Here are some pretty cool things that happened in 2010.
1.FACE A TOUGH DECISION
After a few months hiatus, begin working again for the newspaper in North Bay, doing research for their "Decade in Review" section. Am humbled when the Managing Editor tells me he's recommended me for a job at the daily newspaper in Timmins. Start to panic when I realize I have a tough decision to make.
2. CRY IF I WANT TO
Turn 27 years old. This one hits me hard. Although my good friend and sis make me a beautiful meal, complete with pink cupcakes, I act like a childish, selfish hosebag. Many apologies are made the next day after locking myself if my room because "no one even flirted with me on my birthday," which "MUST mean I'm OLD." Slowly come to the realization that even though I'm getting older every year, I'm also getting wiser. Vow to never cry on my birthday again.
3. FALL IN LOVE
Drive to Toronto with three girlfriends to see John Mayer perform on Valentines Day. Am convinced that even though there are 20,000 other screaming girls there, this is our (John and my) special date. Fall even deeper in love as he plays the guitar like nobody's business. Am convinced he's made eye contact with me. Three times. As we drive away from the city music blaring and laughter bouncing off the car walls, I look around at my friends and realize this is what life's all about.
4. MAKE A DECISION
After much deliberation and a pro/con list, I decide to accept the job back home at The Daily Press. Am now a reporter/photographer at a daily newspaper. One week in, I'm positive I've made the right decision. The job seems to fit like a glove. Although I miss my North Bay friends and work family, there are definite perks to this new position. Like the time I hand-feed an elephant jelly beans backstage at the circus. Or feel Margaret Trudeau's warm embrace as we pose for a photo after a speaking engagement. Or the day I FLY A PLANE. Career-wise, 2010's been the best year yet. Not just because of all the totally super fun things I get to do, but because of the feeling I get almost every day that THIS, RIGHT HERE, is what I'm supposed to be doing. Talking to people, hearing amazing stories, taking photographs, then going back to the office and writing about it. Releasing it into the world for everyone to discover. Amazing.
5. WITNESS AMAZING LOVE IN FULL BLOOM
The summer of 2010 turns out to be the Summer of Weddings. Attend three, in which I am directly involved, either as a musician, emcee, or guest book photographer. All three differ in style, from traditional church wedding, to beautiful park wedding, to glamorous wedding in the woods. All are equally beautiful. All make me weep uncontrollably. Am still convinced the saddest part of any wedding is when the father of the bride hands his daughter off to her new husband. Every single wedding is also filled with love. Tina and Louis, who now have a baby on the way, glow as they float around the dance floor. Melissa and Gilles, who can laugh their way through anything, kiss as though they're the only two people in the park. Alan and Kristie write the exact same thing in their speeches to each other, pledging to love each other with absolute conviction. Watching two people say their vows in the most gorgeous attire, then eating, drinking, celebrating into the wee hours of the morning? Yes, please!
6. BECOME ONE WITH THE WILDERNESS
By this I mean move back home to my Dad's place on a lake and occasionally go for a walk in the bush. I first moved into Pop's basement as a temporary situation while I looked for an apartment in Timmins. Ten months later, I'm still there, even though I know in the back of my mind one resolution should be "MOVE OUT." Dad's been amazing though, and I think that's partly why it's been hard to move. (That, and the FREE RENT.) He brushes my car off when it's snowy, has my dinner ready when I come home, flicks me with the tea towel when he feels I'm getting a little "uppity" (his word, not mine.) Although I know this year will likely hold a move for me, the wood stove heat still beats cranky landlords and overpriced electricity bills. And the view out my window in the morning, looking out over the lake while ducks swim leisurely by and birds chirp happily? That's not so bad either.
7. UPON HEARING GOOD NEWS, CRY TEARS OF PURE JOY
As 2010 progressed, my friends started to announce their various engagements, babies on the way, and new jobs. None affected me as much as Steph and Jamie's summer announcement though. I'd met the amazing couple when I first moved to North Bay, and liked them both instantly. Then, early last year, they decided they wanted to have a baby. Easier said than done. My heart broke a little every time someone would say "So...are you pregnant yet?" and I'd watch her paste a smile on and say sweetly "Nope. Not yet." In June, we were decorating the hall for a friend's wedding reception when she pulled me aside and said "So....you're going to be an Auntie." All of my excitement and happiness came pouring out of my freshly made-up eyes. I don't know if it's because I like them so darn much, or because I knew how much they wanted a baby, or both, but I was absolutely floored. To some people, this may not seem like such a biggie, but it was definitely one of my favourite 2010 moments.
8. RECONNECT WITH FAMILY
This year, there was a lot of quality family time. An Easter trip west to see my dad's brother. A Fall trip to Toronto to visit with cousins. Getting to know the new additions to our family, like curly-haired Leo and Zion, who've brought new energy and life to our clan. I've had heart-to-hearts with my Auntie, belted out karaoke with my cousins, watched another cousin fly a plane, hugged my granny, danced to Fleetwood Mac with my Aunt and cousins after several glasses of wine. All in all, a good year for the McLaren bunch.
9. WATCH BABIES GROW WITH AMAZEMENT
Just yesterday, when my four year-old goddaughter thought she hurt my feelings, she took my face in her hands and said "I still love you, Auntie Kate." When, I thought, did this tiny little baby grow enough to feel empathy, pick out her own clothes and recite her picture books by memory? And she wasn't the only one. We all celebrated recently when my niece Reesah blew her nose on command. Many first steps were taken this year. Although I know the basics of biology, it still shocks me how babies grow. Even though it's an inevitable part of life, to me, it's still a little magical.
10. SUBMIT A SHORT STORY TO A NATIONAL LITERARY CONTEST
I won't find out the results until February or March. So don't ask to read it. But, this was a big step for me in 2010. Even though I'm not sure if I'll win (there are over 4000 entries,) the biggest reward has already happened when my Dad read it, cried, and said "this deserves to be published."
So there you have it. My year in a (very wordy) nutshell.
In case you have trouble picture any of it, here's an accompanying video.
Happy New Year.
Best of 2010 from Kate McLaren on Vimeo.