Goodbye … for now

The time passed so quickly.  I look at pictures and see your beautiful smiling face.  You did that all the time.  Your bright smile lit up a room.  Your laughter was part giggle and part ha ha and it always made me smile.  I will miss that smile.  I will miss your laughter.  I will miss you.

You came into my life as a well kept secret.  You had been dating your love, my stepson, for a couple of years before I had even heard about you.  One day, when I heard that you were in town for a visit, I decided I had to meet you.  Being Christmastime, I knew my chance had come to meet the elusive girlfriend.  As I walked into the house I heard your voice.  It was very soft and lilting.  I heard you laugh for the first time.  I turned the corner and saw you.  There you were, sitting demurely on the sofa.  Your long black hair framing your beautiful face.  You looked meek and shy.  I introduced myself.  We exchanged a few words.  Then I went merrily on my way.  I loved you already. Our brief introduction led to a beautiful mother / daughter relationship and friendship.

As months and years passed, I got to know you better and better.  My love for you grew and blossomed.  How could it not?  You were a free spirit.  A happy spirit.  Someone who loved life.

Being part of your wedding planning was such an incredible joy.  Just seeing your eyes shine with happiness and excitement and surprise.  It was wonderful bringing your dream fairytale wedding to life.  Such a stunningly beautiful bride.  An incredibly happy bride marrying her true love.

Then you were with child.  You poor little dear, carrying such a large bundle of love.  Again, I can only be honest and describe you as beautiful…and adorable and cute…a petit large momma.  Pregnancy was not easy, but you loved every minute of it.  You welcomed your beautiful son into the world.

You have been a wonderful wife and mother.  You have been an incredible daughter and friend.  And with your illness there was a new side of you that came out.  You became a warrior.  I have never seen someone struggle through so many challenges and keep such a positive attitude.  You went months at a time in pain with many sleepless nights, yet you were always finding the silver lining.  You would say that “it could it be worse” when I oftentimes thought I would’ve given up and surrendered if this were happening to me.

You were a fighter.  I don’t think I could’ve ever fought as long and hard as you did.  You were my inspiration to see all the good in my life when I took it for granted.  Even when it looked like you might succumb to your illness, you came back stronger, daring fate to come at you again and again.  Your determination, your strong will, your desire to live kept all of us rooting for you and praising your heroics.  There was nothing you couldn’t beat.  Nothing was going to stop you.

Then, in a blink of an eye, everything changed.  Now, you are gone from our midst.  But I like to believe that it’s only your physical body that is gone.

Your spirit is out there somewhere jumping and running and being happy and free.  There is no more illness.  There is no more pain for you.  That is the only thing that makes us try to feel better about having to let you go.

We, the ones who are left behind, are now the ones with the pain and the suffering because we miss having you physically present in you lives.  Our hearts are broken.  We feel such an emptiness, a void that is your absence in our lives.  We miss you so much because we love you so much.

Thank you for being in our lives.  Thank you for changing our lives.  Thank you for all the memories you have given us.  Thank you for loving us.

With love…

Goodbye…for now.

 

Live longer…and less bruised

What kind of an idiot falls off an exercise ball ?  I prefer not to judge.  I would like to say that it would have to be a special kind of an idiot.  A lovely person who is obviously… a special kind of an idiot.  Oh yeah that special person would be me.  Oh, I do have special tripping talents.  I have managed to fall down stairs a couple…ahem…a few…ok…numerous times over the years.  I have walked into corners and furniture and stairs and I am sure I have broken my little piggies a few times.  Falling off a bouncy exercise ball is a new kind of injury for me.  Now, if you can stop laughing hysterically for a second, I will tell you the story of “The Exercise Ball and the Idiot”.

Once upon a time, about 5 months ago, I started going to the gym.  Wiseguy signed us up.  Wiseguy wanted to strengthen the muscles around his knees.  Me?  I wanted to build up arm muscles so when I fall down (which I do quite often) I would be ninja-nimble and would be able to stop myself from a catastrophic fall OR I would be able to more easily pick myself up instead of laying there helpless saying, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”  Both good reasons to hit the gym.  I must admit that seeing all the toys…ahem…equipment, made me want to have some of those fun things at home in case I couldn’t make it out to the gym.  You know, sudden summer snowstorm or something like that.  I live in Canada, eh?  Anyway, this is how I ended up being the proud owner of an exercise ball.  A very large, round exercise ball.  One that needed to be air filled prior to use.

I am not sure if you know or not, but there are different size balls that you can purchase. When Wiseguy asked me what size I wanted I figured go for the biggest one.  It made prefect sense to me.  More ball for the money.  Hmmm, knowing what I know now the largest ball was NOT the way to go.  It’s sort of like riding a bike that’s too large for you.  If your feet can’t reach the floor, you have the wrong equipment.  Don’t get ahead of me.

I waited for Wiseguy to blow it up.  No, no, not KABOOM! but more like foot pedal and pump to inflate my new ball.  I couldn’t wait to start doing exercises!  Time passed.  My ball, like my spirit, was deflated. I wanted to get rockin’ on some ab/core exercises.  That ball had to be filled!  I decided I had enough smarts to do this on my own.  HAH!

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like reading instructions.  I believe I’m smart enough to figure out how to do stuff just by looking at all the available parts.   Round peg, round hole right?  I opened the box and heaved out the ball.  I dug out the pump.  I pulled out the hose.  Back to basics:  Stick nib on pump.  Stick nib into hole in ball.  It fits…round peg, round hole.  Hose attaches to pump.  Press foot up and down on pump.  HA!  Easy-peasy!  The air whistled as my ball began to expand.  It grew and grew.  It got rounder and rounder and fuller and fuller.  Hmmm, how full should it be?  I had to get the instructions.  Ummm 0.6 psi.  Great!  How much is that?  I briefly scanned over the instructions to see if there were any hints it could give me about the psi.  Then my brain had a genius idea.  I recalled sitting on a stability ball at the gym.   I would test my new equipment with “butt memory.”   I plopped my rear end on the ball, perused the instructions to see if the pictures could give me a clue.  There were a variety of pictures of stick figures sitting incorrectly on the ball.  Large “X” through their bodies.  In picture language that meant “DO NOT” sit like this.  Well duh…of course not.  Right?  Only an idiot would fall off an exercise ball.  Right?

I bounced up and down a bit, ever so slightly to test the firmness and bounciness of it.  That’s when art became life.  I became the stick figure with the grand ‘X’ running through it.  The rest happened in slow motion.  Nooooooooooooo!!!!  I felt my body lean sideways.  I felt my one leg raise off the floor.  In trying to regain balance I managed to get the ball moving in a mostly backward direction.  Ah….the law of gravity…why would my body not break this law!  My ball slowly rolled backward.  My left foot became air born and started heading skyward.  I struck out with my right foot to try and get some floor with it, but that only increased the momentum.  The ball kept rolling backward.  In slow motion I felt my knees heading toward my chest, my back arching on the ball and my head going down to the ground.  No good could come from this dynamic move. Even worse were my volatile surroundings.  So serene when used as a sitting room, but lethal when an “idiot” is rolling backward on a huge exercise ball.

Behind me was a sturdy wood sideboard.  On that sideboard was a lovely stainless steel espresso machine.  The espresso machine was sitting on a glass cutting board.  The cutting board was large and jutted outward approximately one inch from the sideboard.  Beside the sideboard were my extra oven rack and my cookie cooling racks.  My mind worked quickly to assess the damage before the final landing occurred.  Metal and more metal.  Edges.  Lots and lots of detrimental edges.

Thought process:  I am going to hit the ground hard.  I will end up unconscious.  Since Wiseguy won’t be home until late I will die from my head injuries.  Waldo and Lucy, my beloved pets, won’t know what the hell happened and will continue to bark at walking passers by.  Wiseguy will come home and find me dead.  How will he survive without me?  Who will cook his meals?  No one can cook as great as I can.  He won’t last long without me.  What about the dogs?  Who will take care of them?  The grandkids…I won’t see them all grown up.  I won’t see them married off.  Will the kids think I’m an idiot too?  Who will clean up the blood?  Hope it won’t hurt too long.  Wish I had Life Call.  “Help I’ve fallen…” you get the idea.  Then…

WHACK!  CRACK!  BANG!

My head hit the floor.  My right foot whacked into the oven rack.  My left foot hit the glass cutting board.  MOTHER-FATHER!@!!!$#@^$@!!!  It was after my barrage of swearing that puppy Waldo came and sat beside me.  He tilted his head side to side trying to figure out what I was doing.  Lucy bolted for a hiding place.  Obviously the sky was falling.

I felt pain.  The back of my head hurt.  My right foot hurt.  My left foot hurt.  Pain was GREAT!  I wasn’t dead!  Then hysteria kicked in and I laughed and laughed and laughed so hard the tears came out of my eyes.  I might have even peed myself a little.  So then I called Wiseguy to tell him the fascinating near death experience I had.  I could hear him shaking his head through the phone.

Over the next few hours my delightful feet became a living rainbow.  My one inch bruise on the top of my foot became a swollen kaleidoscope of different bruised hues:  red, blue, yellow, even a nasty shade of purple.  It spread like lava til it reached the tips of my toes.  Then I discovered a bump on my shin.  The bruising kept leaching over my body.  That was fine.  I WAS ALIVE! I had fallen and I had managed to get up.

I learned a valuable lesson that day:  Teach your dog to dial 911 for emergency services.

Haha!  Nope.  That wasn’t it, but not a bad idea.

I learned that I need to have patience.  If Wiseguy says he is gonna do something, like inflate an exercise ball, then let him do it.  It might take a week, 10 days, 10 months, but I’ll live longer, and less bruised, if I follow this advice.

To Start Anew…

Fall is the season that most poets considered the middle age of life.  Spring is all about renewal. Summer represents the high-falootin’ days of youth.  Winter; cold and miserable…leading to death’s door.  So said the poets of yesteryear.  Well, I am here to claim that any season, of any year of your life, could become your season to begin anew.  I myself decided that I no longer wanted to live dreading each day of my existence.  This is my short tale of how I found the courage to start afresh and find my happier life.  I hope you will find some inspiration from this and get the gumption to laugh at fear and believe in yourself.

Life begins.  You are born.  You grow.  You thrive.  Every person has had different experiences in their youth.  Many have whimsical tales of the atrocities of their youth which become hilarious horror stories to share.  In most cases, they are never as bad as what many others experienced.  We might joke about clothes passed on from elder siblings (yes, I wore my older brother’s clothing).  We tell tales of psychotic parents and the types of punishment they doled out.  Whatever the torture, we survived.  It molded us into the adults we became.  As we moved from childhood to teenage-dom there were undeniably, more challenges.

If you ask any adult now, most will say they were never as bad as the teenagers are now.  Hmmmm.  If you were to actually start thinking about (shall we call them adventures) of your early double digit years, you might find that you were also a thorn in your parents’ side.  High school and the need to belong, finding your own identity, learning, growing.  To make it even more fun, the physical changes from youth to pre-adulthood.  Ugh…I would never want to relieve those days again.  We move along to early adulthood.  Welcome to your twenties!

You are an adult.  You are dreaming big on what you want to do in life.  Oftentimes finding a job meant actually greatly lowering your expectations.  Parents still viewed you as a child.  You had big ideas on your future life.  If you were brave, you followed your dream no matter what anyone said.  If you were trained, like most of the sheep in our society, you did what you were told to do and let life slowly start crushing your rose-coloured world.  It happened to numerous people (myself included) and in many cases it was because older, “wiser” people wanted what was best for you.  They didn’t want you reaching for the stars or dreaming big because they didn’t want you to get hurt.  It was done out of love, but in the end you were miserable.  Misery bred more misery.

You might have married someone thinking:  “This will make things better!”  You jumped from job to job hoping:  “This will be the one!”  This is where many found themselves saying that glorious phrase: “Life got in the way.”  Such a sad little phrase, but many truly believed this.  I myself was one of those for a very long time and then I literally (yes literally) decided that I could take control of my life.

Practice.  Yes, it took practice and EXTREME patience.  I disliked many things going on in my life and I felt trapped.  I had not control.  I pitied myself.  Then I made the conscious effort to STOP the internal, infernal negative voices.  From there, I started focusing on what I call the “silver linings” of life.  No matter how negative things seemed to be in my life, I would find the positive.

EXAMPLE:

NEGATIVE:  Stuck in traffic  /  POSITIVE:  I was listening to an audio book so I would actually be able to hear more.

NEGATIVE:  I got rear-ended / POSITIVE:  I was hit by an honest person who paid for the repairs.

NEGATIVE:  I did what my boss told me to do and was reprimanded later for not following policy /  POSITIVE:  I learned procedure and learned who I could trust and not trust.

These may sound like silly examples, but the fact is that our society is based on sarcasm.  Comedians make fun of people.  Embarrassing people and posting it on Facebook, or YouTube, so that it can go viral, is a new goal.   Gossip at work about who is the most stupid or the ugliest is a favourite past-time.  Even the daily news focuses on the negative.  You can break free!  How?

One day, I decided that, although in the Fall of my life, I could start anew.  I could find a place that would make me happy.  Best of all, I whole-heartedly believed it.  With my whole body and soul I trusted it would happen.  Did it work?  You betcha!!

It is the place where I work now.  Timeline:  from online resume to interview to second interview to job acceptance was one week.  My new job has people who are supportive and friendly.  Yes, the job is hectic and fast-paced, but I feel alive and grateful.

Moral of the story:

  •  Don’t be afraid to start anew.  So many famous people started new careers in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and beyond (helloooo KFC…Colonel Sanders)
  • Believe in yourself.  You have lived your life and learned many things.
  • Let go!  Sometimes not fretting is all it takes to make everything better.

 

 

 

Cellulite…a love story

I love sharing stories about my life and growth.  In this particular instance, it’s about waist (not waste…as no leftovers were harmed).  I can discuss the long, cold Canadian winters which leads me to over-carbohydrate myself with ravenous amounts of bread:  sliced bread, pita bread, bagels (bread really), English muffins (still bread) and then there are the dunking-into-stew breads like baguettes or French stick or really anything that sops up that lovely stewed liquid.  So, today my topic is about curdled-cottage-cheese thighs, my “over” tummy and how I cope with the gym fever of the world.

I joined a gym once.  It was a long time ago…ahem…super long time ago.  I think there was a T-Rex with a pencil ready to sign me up.  The machines were enormous. There were mirrors everywhere. There was a machine which had me pushing my legs out and focusing my eyes on my hoo-haw.  Why was this good?   After a few months (and a call to the Mafia) I managed to cancel my membership.

Yoga is a two-digit word.  Yes, it is supposed to be about clearing your mind and learning to breathe.  Yoga doesn’t work for me.  I learned to breathe…that is true, but other than that, all it did was lead me to rehearsing (in my head) my grocery list of items that needed to be done.  Yoga was not for me.

Racquetball.  I love playing racquetball!  It’s my favourite sport!  I started playing in University with a friend (for an hour) and have never…ever…played again.  True!  (Note: This is an ongoing joke with me and Wiseguy.)

Cycling!  Yes, I recall my bro and I going for long bike rides around our neighbourhood and beyond.  We were explorers!  We would leave after dinner and wouldn’t be back for at least two hours.  I do recall two bad cycling incidents.  Once was a mosquito in my eye.  Yes, it flew in and I smushed it and I couldn’t see well.  The other was where I was turning around a curve and there were crushed stones.  I wiped out and my elbows and knees were bleeding.  Luckily I was able to walk home and keep up my sniffles in order to be pampered at the finish line.  Milk it baby…milk it.

I belonged to a dance group that met once a week.  We had numerous performances and I was in almost all of the dances.  Yes…I was svelte.  Also I was young.  I could jump and spin and twirl and sing.  I could do almost anything.  (Yes, it rhymes…read it again.)

So, here I am…almost 50 (yes…I’m surviving) and my body has decided that there are renovations needed.  No, I did not get the memo.  No notice.  No meeting.  NOTHING!  My gutsy-trusty body decided to go ahead and pillage me without any notice.  How rude!

Every morning, before I get out of bed, I have learned that I should stretch.  I have been doing this since my early thirties.  Well, lately my stretches sound more like maracas!  One comedienne said it best, “I’m an exotic dancer for the blind.”  I stretch and all of my joints take turns cracking like a bowl of rice cereal.

I have maps of some sort of my legs. There are blue lines which I can only assume are rivers.  Not sure where these rivers are but one day I’ll find them.

Finally there are the bubbles.  Yes, I always find silver linings in everything in life.  My wonderful legs that carry my body everywhere have these pretty little dimples.  Yes…they are everywhere.  These dimples are fantastic FAT deposits.  They are the storage units of my winter solstice and my packing on weight to keep warm in winter.  Yes, I love lying to myself.  I just love food and using hibernation always sounds like a good excuse.  Anyway, I jiggle.  My stomach, by butt, I even have jiggle arms.  Here is my crazy thought.  Follow me on this.  Once I get diagnosed with an incredibly bad illness I will have my 20 lbs of extra fat (like camels not needing water) to help me through any horrible surgery and recovery.  Skinny people have nothing to fall back on.  My excess will assist me in survival and then I will once again be slim and healthy after my horrible crisis. Crazy?  Nah!  I just think ahead.

I am “cuddly”.  My granddaughter came up and poked me in my belly. Oh yes! Wait for it… “Big belly”, she said.   Yup, that is what this almost 6-year old said.  Was she right?  Oh yes…absolutely.  Was I offended?  In my younger days I would have been, but I have accepted my body.  I would like to be thinner, but I am also happy with myself and my life.  I don’t want to diet.  I don’t want to give up foods I love.  I consider myself a chef of sorts.  I have the greatest kitchen in the world and I LOVE TO COOK!  My other favourite motto is “never trust a skinny chef”.

Flashback to my “big belly”.  I looked at Kennie and asked, “Baba has big belly which means I am soft and cuddly and I can give you amazing hugs so big bellies are good right?”  She thought for a bit.  Really, really thought about it and then looked at me, nodded and said, “Yup, it’s good.” Then she moved in for the soft, cuddly, Baba hug.

Cellulite and cuddles…a love story.

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s your life…what’s your hurry?

Spring is in the air, that musty grass smell after being covered by snow.  The birds are chirping (quite loudly, I must admit) and there is this noise in the neighbourhood of children laughing and giggling and riding around on their bikes.  Spring is about renewal as everyone knows.  When others create their “New Year’s resolutions” in January, I wait until springtime to unveil to myself what my New Year’s persona is going to include.  After careful planning, intense deliberation, and weighing all the pros and cons I have decided that this is the year I will learn to slooooooooooooooow dooooooooooooooooown.  I am welcoming in my Year of the Snail.  How did I come upon this fascinating conclusion?  Sit back and relax while I tell you story.

Our tale begins with a middle-aged female, who, after years of dreaming and looking at pictures and requesting travelers to bring her postcards from their various vacationing destinations…finally got to travel to this place they all called “SOUTH”.  It was a wondrous place that this lady had heard about, where the sun continually shines, the water is pure majestic blue, the sand is soft, and there is nothing to do but smile and nap and do this bizarre action called “relaxing”.  Yes, so many very strange terms that the woman had never experienced before and yet here she was, ready to take this indiscriminate journey SOUTH.

Many tips and tricks were shared with the naïve female and her Wiseguy husband.  What to pack, how much to pack, where to go, what to do, where to eat, what to eat, health measures, first aid measures…her mind was overflowing with worry about this travel and if they would really be prepared for this overwhelming adventure.  After packing (over-packing truly), they spent a sleepless night and more tiresome day venturing before sunlight to the place where the metal birds fly you to this SOUTH place.  As tires touched ground at the destination, a tear slipped down her warm cheek.  She was SOUTH and it was like heaven on earth.

They stepped out of the plane into warm air.  No hail or snow, just glorious sunshine and palm trees.  She stared in amazement at the beauty of it all and had a hard time absorbing everything she was seeing.  “So this is SOUTH,” she thought and a calmness washed over her.  There was no fear of the unknown.  There was no more worry about what was packed.  For some strange reason, she knew everything would be wonderful here.  THE END.

THE BEACH

Yes, it’s all true.  I, the victorious lady in the story, was treated to a trip to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic (Thank you Most Awesomest Wiseguy husband).  One of many hot places that we here from the North call SOUTH.  Truly a great experience with wonderful people to meet and also lots of quiet time to relax.  No thinking about shoveling snow.  No thinking about work.  No thinking about cleaning or chores.  Really, somehow your brain gets re-set to think about what is really important in life:  remember to have fun and enjoy this ride called life!

Life should not centre on work and bills.  We always make those our priority and they usually lead us to fret and stress and sleepless nights.  Breathing in and out (which we are very lucky to do on a daily basis) and actually taking in and appreciating beauty and the good things we have around us are what makes us happy and makes this “life” thing worth living.

I officially welcome you to the Year of the Snail!  Try it!  Live with less rush!  (Factoid:  a garden snail travels approximately 1.3 cm per second).  Breathe…in…breathe…out… and appreciate what you have.   Don’t overthink or overplan everything.  There may not be any roses to stop and smell, but sometimes just listening to your breath, and knowing your alive is oftentimes the most valuable gift you will have today.  Here’s your life…what’s your hurry?

For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.”  ~Lily Tomlin

On Your Mark, Get Set…JUMP!

Every fall season seems like a new beginning, at least to me it does.  Many people tend to disagree with me as the natural and most popular rebirth season is spring.  You know, the whole winter thaw, new flowers bloom, trees start to get their leaves, the birds come back from winter hiatus. Although the season after summer has its own life beginning and life changing intrigues, please ponder the following.

A four-year old child.  This child has been at home or at a daycare.  Turning four means that they are going to big people school, a.k.a. kindergarten.  School all day.  There are activity tables that can be comprised of any of the following:  drawing, painting, water, crayons.  There are dolls so they can play house or doctor or whatever else pops into their little four-year old minds.  There is a teacher.  There are other kids who will be playing with them and calling them “friend”.  There are crafts that they will do with their teacher.  Scary?  A little.  It’s different from the usual.  Exciting and a little overwhelming, but they are ready to jump in.

Transition again from kindergarten to grade one.  Very different.  Your own desk and projects to do.  There is this thing called homework.  There will be tests.  Will you still have your kindergarten friends in your class or will there be new people?  Ready, set…jump in.

Let’s go higher up….grade 8.  Last year of middle school.  After this year there is a progression to high school.  What will your last year be like?  You are a senior…in middle school anyway.

Minor Niner.  Welcome to high school.  Quite a traumatic experience as there will be many new students and many of your old friends won’t be in your classes this year.  There are semesters and many more tests and challenges; especially the desire to fit in.  This will all be recorded in the yearbook.  What courses should you take?  Where will go after high school?  University?  College?  A trade?  A job?  Again, many decisions.  Life through school is very nerve-wracking.  It’s determining who you are.  Many people will be there in the shaping and moulding of your life.   You won’t realize it at the time, but looking back, you will see who and what influenced your life.

Now, let’s say you didn’t finish high school.  Where did your life take you?  Did you go into the workforce?  Did you travel?  Did you move out on your own from the house you grew up in?  What made you take a leap of faith and move into the direction you moved?

It’s fall again.  The older I get, the more I want to take more time for myself and my dreams.  I believe I am in the fall of my life.  There are brilliant explosions of colours (my desires) running through my mind.  There are changes I want in my life.  There are things I was always afraid to do because I thought I would be criticized or laughed at.  It doesn’t matter anymore.  Now, it’s my opinion of myself and my self-love that will make me succeed.  Fear of failure?

Failure now has a new definition. To me the definition of failure means that I didn’t try something new as opposed to trying and not having it end up perfectly.  Perfection is quite subjective.  Depends on who is looking at it.

In the fall of my life I have decided to take a job that would put me much farther from home.  It’s a position I have some knowledge about, but there will be much new learning.  Excited?  Absolutely.  Scared?   Strangely, not really.  I am totally confident in my ability to learn.  I know that I can do anything.  There is no fear of failure.  Is that a bad thing?  I am not sure.  I know when I used to perform on stage the nervousness before was part and parcel of a good, confident performance.  Over confidence usually meant something would go wrong.  Is that the same with jobs?  Perhaps.  I am not afraid to ask for help.  Pride is the only thing that could hurt me.  I like my new vision of life and all that change can hold for me.  The need to try new things is exhilarating instead of frightening.  I am happy to have swallowed my dreaded fear of failure.

I am certain that with change there will be hurtful experiences in my life.  Daring to try new things, even if it means failure, proves that I  have stepped outside my comfort zone and into the realm of the adventurous.  My desire to learn and experience new things is keeping my life exciting and exhilarating and that is how I believe life should be lived.

Hurrah for me!

On your mark…get set…jump in!

 

Forgive and (maybe forget)…but move on

Life is interesting.  A simple,  blasé thought perhaps, but true.  Life and the meaning of life is so different depending on where you find yourself on this so-called journey.  Is life about finding the “why am I here?” answer.  Is life about just having fun?  Is life about suffering so that you can live in a wonderful afterlife?  There are many schools of thought.  In the quest to figure out what life is about, I have been introduced to two specific types of people and I have been incredibly lucky to have met both types:  help you and hurt you.  Both of them have provided me with life changing experiences.

Through years of living (lucky me) and having my life journey cross the paths of others, I have learned, I have taught, I have lived.  I have had the pleasure and honour of meeting people that have helped me move forward in a happy direction.  I have also had the displeasure of meeting those that used me, abused me, and discarded me like a piece of refuse.  I am truly grateful to have met both.  Why?

There were those who appreciated me and helped me.  They showed me that there are true “givers” in the world.  These individuals taught me that kindness exists.  There are people willing to unconditionally assist you and help you grow.  There is no need for paybacks or “owe-sies”.  It’s about being a kind human, with feelings of love for their fellow man. A desire to let others grow.

Then there were the selfish folk.  Those who pretended to be there for me, but were really trying to figure out how I could help them out and make their lives better.  It usually ended with me being shocked, injured, scarred, and with a feeling of great injustice.  Lies, accusations, leaving me feeling worthless, dejected, lonely, unloved.   My extreme hatred of them negatively affected me, both physically and emotionally.  Why would I be grateful to these dregs of society?  They taught me to love.  Crazy?  Maybe, but I became a happier person when I learned to forgive and move on with living my joyful life.

Forgiveness…sounds simple but is oftentimes so hard to actually fulfill.  Forgiveness is not about condoning bad behaviour.  Forgiveness is about letting go of the anger and the hate you live with.  Think about it this way, you are hurt and angry and cannot believe that someone you trusted would hurt you.  You hate them and want to ensure that they suffer as you did.  You obsess about it.  How do these spiteful, vengeful thoughts actually hurt them?  Do they care that you are hurting?  No.  Do they feel any of your pain?  No.  Who is actually hurting?  You.  You are holding venom inside you and only damaging yourself.  The ones who betrayed you don’t even think about how they treated you and really couldn’t case less about how you feel or what you think about them.  They used you and then removed you from their lives.  In forgiveness, you are actually freeing yourself.  You are going to let bygones be bygones and go on to live a happier life.  If anything, these transgressors will probably be even more upset to learn that you are happy and are not affected in any way by past incidents.  That is the “giving” part of forgiveness.  You are “giving” yourself freedom; to love, to trust, to find joy, and your own peace of mind.

Those that rejected me were there to teach me that I did not need their approval or love to exist in a happy life.  Loving myself was and is most important.  Letting their misdeeds go so that they didn’t affect me emotionally was critical to my future happiness.  Forgive and forget?  I would forgive.  The forgetting was not something that I would or could easily do.   I truly believed it was important to remember past misdeeds so that in future I wouldn’t fall into the same circumstance …a.k.a. “Life Lesson”.

Thank you to those wonderful people in my life, past and present, who have been there for me when I didn’t have the strength to live by own convictions and beliefs.  You held my hand and guided me out of the muck of negativity that was sucking me in.  You brought me to the surface and breathed new life into my soul.  Words really cannot express my gratitude for having you in my life.

Thank you to the leaches and the soul suckers who made my life miserable.  Your thoughtlessness and selfishness taught me that I am worthy of love from others and especially from myself.  You made me work harder to live my life in the polar opposite way that you live your life.  Thankfully, your kind has disappeared from my life and I am surrounded by beautiful spirits who appreciate goodness, kindness, happiness, and a joie to vivre.  Truly, without my trials and tribulations that you exposed me to, I would not be living the great life that I now live

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” ~Maya Angelou

“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” ~C.S Lewis