I don’t know about you, but it seems 2018 was a mixed bag. Part gift bag, part garbage bag.
When I think back and peer into that sack of stuff, I sometimes feel like singing and dancing (which is an unfortunate experience for everyone else), or I feel like reaching for the air sickness bag. Mostly, I just feel like shaking my head.
But most years are like that, aren’t they? A big old shipwreck of good and bad, memorable moments and forgettable faux pas – a strange brew of magical memory-making and soul-crushing challenges.
But in spite of the inevitable high drama each year brings, we bravely forge ahead, trudging hopefully into an uncertain future, dragging the past along with us like an arthritic mule lugging a mile-long wagon train piled high with regrets, mistakes and missed opportunities.
Or not. Some of you (and you know who you are) pirouette and grand jete thrillingly into a new year, seeing a promising world of potential like a child chasing a butterfly, perfectly joyful in the knowledge you will never catch it.
And the past is just a sky full of soap-bubble moments that you’ve already caught and popped, one-by-one.
All of which is a pretty highfalutin’ way of saying, “Some days, you eat the bear, and some days, the bear eats you.”
Of course, I’ve never heard anybody actually say that, but if someone did, I think we’d all know what she was talking about. And it ain’t about hunting in the woods out by Nordegg.
Yes, we’ve all had challenges this year – some of them excruciatingly tough, and some of them just plain annoying tough enough to say, right out loud (like a national politician), “Oh, come on. Really?”
Right now, I’m trying hard to endure the really tough trials and tribulations of 2018 without my head exploding too much or my heart hurting too much (metaphorically speaking) and to embrace the really annoying annual moments of stupidity that proved the universe has a really warped sense of humour.
Like the time that I lost my wallet in a foreign country, or the time paid for a full tank of gas and left the gas station without actually putting any gas in my car, and then sort of ran out of gas after trying to beat the “empty” warning light on my car.
And let’s not forget every single time I found myself having to rely on an airline to transport me to a different location. Airports, lineups, removing clothing in public (in airports), paying extra for luggage, pretzels, water, TV, breathable air, etc., being bumped, being stranded, being cancelled, being tortured (by sitting in airplane seats) and being never more grateful to arrive and kneel down and kiss the ground.
But a year gone by always brings unexpected surprises (is there any other kind?). And, of course, they can either provoke a smile or a frown. Like when you find out you just won the 50/50, and then you find out there were only 14 tickets sold.
Or when you finally get that adorable white fluffy Himalayan cat you’ve always wanted, only to discover you are deathly allergic to feline fuzz.
Or, true story, when you drive by the house you grew up in in Parkvale and see a humongous backhoe sitting beside a jagged pile of rubble where your house used to be. And you pull over and park and stare for a long time, and then you shake your head and drive away, taking your memories with you.
And then, suddenly, dead ahead: 2019. May your mixed bag be mostly the good stuff.
Harley Hay is a Red Deer writer and filmmaker.