Friday, February 16, 2018

Chinese New Year ~ The Year of the Dog

Stella, 2006

I hadn't heard of Chinese New Year, and the yearly designations (like rooster, ox and dog), until I lived in Vancouver, where there is a large Chinese community. Then I became friends with a couple who celebrated it and my sister's family started celebrating it thirteen years ago because their eldest daughter is Chinese, so I don't feel I'm co-opting another culture's new year celebration too much once every twelve years.

Being born in 1970, this is my year: the Year of the Dog. According to the website,, "Women born in the Dog year are very cautious. They are indifferent towards people they don’t like, and don’t trust easily. But once they do, it’s permanent. They are intensely protective of their friends and family. They are genial and independent. They love outdoor activities and being in nature. However, they are also hard workers and don’t give up until they succeed. Security and a stable income are her requirements for a career."

The last time it was Year of the Dog in the Chinese chart was 2006. I remember this because I bought a "Year of the Dog" mug at the pet store in Cobourg (I still have it but it's packed away somewhere). My divorce had been granted a few months earlier, so I was finally done with all that and looking forward to my first year as truly free, but at the same time, we'd moved my father into a nursing home. It was a busy year, taking care of Dad on a daily basis, and I struggled a bit with depression around my 36th birthday. Then my mother was diagnosed with cancer. Then my friend Diana was diagnosed with cancer. 2006 was getting pretty shitty. A brief respite on the east coast would provide some mental and emotional respite.
That's when I met my Nova Scotia country boy, a blind date that changed my life (and Stella's). That was 2006, the Year of the Dog. High and lows are what life is all about -- as they say, it's not what happens to you but how you respond to what happens. 2006 was a life-changing year for me.

I'm sure if I thought about it, I could come up with other non-Year of the Dog years that were life-changing but can't help it: 2006 is a stand out. The reverberations from that simple decision to say yes to a blind date rolled right into 2016.

So the Year of the Dog has rolled around again and it will be interesting to see if 2018 provides a life-changing experience. I'm hoping this year isn't as hard on the heart as 2006 was -- up until something happened to heal my heart -- but I also know that's how life goes: it's always a mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly. But I wonder if it's safe to anticipate one amazing experience?

But just in case... also from that website: "It’s the Chinese tradition to wear red underwear every day during their zodiac year. Dogs can try this to ward off the bad luck."

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