a local Starbucks (a meeting that has continued all year and will do so for what I hope is a very long time to come), was reunited with my friend from London, turned 26, and welcomed the coming of Spring with open arms.


The closing of June saw the end of my career in retail when the store I was working at closed. The lack of employment gave me a chance to work on my writing, but at the cost of my pay cheque. I would become employed once more in September at the company my mother works, and I have been there ever since.


July saw another Camp NaNo session, a session that seemed to fly by but gave me the beginnings of a story I hope to one day complete. (My trilogy takes presidency over all, though.) I also had the chance to meet with a friend I hadn't seen in many months.


In August, while meeting a glorious Green-cheeked Conure named, Frodo, I was asked if I would consider being NaNo event and chat room moderator for the Toronto region. I humbly accepted, and started the 2014 session of NaNo as, not only a participant, but a leader. It came with a new set of challenges, but I was prepared to meet them. So, with my trust mascot, Perry the Owl, I embarked on a month long journey with thousands of others worldwide to reach the ever-evasive 50,000 word goal. 2014's NaNo proved to be one of the toughest ones I participated in as the fates seemed to be against me. I started out behind and was never able to catch up. Halfway through, I gave up on reaching the 50,000 word goal, but just continued to write for the sake of writing. Then, on November 12th, an amazing opportunity was cast my way. The publisher, Simon and Schuster hosted a write-in event at a downtown Chapters, and I was in attendance. Everyone filled out a ballet, and entered to win the chance to have their manuscript read and reviewed by one of the publisher's editors. My name was drawn. I then spent the rest of November in a daze and alternated between writing and editing. I was also able to catch up with people I hadn't seen in a year, and I got to spend a much needed afternoon and evening with the friend who had gone home to London in January.


December brought on a flurry of editing (which I'm still in the throes of), and preparing for the upcoming Christmas season. It's also brought me to the movie theatre twice for three viewings of the final Hobbit film, The Battle of the Five Armies. Each time I have seen it, I have noticed different things, and this last viewing brought out the tears for me.


Christmas this year will me spent at my cousins', and for the first time in a very long time, there will be children involved, including a one-week old. It has been years since children have been a part of my Christmas Eve tradition, and I am very excited. Children make Christmas was it is. They make it joyous, and exciting, and innocent. They make Christmas beautiful.


2014, for me, has been measured in new experiences, changes, and, most of all, friendships new and old. 


To everyone who has crossed paths with me, whether in person, or online, thank you for being a part of my life. To those who have chosen to walk alongside me, thank you for sharing your road with mine regardless of how long or short that shared road was. To those who are still walking alongside me, thank you for allowing me to just be me and allowing me into your lives. Thank you for sharing in those five hundred, twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes.


TO EVERYONE: I wish you all the very best!


Merry Christmas, and all the best in 2015!