2016 Year in Review

Well it should come as no surprise to anyone that I did infact make it home to Hamilton nearly one month ago – bad blogger for not sharing. The drive was slow going as the weather was quite stormy. I completed the drive from Sioux Lookout to Thunder Bay alone sent the night in the city enjoying a few local pints at The Madhouse, then getting a good night sleep. 

The boy arrived by air shortly after noon the next day and we immediately continued to drive east as our goal was to rest overnight in Sault St. Marie. I drove through the day and as soon as the sun went down we hit snow, blinding squalls and big flakes that slowed us down. We also encountered minimal wild life on the road except for a wolf/dog/cougar/bigfoot (whatever it was is still debateable) and it moved quickly across the road and only 3 hours overdue we arrived safely at the hotel.

Day 3 was more squalls and blowing snow intermittantly however it was daylight thus easier to navigate. I drove us most of the way to Barrie but then the weeks of isolated roads hit me and I actually had some driving anxiety when we were approaching Toronto on hwy 400, so the boy took over and brought us home, well to Sapporo for sushi but close enough.

The month of December for me has been pretty lax as it seems the my work has had no need to call me in, I have enjoyed nearly a month out of scrubs. So that has left a few weeks of family and holiday festivities and almost two weeks at the cottage.

Next week however I will be returning to real life as I finally have a shift booked and am starting back into my final term of my McMaster nursing degree (Yessss!) I’m trying not to think about any of that until I actually get home, as of now the boy and I are still hiding away at the cottage, watching the snow.

And as it is the last day of 2016 probably not unlike the rest of you I am pausing to reflect on my year, before I open the Prosecco and bake myself some brie (Oh and before the Canada vs USA hockey game, obviously) but after I had read some of my favorite blogs recounting 2016 I cam acoss this list of reflective questions for NYE from The Art of Simple.

1. What is  single best thing that happened to you this year?
I don’t think this will come as a surprise to anyone, but I would have to say that my 13 weeks in Sioux Lookout were the highlight of my year. As evidenced by this blog you all thought so too, here is a few stats of following this journey with me:

  • I had made 24 posts from Auguest through December
  • 598 visitors accessed my site
  • Those 598 visitors equalled 1,871 views of my posts & pages.

2. What is the single most challenging thing that happened?

Can I say also my going up north, I experienced a mild level of isolation and had to work through being a supportive friend far away from anything comfortable. Maintaing relationships from a distance stand point was very challenging and then when working I was with an entirely new patient population that pushed my professional boundaries huge.

3. What was your most unexpected joy of the last year?
That one requires minimal reflection, I think the purchase of this cottage equates to the most unexpected joy of the year. The timing was less then ideal as it came about weeks before my departure to the north and the uncertainty of my finances for the coming months but the boy figured it out and has been making it work as I sit in front of the woodstove watching the snowfall, ahhhhhh.

4. What was the most unexpected obsticle of the last year?
I would have to say it was the death of an extended family member that touched not only my family but social network. Death is rarely something expected and it effected me during my most stressful term at school. I think I reached an unthinkable place of anxiety and my body actaully responded in physical ailments of skin reactions. It took weeks to recover and for me to get back on track. 

5. Use 3 words to describe your year: Insight, travel & extremes

6. What 3 words would your spouse use to describe your year? This is supposed to be answered as to how I think he would respond, I asked him, he said ‘exciting, busy & fun.’

7. What 3 words would your spouse use to describe their year – again I just asked and after explaining my question he responded with ‘I don’t reflect’ hmmpf.. will omit these next year. He is however very good at making chili and chopping firewood.

8. What were your favorite books? 

  • The Nightingale – Kristin Hannah
  • Inside the O’briens – Lisa Genova 

9. Who were your most valuable relationships?

My relationship with the boy went through a curve related to my being away and I think we’ve grown from it. Also my dear friend Amanda, you have been indespensible.  Aside from eating brie off the floor together and numerous Baby Guinness I think we kept eachother going while I was away, thanks! That small circle of friends is getting bigger and with everything going on in our lives I know we can count on eachother for what is to come.

10. What was your biggest personal change from Jan through Dec?

Despite my sipping on a coffee with Baileys I can say that I have significantly decreased the amount of alcohol I consume. I am becoming better at listening to my body and recognizing that as I get older I just don’t handle it the same way. However one those occasions when I “overindulge” the company I keep make it worth the hangover the next day. There have def been some super fun late nights!

11. How have you grown emotionally? Spiritually? Physically?

I put these together as the time I spent alone afforded me time to slow down and focus on self care and to that I recognize that taking time to prioritize things like yoga, sleep, reading and lifting weights all help me to feel like my best self and I’m better at recognizing when I don’t put myself first I feel sick, bloated and angry. So many things aren’t worth sacraficing how I feel about myself. I let so much more go now.

12. How have you grown in your relationships?

I have a different repect for the importance of communication and its effects on relationships. I am working toward being a better listener and taking time to ensure what I say is understood this is important within my sociaal networks personally as well as professionally with collegues and patients.

13. What has been your most enjoyable work experience?

This answer is easy, I spent 1/3 of this year working in a completely different professional environment from what I have been used to for the last 6 years, so having the month of December off has been enjoyable. I think when I do go back in a few days I will be more effective and grateful, as well as being better able to handle conflicts better,

14.  What has been your most challenging work experience?

I have on more then one occasion received a less then stellar response from leadership on my home unit. Is it difficult to email back staff members no mater how miniscule the request? It has been difficult to feel respected and appreciated on my home nursing unit and this has been a challenge throughout the year. I hope that there will be an improvement with me being back this year, on the other hand with my successful completion of my degree comes the consideration of finding a new job.

15. What has been your single biggest time waster? Candy Crush, why did I start playing this in the first place, nuff said.

16. What has been the best way you’ve spent your tme in the last year? 

Well this one took some thought but I think that my answer is golf, I mean I got out with friends and enjoyed the hot summer outside and being active. And I hope to do more of that this upcoming year.

17. What is the biggest thing you  learned this year?

I have a really good idea what kind of nurse I am going to be. I have seen alot of negative and positive on different units as well as read and critically considered alot of “best practice” and I can say I know exactly what I’m aiming for and the type of professional I am going to be.  I’ve also narrowed down the career paths I want to persure after I graduate.

I just want to end by saying that I have alot to look forward to next year and there are so many aspects that I have no control. I think I need to keep my zen and make decisions as needed. I can predict that at this time next year I will have grown and maybe in a completely  different place again. 

And for all those people ready to see the end of 2016 here is a lovely story about Hamilton’s most interesting people

Thanks to everyone who continues to read and I will keep journalling for my own benefit and if you all want to jump in to comment or converse I am happy you are here 🙂

Now its time for the Canada USA match. Happy New Year all!

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