I took a moment this morning to just breathe, meditate, and reflect – not just on where I’ve been but also on where I want to be going. As traumatic and chaotic as 2017 was, I felt a strange sense of calm as I started this new year. Perhaps it is because a part of me feels like the worst has already happened; it’s already behind me so now I can focus on the present.

I used to be a big time planner. I liked having a regimented schedule and a detailed task list that would keep me focused. I also liked to plan out my days, months, year … but this year I’m going to take it a bit slower.

The concept of time for me has definitely changed ever since my brother passed away. It was something I never thought would happen. It totally went against any logical timeline. I never thought I would lose him. I never thought he’d die before me … or our parents. I lost him too soon. Too unexpectedly. Too quickly. It just didn’t make sense. Even now, if I think about it too much, I feel like I will collapse. So I have to stop myself and slow my mind and my breathing down.

I guess it is with this sense of calm and slowing down that I am approaching the new year. I am quite relieved to be starting it in a new country. I have a new beginning. Well, somewhat. Having already lived in Kuwait for 20+ years, I am surrounded by a lot of familiarity, which brings me a lot of comfort. However, the one thing that is different this time is me. I am different.

My life outlook, my attitude, my sense of purpose, my priorities … they are all different. I feel like I am operating on a completely new level, and I think that this new perspective is the foundation of my clean slate. My fresh start.