Why I am grateful for my 2019 shit storm


A year ago today I was 7 days from testing my 1 rep maxes in training and then had the utmost pleasure of losing the ability to lift, drive and pretty much do anything with my dominant hand.

Then it got real spicy just after Christmas when I thought I was going into cardiac arrest on the bloor-danforth line, only to be then told by a walk-in clinic that I may possibly be concussed and that was probably an anxiety attack.

*Insert recommendations to avoid ALL exercise, public spaces, screens, books and consequently, my job*

My independence and autonomy was gone in an instant. I was constantly irritable, needed a minimum of 9 hours of sleep, I cried every day for 2 months and lost all my regular coping mechanisms.

I also developed a chronic lump in my throat that I still have today and likely formed as a result of the persistent anxiety and grief. (It’s called globus sensation and I consider it my shit storm souvenir).

But WAIT there’s more: Amidst all this FUN, I also moved cities. I would be away from my friends, my boyfriend and my dog, who became very attached to me because I was home all the time. This move would continue my experience of the loneliest year of my life.

I also emptied my savings account in an attempt to heal my brain with various therapies and treatments and was coming to the end of my contract at work and was using up all my available brain power (none) to write cover letters and resumes on a weekly basis.

But despite all this, I was determined to come up on top, I would do something productive with all my spare time and would start training clients again solely for the love of it. A passion project to give me an escape.

Except here’s the catch: I landed a full time job that made me sign a non-compete meaning I would have to shut down my little passion project before it even had the chance to breathe.

So there’s my 2019 story… or is it?

Because I also know a different one.

One where I learned how to meditate, take time for myself, make puzzles, discovered incredible podcasts and was able to tune into a spirituality I didn’t know I had in me.

I had the opportunity to ski in the Austrian alps and drink some of the best coffee I had ever had in my life.

I signed up for a 10K without ever having run that distance in my life and finished under my goal time at 57min.

I gave back to the powerlifting community by volunteering at two meets and even made some friends along the way.

Thanks to my moving, I could also once again be a member at my favourite gym and train in a place that I knew would inspire me rebuild my strength, which I did within 3-4 months.

The job I landed would also be a 7 min commute from home, eliminating any rush hour traffic stress.

I deadlifted and bench pressed personal bests and regained all the muscle I lost and then some.

I also got to see a good friend get married in Mexico, see a wonder of the ancient world and learned that a childhood best friend would be getting engaged in the coming year.

I have come to learn 2019 was about learning to be myself in the absence of everything I thought was me.

Without books, I am not a reader, without my focus and attention to detail, I’m not a writer or a good employee, without exercise I’m not a healthy person and without the barbell I’m not a powerlifter.

Without my right hand or the permission to drive, I was no longer independent and had to learn how to ask for help and set boundaries with everyone.

As someone who spent a decade actively exercising emotional constipation, it rocked me when I found myself managing multiple daily breakdowns.

In 2019, I rediscovered vulnerability and found the girl I forgot about a long time ago. So while this was by far, the most tumultuous year of my life, I can not help but be grateful to finally find myself on the other side of the mountain.

With that I say, 2020 here I come, for better or for worse.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Jen Kennedy says:

    Sounds like quite the shit storm of a year for you but bravo and congrats on your resilience through it all and how you were able to see all the positive aspects of your year! Keep it up! Wishing you the best in 2020!


    1. Elle says:

      Thank you so much and I’ve come to learn it’s all about perspective and with some effort we can always find the good.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jen Kennedy says:

        Exactly! High five!


  2. I love your attitude in all of this. It sounds like you made it a year of growth. I hope the next year goes more smoothly for you.


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