To all the people watching, I can never thank you enough for your kindness to me and I’ll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask of you is one thing: please don’t be cynical. I hate cynicism — it’s my least favourite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.

– Conan O’Brien

I’d like to say that 2012 will standout as on of the key years that helped define the years that would follow it. I don’t know if it will, or won’t, but if feels like it might. 2012 started out fairly interestingly. Shortly before Christmas, my first (albeit short) relationship in long than I’d like ended. New Years wasn’t exciting. I broke my hand in a fit of frustration as previous events culminated with the shattering of a simple mug that, when filled with tea, reminded me of nothing but my Opa, as nothing else did. Things didn’t exactly start off on the highest of notes, and for a few months it didn’t seem like they would start looking up.

Then spring came along. Thinking back it’s actually hard to keep track of what happened in spring. I started going to Tonight It’s Poetry more frequently. D&D became much more regular. Nick popped up for St. Patrick’s Day (I think). Things got more social. They were looking up. Will was gearing up to go to China, Steph was gearing up to go to South America. Tony was gearing up to go back to Ontario (even though he was in BC and it wouldn’t actually effect how much we hung out). People all around me were DOING things. And it was exciting! Thinking of all my friends going off on adventures! The places they’d go! The people they’d see! The things they’d do! The STORIES they’d tell! I couldn’t WAIT for them to go! I even went on a tiny adventure of my own and took the Jeep to Winnipeg to visit Rachel and get my fill of sister hangouts. Later, I made a giant rice crispy square (and it was DELICIOUS).

And as I was becoming more and more excited for everyone around me to start their adventures… They were suddenly gone. All the time I spent helping them get ready to leave, I never actually thought that they would really be leaving, and what I would do without them. With Steph gone, who would spark spontaneous adventure? With Will gone, who would keep on my case to keep me off my own case? To keep my head in the game? Who would do dishes with me in our underwear on webcam for all of Reddit to see?

And all at once I was lost.
All at once I didn’t know what I was doing anymore.
All at once I realized I knew exactly what I was doing. I was doing nothing.
I didn’t know what to do.

As University let out, people started having more time to hang out and do things. Katie and I started going for regular brunches and she continually pulled thoughts out of my head and got me to express myself. Katie was pulling me back in, even if neither of us knew it. She became my lighthouse. Project365 got put back on the burner. Her Soul Pancake videos inspired me to try again at creating something again. During the summer of 2012, I stumbled around with my iPhone, taking my daily pictures as I once did religiously. I started turning them into videos. I was learning to use Final Cut. I was learning to express myself on camera, and speak my thoughts and share in what adventures I had. Granted, the video project didn’t last long, but I was creating again. Something I hadn’t done in far too long. I was starting to feel really great again.

Calgary Expo, 2012. One of the two highlights of mid-2012. I’d never been to a comic convention before. It was exciting! I got to spend a few days in Calgary, hang out with Tabi whom I hadn’t been able to see in a year or so, see some amazing panels during the expo, was able to meet Jeph Jacques, the creator and artist behind my favourite webcomic Questionable Content (and a true inspiration to me), meet a bunch of Tabi’s friends in Calgary (and in the process feel old by hanging out with a bunch of 1st and 2nd year university students) and touch base with my family in Calgary. I also started to form a bit of direction for what I wanted to start doing with myself in the long term.

Over the May Long Weekend, I took a spontaneous drive to Revelstoke to surprise Tony and visit Erik and Liz. It was a great trip, and I did a lot of reflecting on the high way. I also listened to a few books, and my like of literature started to grow again. After getting back, though, it feels like nothing really happened for a while.

Looking back, I know that’s not the case, but for most of the year it really didn’t feel like I was doing anything at any given time. Once Will and Steph were gone, since Nick moved to BC the year before, there was no one to instigate things. And it really felt like I was going nowhere for a lot of the year. I was idle. And when I get idle, I think too much. And I wind myself up. I get myself down. If I go through my 365 photos, as Steph often reminds me, it’s obvious I was always up to something. But all summer long, I could never shake that feeling that I just wasn’t going anywhere. Everyone around me seemed to be doing so much all of the time, and I felt like I wasn’t doing anything at all.

When August rolled around, Shambhala approached. I already knew that I wasn’t going, but I still wanted to do something. I decided I would drive Steph and Dan as far as Revelstoke, be awesome with them along the way, and hangout with them and Tony and hopefully Will as well before they all continued on to Sham, and I would stay in Revelstoke for my own vacation and go camping with Erik. Honestly the whole trip was the highlight of my summer. Seeing all my friends again, seeing Will after he got back from China, seeing Erik & Liz, getting to see Tabi and Kelsey on my way home going through Calgary, finishing a few audio books (and a real book, I might add!) and collecting my thoughts on the road. I even recall a back and forth whistling set with Katie though video messages (don’t text and drive, kids).

But I still had that feeling that I just wasn’t doing anything. I still couldn’t shake it. There were so many awesome things going on around me, but I still couldn’t shake the feeling that nothing was happening with me. Birthdays came and went. Tony and Steph came and went. My parents finally got their winter plans in order and I moved back into the house to help take care of it with Collin.

I decided over the summer that I wanted to go to Europe. To explore, to meet people. To connect with my family in Germany that I’ve never met before, and to visit my cousin Mandy who moved to Copenhagen and I hadn’t seen since we all met up in Banff before her wedding (Which was also in Copenhagen.) It was something to work towards, something that excited me.

Yet still, I couldn’t shake the feeling.

The idea of going to Europe was exciting, but it wasn’t a plan for what to do with myself for the long term. It wasn’t going back to school, it wasn’t building computers, it wasn’t being back in IT. I didn’t have drive.

Slowly it dawned on me. That’s what I needed to do. I missed being in school, I missed working in IT at the university.

So I developed a plan. I’ll do everything I can to get to Europe. In the mean time, I needed to look into going to SIAST, getting into and going through the Computer Systems Technology program, and finally get the job I both want, and am absolutely hands down supposed to be doing.

And then thing started looking up again. I realized that one of the reasons I couldn’t shake the feeling of not doing anything was because I wasn’t doing anything. At least, I wasn’t working towards anything.

I’m not going to lie, as winter set in things started feeling bleak again. It may have been winter blues, it still might be something larger than that.

But, I’ve been trying really hard for the past month or so, something I haven’t really done all year. I’m working to make social activities happen, I’m reaching out to people. I’m reading more, I’m thinking of writing more. I have ideas! There are things I want to create! I finally have an appointment at SIAST to get my education kickstarted again, I’ve made some actual plans for things I want to do in Europe (even though I still haven’t got anything officially happening), I’m motivated again. I’m motivated again. And it’s all starting to come together without outside force. Something that I haven’t been able to say for a long time. To be internally motivated is a tremendous feeling. I don’t know how to express it, because I think it’s something that everyone else has all the time. But it feels amazing, and I’m doing everything I can to hold onto it. For the first time in a long time, I’m feeling really good.

I saw RUSH this year, I went to Video Games Live, I started playing D&D regularly, Matt and I are consistently climbing three times a week, I’m making plans, I’m going out, I’m seeing people. I’m doing things a person does. And it feels GREAT.

2012 started out on not the highest of notes. It was a bit rocky. It had incredibly high notes, and some low notes. I wasn’t on my best form through most of 2012, though. But you know what? It’s ending on a really great note. So many of my friends are doing great things, and I’m getting ready to do great things myself. It feels good to feel good again. I honestly can’t wait for 2013, and for everything it’s going to be bringing. The projects I want to start, the ones I want to continue, my hopeful reentry into education, my trip to Europe and connecting with my family overseas, and all the prospects that will come along with all of it. Of course there’s things I missed, but I’m sure they’ll come to mind as time goes on and stories are told. I look forward to telling those stories, if you’ll stick by and listen.

So I think it’s true. I think I’ll look back at 2012 as one of the years that really made a difference. When I left university I said I wanted to take a year off, work, and reflect on what I want to do. And I eventually did it.

So that’s where 2012 is headed to conclude. On a high note. Which, I think, is what everyone always hopes for.
For all the tribulations that 2012 brought with it, I’d say it was worth it. Because as I’ve always believed, it’s not the destination, but the journey that counts. And who are are when you finally reach that destination is shaped by that journey you take.

So here’s to 2013. I hope to see you all a lot more often during it. Get to know you better, and let you get to know me a bit better as well. Everyone I know is my friend for a very good reason, and each one of you brings out something in me that I didn’t know was there before. I can’t wait to see what 2013 brings for us all.

Happy New Year, everyone.