2016. Ready or not, here I come.

So I quietly turned 41 last week, and have decided that today is the day I reflect on the year past, the year coming, and more importantly, the today.

I won’t lie: it was kind of a shit year, but only when I look directly at the timeline of the last twelve months. Not every day was shit. (Some were.) Forty was not a watershed year for me. I had no crises of faith, heart, career, or existential meaning. I also had no grand inspiration that propelled me to do any of the more positive, but no less obvious, things that people do when they turn 40. No marathons, no finished novels (welp), no health/weight loss/kindness/365-day pledges/journeys of any sort.

It was just a year. It started with a funeral on my birthday, which I am not be pitied for, because I was neither the person in the coffin nor a primary mourner of said person. It was a day to say goodbye to somebody who was very special to others, and to not think too much about myself.

I had, still have, am dealing with some health issues that peaked this year. But despite my grand and flourishing health paranoia (I have had cancer three times today), I will be ok. The many and myriad of tests and appointments I have had assure me that there is no serious underlying issue, which is good. Chris has always tried to make me feel better by insisting that it won’t be one of the big, scary things that does me in; that I will live a long life plagued with many small, frustrating, untreatable health annoyances. Looks like he’s right! But many days are not good, and there were periods when I did not leave my house, sometimes my bed, for days. Life was often derailed. I looked forward to summer.

Then I got pneumonia and summer effectively ended August 1. The doctor in the emergency room told me it was quite unique to get pneumonia in the middle of the summer. So special; so lucky. We cancelled all of our plans. 

The fall continued in much the same way. I had two really bad recurrences of the health thing I’m dealing with, one during the weekend of Chris’s fortieth birthday. We were in Toronto for the night without the kids, we ate good food, went to a concert, drank good drinks, and I woke up the next morning utterly wretched. I should have gone to the hospital, but I just wanted to go home. That was pretty much the end of me for two weeks. (There is no correlation between my night out and how I was the next day. The same could have, and has, happened after sitting in my own house reading a book for the night. That’s just the way this is.)

And then it was December, and the holiday season was lovely. And then Chris’s beloved grandfather passed away on New Year’s Day, and we made our way north, and we rallied and supported each other the best we could, and in the least important part of the post-script, I spent my forty-first birthday at a funeral.

So here we are.

And what of this year? We have some nice things planned for 2016, and I am cautiously optimistic that we will be able to see them through. My health has been stable so far, but I do live in constant fear of relapse. My book is not finished, but it’s close. I am terrified of finishing and terrified of not finishing. My children are great, so is my marriage, which I can say with real honesty, not just Internet honesty. Chris is a good caretaker, and I try to return the favour. We laugh a lot, because what the hell else can you do?

I am fed up with the Internet and people on the Internet, so I don’t spend as much time here. I have to update my dinosaur of a web site. I don’t really care about that right now. I feel bitter about offering my words within the context of a medium I have come to hate a lot of the time. Maybe that will change this year. Maybe not.

Right now I am sitting in my sunroom and outside is white. I like how the snow makes you see the contours of everything, outlines all it lands on in so you see the details. The flurries keep shifting: big, fat flakes falling slowly, then a sheer curtain of glittery specks. Every time I look up, things have changed.



  1. Here's hoping for a better year of health, Karen. Now, finish that book!

  2. Oh Karen: I am sorry the year was shitty. Hope this year is much better for you. I had pneumonia in summer once - the year I was starting university. Missed Frosh week and all that other silliness. Which wasn't a big whoop because I hate silliness and Frosh social junk anyways.

  3. I did not know the extent of your troubles this year. I have made vague references to my own shitty year and can honestly said that it was the hardest year of my life. But I, too, have a great marriage and great kids, and we're hopeful for 2016.

    Big hugs, friend. xoxo

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  5. The fall continued in much the same way. I had two really bad recurrences of the health thing I’m dealing with, one during the weekend of Chris’s fortieth birthday. Good to know that .... thanks for sharing

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