This write-up last year was about two big, seismic events: a hugely successful work launch in January, and my separation later in the year. There was a third event that came up so late in the year — on the day I was writing the blog post, in fact — that I couldn’t even process it. On December 28th last year my mother was diagnosed with cancer.
2017 was the year of dealing with the fallout — both good and bad — from those three events.
First, the success at work in 2016 translated into a bigger role early in 2017. It came with a pretty taxing workload, but I asked for it. Work continues to be one of the most interesting and exciting parts of my life, so too much of it is a good problem to have.
Second, the process of my separation continued, and added stress through most of the first half of the year. It involved many more lawyers and calculations than anyone could want, often right in the middle of work- and mom-related stress. It necessitated selling the condo and buying a new one, and all the pain in the ass that comes with moving, but I sold the condo at the perfect (read: craziest) time and I ended up in a real loft in a very cool new neighbourhood, where Lindsay and I live happily (when she’s not in Montreal). I’m glad the separation headache is over though.
Third, and dwarfing all that, was my mom’s fight with cancer. Luckily her health care was superb — she started treatment the same day she was diagnosed, and underwent chemotherapy and stem cell transplant procedures — and after pushing through all of that like a fucking warrior, she got news in early December that her cancer was in full remission. She’s not cured — her form of cancer can’t be cured — but it’s as good a result as can be imagined, and when I saw her this past week she was better than I’d seen her in eighteen months. Whatever else I did this year, whatever minor headaches I endured, all of the bad paled in comparison to what she went through, and none of the good could compare to when we got the news she was in remission.
So yeah, it was a challenging year. Especially the spring. I can look back at it now and say it was probably the busiest, and most stressed, I’ve ever been.
Still, I did all the usual stuff. I watched movies (34, down big from 47 the year before, probably because there was so much good TV to watch), bought new music (only 13 albums, way down from 20 the year before), and read a couple of books (2, versus three the year before). My weight went back up quite a bit, largely because I went back to working crazy hours which made it hard to eat right, but still not back to where it was a few years ago.
I did manage to escape work long enough to do a bunch of cool stuff around Toronto, like a round-the-world whisky tasting at Boxcar Social, a Le Vieux Pin wine club dinner at Canoe with T-Bone, a Japandroids concert, lots of exploration around my new neighbourhood, Bread & Circus at Inter/Access, visiting the Aquarium, seeing my friend perform at Comedy Kapow, a Raptors playoff game, the Session craft beer festival, the Vector festival, Chardonnay League at Skin+Bones, TIFF, a Stars concert, two exhibitions at 8eleven gallery, a Mogwai concert, and a Rural Alberta Advantage concert.
One of my favourite parts about the new neighbourhood was getting to visit all the brand new breweries in the east end, like Eastbound, Radical Road, Godspeed, and Saulter Street. I still haven’t tried Rorschach, and with Left Field already there I’m psyched about the east end becoming like the Junction was a few years back. There were also a ton of new restaurants to explore in the new neighbourhood, like Kaboom, Peasant Table, White Lily, Bonjour Brioche, Skin + Bones, Ascari Enoteca, Mean Bao, Tabule, Double D’s, Caribbean Sunset, the Broadview Hotel, and Lake Inez.
Obviously I tried new places elsewhere in Toronto as well, like La Carnita (the one on John Street, which we tried before the Riverside location became a mainstay), County General, Daisho, Actinolite, Gusto 101, Cherry Street BBQ, OMAW, King Taps, Grey Gardens, Ardo, Khao San Road, and Union.
We also got to hang out with friends & family a fair amount, like beers with CBJ+M at Monk’s Table, with Lindsay’s friends at Sin & Redemption and Museum Tavern, a brief visit from brother #1, a longer visit from brother #2 and his lovely wife, a quarter-centennial party with Lindsay’s friends, a beautiful dinner with MLK, a boozy hangout with Mike & Heather, a visit from Lindsay’s mom, and of course lots of family time at Christmas.
Throughout the year I managed to go further afield for work (London/Stockholm/Munich, Montreal, Philadelphia, and Ottawa), and both of us got away for fun (Nova Scotia, France, Nova Scotia again at Christmas), as well as for work and fun (Lisbon). I also got to Montreal to visit Lindsay four times, in January, February, March, and April.
So yeah, the year started in a rough way, and got more and more brutal as it went on, but ultimately the fallout was that which I asked for, or which only affected me indirectly, so compared to the years that others have had to face, I really can’t complain. And now, at the end of the year I can look at my life and say that I have a great new job, I have a cool loft in a cool neighbourhood, I’m in love, and my mom beat cancer. I guess fallout makes you stronger if you can hang in there.
Cover photo by Thomas Hawk, used under Creative Commons license