Dear friends / family / fellow adventurers,
I want to write you, personally, to thank you for the impact you’ve had on my life this year. I’m already crying before even getting into this letter, because although it may seem impersonal to write an open letter instead of scribbling a quick greeting in an individual Christmas card, I’m overwhelmed by the faces of all the people I’m going to send this to, how amazing you all are, all the things I need to say, because of how you have been there for me in ways large and small this past year.
As you might know, or perhaps you don’t, last year I suffered a soul-shattering, world-changing tragedy in my life. But I’m not here to talk about that. In the time since then, to quote one of my favourite songs of the moment, “I have come farther than I ever thought I could.” I do honestly feel more joy, more often, than I’ve possibly ever felt before.
I went on an epic 2.5 month trip-of-a-lifetime to New Zealand and Australia. I jumped out of an airplane, off a cliff, off a waterfall, off a couple of bridges, rode a horse through Middle Earth, went on an impromptu 3-day motorcycle adventure, sandboarded in a place called “Kangaroo Island,” sea kayaked with dolphins, watched countless stars and sunrises and sunsets.
Then I quit my job in Ottawa over Skype from Australia, and moved all my stuff across Canada from Ottawa to Vancouver, on nothing but the promise of a job interview and a good feeling. It was a crazy leap of faith that has worked out in the best possible way, as I now have an amazing new job as a tour guide, taking people on adventures to some of my favourite places around BC. I joined yoga, I learned to surf, I tried a lot of new things, reconnected with many old friends, and made some amazing new ones.
If you’re on Instagram or Facebook you’ve no doubt seen some photos of my crazy adventures to New Zealand, Australia, and around Canada. I hope you know that I post these photos not for me, and not to brag or be narcissistic, but for you, because I know a lot of people have been cheering me on, and I want you to see that I’m surviving my life apocalypse, that I’m thriving in the aftermath, that I’m making the absolute most of my new life. Each post is a little piece of victory.
I have no illusion that I did this on my own, that I got here on my own. I started the year as a pile of dust. Yes, I am strong and brave and fierce and resilient and all the rest. I can be proud of myself for how far I’ve come, and I am.
But I was also very broken. You carried me. You talked with me on Skype or Messenger at a probably unreasonable hour. You fed me. You gave me a place to stay. You met me for coffee. You left a heartfelt comment on my blog. You danced with me. You went on an adventure with me. You laughed with me. You made me smile. You made me feel special, and loved, and awesome. You let me be me. You walked alongside me, for a day or a moment or maybe for this whole year.
I am so grateful for all these gifts I’ve received this year, even when in many cases I’ve felt like I have very little to give in return. Even now, at the thought of sending cards or gifts to you… nothing I could offer would ever be enough. Letting you know how much it has all meant to me, that it what I can offer, and I offer it with all my heart.
I am not “there” yet. Wherever there is. I have a long way to go along my path and a lot of healing left to do. But I have come a lot farther than I ever thought I could. So from the bottom of my patched-up-filled-up heart, thank you. I hope your Christmas/holiday is magical and your new year is truly filled with happiness.
9 thoughts on “An Open Christmas Letter To The Bestest People In The Entire World”
Wait you were in NZ! I live in NZ currently. I wish I had known about your blog sooner, I would have been able to meet you then.
Anyways, great letter!! Proud of you
I love you sister.
I hope your 2018 treats you kindly, gives you plenty of adventures and is full of love and joy. You know I’m always here if you need me (time differences are handy!)
So very happy you have made a whole new world and are doing so beautifully in it. We’re very proud of you, Jenille – of how far you’ve come, of how amazingly you use and share your gifts, and of your wonderful joyful spirit.
PS: Iain wants to know what hair colours you have in mind for 2018!!!
I’m not sure we are ever ‘there’, but glad you are here. Look after yourself and wishing you the best for 2018.
You are a treasure! Sending our love and hugs to you. xoxo ❤
It has really been great to see how far you have come since a certain person took a wrecking ball to your life, Janelle. You are not only a survivor but a thriver. You have so much to offer. And you add a lot of life and adventure to the world in general, but to your friends most of all! #alwaysforward
Janelle Best of the season to you. Bless your heart for all your kind words. Here is to more adventures in 2018, love seeing what you are doing. Hugs P & P
Love you, Janelle! ❤️ All the precious moments I get with you are time well spent. Merry Christmas.