2019 in Review, and the Shape of Things to Come

Why hello there — long time no see. For anyone still following this blog, this post will come as a little bit of a surprise, or rather a strange notification in your feed. For any newcomers, let it be known that this is my first post in almost two years. Two years that have gone by in the blink of an eye, and that have seen the biggest growth I have experienced both professionally and personally. Many defeats, and lots of learning experiences.

I have been meaning to resurrect this place for some time, and only recently figured out the right balance of personal versus much too subjective content that I want to aim for. As such, I will reboot this blog with a bit of a recap and some highlights that took place throughout 2019.

Winter 2019 -January

Unlike many years before this one, I had a very healthy start of the year — a good state of mind, with good friends, doing healthy activities, and generally having a very good work-life balance. I kicked off the year with a vlog which is now defunct. A vlog that mostly focused on my every day as a bicycle commuter throughout winter and all the in-between situations that made it entertaining. I didn’t know it at the time, but I kept recording materials for said vlog for three more months even though episodes were not produced past the end of January. I had just been onboarded to a program at work that proved to be a challenge but would grow to be the biggest adventure I had experienced in my professional life. I wisely balanced my work stress with a lot of bouldering, snowboarding, and winter cycling.

After many months of travelling at the end of 2019 (I went to the West Coast 6 times in 3 months!), I was happy to be home with my furniture, my cats, and my independence, as this was also the first month my ex-spouse was technically not paying for rent in the apartment that is now mine and mine only. Even if she hadn’t been around for months and mostly using a room as a storage unit, this meant a lot. Around this time I got a massive tattoo that I was really proud of, and that I partially ruined later on.

Winter 2019 – February

February was a good continuation of the beginning of the year:

  • Exercised a lot, and was in very good shape
  • Worked a lot of hours, and invested a lot of time into making sure everything improved at work
  • Got a Rider-Waite Tarot deck, which was the beginning of something great, and my second Tarot deck
  • Paid for a museum membership, something I hadn’t done since I was a teenager
  • Got very seriously into climbing, doing it 2-3 times a week and getting shoes + other gear to do it effortlessly
  • I got a unicycle

Around this time I got into a pretty bad creative valley where I was trying a lot of things I would see online (resulting in a few months of very repetitive color palettes). A few exceptions happened here and there including the picture above, which an acquaintance at the time liked, which made me strangely happy and made me re-consider my approach.

Winter 2019 – March

Come March, work was getting busier and busier, and with stress piling up and me trying to force myself to have a good balance by working out and doing a lot of hours, I injured myself a day after a very strong bouldering session, which resulted in me being bed-ridden for 48 hours and later on being in a lot of pain at work. This resulted in me slowing down a bit and trying to focus more on stability rather than pushing myself hard to get to the next level. March was strange in that winter pretty much ended and an ocean of grey and rain took over.

During this time I kept running into a coworker I had begun to talk to online, and we also kept having near-misses all over the place, where in at least 3-4 occasions we missed each other by minutes at different locations.

Lots of boots and coats were bought now that I couldn’t focus solely on buying biking gear, which strangely enough led to me carrying entire outfits on my bicycle basket to work — at least when I had the energy.

After many years of passively implying it, I came out as non-binary to family, friends, and co-workers. It personally didn’t change anything as I have felt this way since I was a child, but it somehow did have some meaning as people now understood my mindset a little bit more.

Spring 2019 – April

April was a good month for discoveries. After going to a fashion exhibit where I took the picture above, I was very much committed to improving my personal image, which had for the most part remained unchanged for the past 5 years, where I basically wore a lot of practical techwear and dressed in army supply gear for the most part. I opted instead for smart fabrics in more fashionable ways as well as some clothes I had fancied for a few years.

I started getting back on the saddle after my injury from last month and even almost got myself stranded in a mountain after I lost a few screws I had not tightened in a shoe, which reminds me — don’t forget to tighten your jewelry! I got six piercings and a tattoo during this period of time, which was also not the wisest thing I have done, period.

I bought what has become my favourite pair of boots (if you know me, you know which ones I am talking about), and I very clearly remember very unwisely destroying my feet trying to break them in after a few days. Little did I know, It would take me months to do that.

Spring 2019 – May

May was an insane month. I had decided I was going to go to a friend’s wedding by train and return by bicycle. Little did I know, you can’t really trust Google to build an efficient route for you, which resulted in me aiming to ride my bicycle for 11 hours but instead having to do so for 18. On Hour 17, and less than half an hour away from home, I crashed my bicycle, fell hard on the asphalt injuring one of my legs and scraping bits of skin off my arms, legs, and shoulders, and might have also given myself a concussion… woops.

Yet less than 48 hours later, I was back at work for an insane 72 hours for a dual go-live that was relatively successful. I am still unsure how I managed to get through 20 hour work days for nearly 3 weeks just after injuring myself like that, but it somehow worked out. At this point I realized I had worked every single holiday for 6 months straight, and started planning a much deserved break with my supervisor.

The weekend after the go-live I went to a pin-patch event with some friends, including the one I kept having near misses with, and we ended up mysteriously hanging out two days in a row.

Summer 19 – June

Bought my fourth tarot deck shortly after the event mentioned above — The Marigold Tarot deck.

I made big efforts to get back into cycling after my injury from the previous month, and pretty much did every activity I could throughout: Mountainbiking, road cycling, regular commuting, and I even bought a penny board to make my commute more entertaining if I ever needed to take the subway. Around this time I started really getting into doing daily tarot draws as a tool to analyse myself and force myself into understanding my surroundings. Also took advantage of work slowing down a bit to actually incorporate weekends back into my routine and even having a party at my place, where my tarot decks saw more action than they would have otherwise seen.

I wrote a very lengthy post about mental health and specifically cutting in Instagram, which devolved into a lot of people reaching out about it, and about their own problems. In a moment of controlled despair I gained a lot of friends, which was great to see. During this time I had an extra cat in my life, which was a challenge and probably helped a lot with my mental health.

I tried to get back into bouldering but dropped it off after a few sessions since my injuries were not healing as well as they could have.

Also, lots of possums.

Summer 2019 – July

Bought a 50mm lens for my Sony kit, which felt like a huge step forward after years of me not working on developing my photography other than through editing.

July was spectacular in its own way in that it was both as hot as July usually is in Montreal, and that I started slowing things down a little bit as to not burn myself out.

Near the end of the month I started hanging out with an aforementioned friend a bit more in person due to some movie screenings, and was overall more active going out and being social: Concerts, random parties, park gatherings, and the like.

Work was at an all-time low, and it really allowed for summer to be enjoyed.

I started taking the bus instead, which led to me being able to read about a book or two a week since. Taking the bus rather than cycling to work has changed me in good and bad ways, and it will be interesting to change my current routine in the future.

Summer 2019 – August

The first week of August I injured myself in the worst way I have injured myself ever. I stopped riding my bicycle altogether and relied mostly on public transportation to get around.

I bought a guitar on a crazy sale and spent most of the month just lying in my living room with my cats watching teevee shows and movies. In spite of being injured I kept doing small walks and other similar activities in order to keep active. Also watched a ton of artsy movies at our local international movie festival — something I hadn’t done in years and definitely missed in my life.

I saw this month as a great opportunity, especially since I wasn’t using upwards of 20 hours every weekend for cycling, to feel alive and hang out with people, as well as actually being social for the first time in easily a year. Partied hard, had fun with friends, and took some risks.

It was also at this point that I started to focus more on my photography, even if I was doing it mostly mobile. I.E. taking pictures on my mirrorless camera and then editing them on my phone rather than my computer.

Summer 2019 – September

Continuing the trend from the previous month, I took every opportunity I could to go out and hang out with friends. From parties to just hanging out in the park. Went to the local Thierry Mugler exhibition for the third time during its run, and had much more fun with company to point out things that I missed in my first two runs.

Decided to hop back on a bicycle for the first time in over a month and did not immediately regret it. As it turns out, healing also involved losing a massive amount of muscle mass, which was a bit disappointing but taught me a good lesson: Healing is a process that needs time and should not be rushed, which is also true for mental health.

At the end of the month I went to Oculus Connect 6 in San Jose and was greatly inspired. I took a short vacation in San Francisco afterwards as I knew my injury would not let me have a lot of fun. I took it easy in the few days I was there and yet managed to walk from the Fillmore District to the Embarcadero, to el Castro, and back to the Theatre District where my hotel was located. It’s a good thing I was injured… I also ate nothing but ramen while over there after having a few bad experiences with food in the days leading up to my holiday. While in the Bay area I had a conversation that was very much a huge leap in my personal development.

Once back in Montreal, for the first time in almost two years, I took a week off to do absolutely nothing.

Fall 2019 – October

I landed back in Montreal the day before October started, and pretty much spent the first week of it disconnected from the world.

I had made some purchases that aligned with me being at home that greatly improved how I felt about myself, which were very well complimented by some other items I purchased while in the Bay Area,

A lot of effort was put into making sure my home was up to standard and meeting my needs, as well as getting back into casual cycling, which was something I had been yearning for a very long time, as cycling has been a very important part of my life for the past 10+ years. I painted, re-built furniture, went around town, and did a lot of creative things.

I purchased the Goatbunny Tarot deck (seen above) and had a very good time surrounding that particular situation. It was around this time that I figured I maybe wanted to collect a lot of Tarot decks just to make sure I had something to fit the mood every time.

October was a time for a lot of firsts: Bought my first formal clothes since I became independent, went to my first burlesque show, went out in full drag for the first time, did a wild halloween costume for the first time, and so on and so forth. There were a lot of moments in October that were definitely steps forward even if I didn’t know it at the time.

Fall 2019 – November

I actually don’t have a lot of pictures from November, as this month was mostly centered around feeling.

Near the beginning of the month, me and a person decided to give being together a shot, and that was a big focus for the whole month. They got a Nintendo Switch, and so did I. Much gaming was done, and a lot of personal development followed suit.

The month flew by in an instant due to work being insanely busy and my personal life also having a lot of items in it, but all in all November was a great month with a lot of things happening in it — both good and bad — that helped a lot in my development in all areas of my life. I don’t think I have felt as happy as I have during this November in a very long time.

Winter 2019 – December

December was a strange month in that relief settled in as well as the prospect for a lot of work to be done. I worked this whole month with the main objectives of delivering everything I needed to deliver as well as being able to step back for a little bit, specifically towards the end of the year, where I intended to disconnect from work as much as I could.

This month as overall presented many challenges but also many opportunities. I began climbing regularly once more and I have overall being more mindful of my physical and mental health and been taking care of both.

There was a lot of progress for every aspect of my life and I am grateful that I have been patient enough to let all the motions go through and let the work towards something greater happen.There is much to be done for next year, but I am glad tha the foundations are there for the work to be done.

All in all, I think this has been a great year for growth to happen and I myself have grown a lot throughout these days, I am really looking forward to what 2020 has in store for myself and for the challenges I will be facing,

There is a lot of work to be done, and a lot of things to work on, and I am really looking forward to how they all evolve and come though.

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