Happy 10th birthday!

photo of my cat mona

To my blog, not my cat! (Though it’s only a matter of time.)

Sanlive turned 10 years old on the weekend. To celebrate, I spent the afternoon with my sister, cooking dinner for family. That was the first time I’ve eaten with my family since Christmas, because I’ve been down with this stupid cough and cold. We had Vietnamese pork shoulder, ‘claypot’ chicken veggie stirfry, Malaysian chicken curry (Mum made this), apple crumble and red velvet cupcakes (modelled after Caitlyn’s cupcakes).

photo of vietnamese pork shoulder

photo of chicken and veggie

picture of cupcakes in a red cup with white icing and a strawberry on top

The last 10 years have been eventful. The year I started this blog, I began a new job as a webdev. A few months later, I developed chronic depression from stress at home and work. I didn’t know it was depression at the time, though it should have been obvious. Pressure kept building up because I had no one to talk to or knowledge for how to solve the problem. The people who offered their input would cut me off with platitudes and clever quips, which were well-intentioned, but distracting and increasingly unhelpful over time.

Some people explode when they reach the end of their tether; I shut down. My heart and mind go into mission mode and I make foot-down decisions. I decided I had enough and started job hunting – that was that. Now, if you think I’m making a big deal of a simple decision, you’d be right. It was a simple decision, yet a huge deal at the time because I was told repeatedly that I wasn’t ‘allowed’ to better my situation, only tolerate it. It took a year and a half of putting my needs and opinions last before it dawned on me that I didn’t have to.

I often experience the kind of coincidence where when I’ve made up my mind about something, suddenly all these things happen. I’d just returned from a job interview over lunch when my head-of-department called me for a meeting. We’d been bought over, they were letting me go… with a big severance package! My manager fully supported my wanting to leave, this made things easy for both of us. Cash start for new life? YES PLS.

I took a month off to paint, sew, draw, cook, take pictures. I adopted two kittens and got to unwind from all the bottled-up stress. Eventually, I got a new job doing the type of work I wanted at the company I had my eye on since leaving school. That was pretty sweet.

photo of my kittens from 2006 (rip)

The life I wanted included cats, independence, trust, authenticity, learning, exploration, art, science, fun and the freedom to be myself. So, I broke it off with anything that tried to interfere. I travelled. Sometimes would ‘find myself’ abroad, but most of the time it would happen upon coming home and sorting out whatever I needed space from in the first place. I moved to a city apartment – a dream since highschool – and then back to the suburbs for the quiet.

I traded visual design work for UX & content strategy, and completed a professional writing diploma in half the allotted time. I attempted library school and failed abysmally. I got to work on a music project where we released a single, got to play reserve for a State/Div1 football team, got to be patient zero for a cat internet viral, took up gardening and started crocheting. I achieved my 7-years-long goal of donating blood, and my 14-years-long dream of designing a game. I played a lot of League of Legends and Skyrim.

I lost my beloved kittens and adopted new ones. That was sad and then sweet. I ended draining friendships and worked on amazing ones. This was also sad and then sweet. There seems to be a recurring theme.

picture of a toy house

photo of a landscape

It’s cheesy and indulgent to write a post like this. But fuck it, right? I think I’ve earned this small luxury after 10 years. I wish I could tell you my life became so perfect since, but I’m still figuring things out and don’t believe in perfection. I still deal with depression, but I have people I can talk to now.

In my excitement to share with you, I struggled with the words. This took me five days to write. Not so long, I suppose, next to the years gone and the next however-many years to come.

picture of a pergola at a lake

Thank you, friends, for reading and following all this time. :) Here’s to you!