It wasn't because I was about to turn 40 (that happened today). I'm actually excited about that.
It wasn't because I was sad or hurting in any way.
It was because, like most of you, I had been holding my breath for the last 4 years. Waiting for the next horrible thing that could and would likely happen.
That more lives wouldn't be lost. That the most horrible thing I could think of wouldn't happen.
The world has been holding its breath for years. Praying that the man who lived in the White House would not keep stoking the fires of hate and distrust in the world. Yesterday as someone new moved into the White House we all took a deep breath.
As a Canadian, our country is linked so closely to what happens in the USA. Our values have been similar in so many ways over the years. Watching over the last few years as those values were disrespected has been heartbreaking. Worrying about my friends' safety daily has been exhausting. Watching as they have had to fight tooth and nail to survive has been emotional for me.
In fact, it was a great reminder of how many places around the world don't have what we do. Why people long to come to North America to have a chance to live the life we do because we were born here. Those of us who live in countries where it has been this way our whole lives have taken this for granted. We have always seen it as the way things are, but we learnt very quickly on Jan 6th that it isn't a given.
We were reminded that it hasn't always been this way. That it can be taken away in an instant if we don't value it. If we don't respect it. If we don't maintain it, change it and grow it into something better every day.
Those of us who live in democratic societies have a right to have our voices heard, but we cannot lose sight of our humanity for that to happen. We cannot forget that we aim for a better, more inclusive world for everyone because we are all humans who deserve to live happy, healthy and free lives.
So yeah, I spent January 20th crying for most of the day. Crying because I was finally able to breathe.
Crying because there is hope for a better world.
Crying because change is not only possible; it is demanded of us all for us to do better.
Crying because we are all witnesses to history being made.
Crying because while this moment didn't fix or heal anything that has happened over the previous decades, it does lead to hope.
Hope that the world can come together.
Hope that we can all start to listen and learn from each other in meaningful and respectful ways.
Hope that we can all do anything we set our minds to.
Hope that no matter how hard things get, how scary the world can be, we can always make it better.
There will be generations of children now who have no idea what it is like to live in a world where women could not be voted in to hold the world's highest offices in North America. Generations of children now live in a different world than we grew up in. A world where the people holding office look like them, worked hard over many years to 'make it'. A world where anything really is possible. Generations of children who know progress is possible, no matter how slow it is.
Today the world is a little better than it was the day before, and that is what I aim for every day. That is what we should all aim for every single day. One step closer to a more inclusive, kinder, more loving world for all.