For many people, the year brought a flood of emotion and confusion that couldn’t end quickly enough, and yet, couldn’t last long enough.
It was the year of a revolution of voices beginning with the Academy Awards and continuing with Black Lives Matter, provoking controversy and calling out for justice and an even playing field.
It was shockingly scattered with celebrity and populist deaths, including Toronto’s former Mayor - a whirlwind in time - only to be replaced in the headlines by a dramatically drawn out and sensationalistic US election with a surreal outcome. Finally some balance was created with a long-awaited victory for the great, great grandchildren of the original North American inhabitants, only to flip again with the passing of a dictator and finally, more celebrity deaths seeped in drama, as only celebrities could.
No doubt, it was a significant year that has made a historical dent in our minds.
I’ve watched the many Facebook posts of people crying out and begging for 2016 to be over, and then read the Twitter posts of activists riding the waves of progression. And I felt the emotion that comes with change - the resistance and the anticipation.
The majority of the year was the Year of the Monkey - my year, which came with its own set of events and personal shake-ups. After recovering from an early breast cancer diagnosis, I found myself fitting back into the working world again, as I slowly regained my footing. The loss of a beloved family pet drew tears for a moment, only to be replaced by the realization that the impact she'd made will never be undone. There were reconnections with significant people from my life, separated by more than two decades, but as our paths converged once again and we emerged wiser, greyer, and no less familiar.
Amid the tornado of events swirling behind me, I managed to break my own ground with the acceptance of my first fiction novel, scheduled to hit the book stores by the Fall. In the meantime, I began work on the second, hoping to harness some of the swirling dust of 2016. Because for me, it wasn’t a year to forget. What was physically lost was just space being made for more creation. What seemed defeating at the time, brought revelations, strength and most importantly, unity. Despite all of our differences in culture, pigment and opinion, it was heartwarming to see how people can come together when the ground becomes shaky.
Professionally, 2017 brings me to the tenth anniversary of Arka Communications. When I set out on my own path ten years ago, I had no doubt that it was the right decision, despite the many external fears and insistence that a full time job would be a better choice. Throughout this journey, there have been many hills and even more valleys, but never any regrets.
An interesting end to my year however, was a report card circa 1974, fished out by my mother and gifted to me over the holidays. I read in awe, the teacher’s assessment of a six-year old girl, newly emigrated from a foreign county to a modest Toronto neighbourhood. Although it was written over four decades ago, her comments, ‘creative, independent and original,’ is just the reassurance I need as I move into the new path of 2017. Happy New Year.