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A New Year

JonathanIf anyone had asked me a year ago today what I’d be doing on December 31, 2014, I would have predicted that I’d be spending part of the day preparing graphs and charts for Iceberg’s annual planning meeting at Yummyaki restaurant in Waterloo, Ontario. We’d head there for about 6:00 p.m., and discuss both our 2014 results and 2015 plans while enjoying the best all-you-can-eat Japanese food we’ve yet to find anywhere. By about 8:00 p.m. we’d have settled on our go-forward strategies and priorities, celebrated the past year’s business results, and be ready to partake in more traditional New Year’s Eve festivities with friends in Kitchener-Waterloo, and if the schedule allowed, Guelph.

I would, of course, have been totally wrong.

Because as Kenneth’s October 2nd Author Note reported, opportunities have drawn the Iceberg partners north and west to Edmonton, Alberta, more than 3,500 kilometers away and a darn sight colder at this time of year. Now, after just over two months on the ground, we’ve all settled into new day jobs, found places to live, and mostly got things unpacked and at least partly organized. We also managed to release one ebook novella –– Progeny –– while we were packing up and will release a second –– The Count ­­–– on January 1st. Harm’s Way, the Champions series 1942 hard copy omnibus, will follow in about four weeks.

At some point I’ll write about the move itself –– packing up more than three decades is not uncomplicated, and in many ways can be quite a shock to the system. I already knew that of course –– we’ve packed up our lives twice before for cross-country moves. But you do tend to forget how it feels to watch treasures disappear into vaguely-labeled boxes, and say good-bye to friends who stop by in the hours before you close the door behind you on a house you love and head out. (In the latter case, the answer to the question “What would Mike Strong do?” was, in fact, “Make Jacqui cry.”)

Mike Strong (aka Mark Kipper) with the Iceberg partners just hours before we leave Waterloo.
Mike Strong (aka Mark Kipper) with the Iceberg partners just hours before we leave Waterloo.

More than once on the journey that starts with three vehicles driving across the top of Toronto at about 11 p.m. at night, you inevitably find yourself asking, somewhat incredulously, why on earth you voluntarily decided to do this. But of course you know why. Difficult or not… exhausting or not… challenging or not… you really can’t turn down the chance for an incredible adventure that brings you close to the mountains and back to Kenneth’s new world.

We don’t think about it much, but every morning when we’re lucky enough to swing our legs over the edge of the bed and begin the day, we’re starting on an incredible new adventure that will have both challenges and rewards, things we’re ready for and things we’re not, things we planned for and things that take us totally by surprise. It just likely doesn’t seem like much of an adventure when we’re in the same place we’ve been for years or even decades.

Big changes like the one the Iceberg family made this fall bring into sharp relief everything and anything that has become commonplace and oh so very easy, like buying groceries and Christmas shopping. You can’t be on auto-pilot for anything. You have to be attentive and aware, each and every moment. You have to be willing to get totally lost and take twice as long to get anywhere. You have to be willing to reorganize, rethink, rebuild. You have to believe that things will work out, and then you have to ensure they do. And you are reminded that everyday is indeed an adventure.

Today we’ll miss the people and places that were integral to the New Year’s Eve traditions we established in Waterloo. We’ll miss them a lot. But we value the opportunity to be here in this new place, where the snow sparkles and the hairs on the inside of your nose tell you how cold it really is.

And we are especially grateful for the reminder that everyday life truly is anything but commonplace, and is its most rewarding when each and everyday we are attentive, when we do more than we think we can, when we believe, and dream, and dare. And stay strong.

From our family to yours… Happy New Year.

@JTam_Iceberg Twitter and Instagram followers would be familiar with the 'rules' shared this past summer and fall. Here they are... all in one place.
@JTam_Iceberg Twitter and Instagram followers would be familiar with the ‘rules’ shared this past summer and fall. Here they are… all in one place.