Tag Archives: reflection

Non-Canadian Thanksgiving: Things I’m Thankful For

24 Nov

My social media feeds are making me hungry today. My Facebook newsfeed and my Twitter timeline are full of people in the United States talking about turkey, wild mushroom tartlets, various kinds of fresh-baked breads, pumpkin pie, sweet-potato-this-thing or roasted-carrot-that-thing. It all sounds delicious, and I am truly happy that everyone is having such a lovely feast. But you know, sitting up here in Canada, the ham and cheese sandwich that looked so nice while I was making it suddenly seems a little sad.

Yes, I know. We Canadians already had our turn last month. While I was Facebooking and tweeting about my own Thanksgiving dinner six weeks or so ago, I got a number of responses that said something along these lines: “Lucky cow!”

Anyway, even though it is not technically my Thanksgiving, I thought I’d take a moment, while everyone is in the mood, to reflect on things that I am grateful for. Because sometimes we get so caught up the busy-ness and stress and noise of life that we forget about the things in our lives that make it all worthwhile.

Like these:

  • I have two gorgeous children who are in perfect health. Yes, my son has autism, and yes, this affects both of my kids, but I get to hug them and cuddle with them and kiss them goodnight. I get to read to them, play with them, and arm-wrestle them into eating their veggies. They are there to wake me up early on Saturday mornings while I’m trying to sleep, and they are there to dump toys all over the house and then refuse to clean up after themselves. There are some parents who have buried their children, who can only dream of all of this. My heart aches for them, and I appreciate every second with my kids – the good moments and the bad.
  • My husband and I have arguments. I mean, who doesn’t? Every couple has arguments. There are times when he drives me crazy, times when he makes me cry, times when I feel overworked and underappreciated. But then there are the good times. The times we laugh together at some joke that only the two of us can understand. The times we go to meetings at our kids’ schools and work together for the betterment of their future. He calls me during the day for no reason other than to tell me he loves me, and when I’m on my way home from work, he walks to the bus stop to meet me because he wants to see me that badly. He is the love of my life and I cannot imagine life without him. And I am truly thankful that I sat in a park that day ten years ago and fell for the stranger who approached me.
  • The economy has been up a certain creek without a paddle for some time now. I know of people who have lost their jobs, who cannot afford a simple visit to the doctor, who struggle to feed their families. I spend a lot of time griping about my commute, but at least I have a job to commute to. It’s a good job, too. Challenging work, reasonable pay, good benefits and for the most part, people I enjoy working with.
  • I have some phenomenal friends. Some I have known for a very long time, and some are relatively recent additions to the fabric of my life. Many people talk about their online friends versus their “in real life” friends. I make no such distinction. If you have hugged me (either in person or virtually), cried with me, advised me, been there for me, allowed me to be there for you – you are my friend, whether I have met you face-to-face or not. Knowing someone exclusively through online media does not make that person any less real. So, to my friends – whether we have physically met or not –  I love you and appreciate you. Truly.
  • Then there are the people who I don’t really know well enough to be able to be able to call my friends – not yet, anyway. I hesitate to use the word “acquaintances”, because that word implies that I merely know these people. It does not adequately convey the idea that they are important to me, and that I greatly value their presence in my life. Many of the people I interact with on Twitter fall into this category. I cannot say that I know them, but they brighten my day, or somehow make me feel that I’m not alone; that no matter what I’m going through, someone understands and more importantly, cares.

Sometimes, life gets overwhelming for me and all I want to do is run away and hide. But when I turn on my taps, I get hot and cold running water that’s clean enough to drink. I walk outside and all of the buildings are standing. There are no bombs flying around and I haven’t lost all of my loved ones and possessions to an earthquake. I live in a house, not on the street. Although I live halfway across the world from my mother, I don’t have to worry about whether she is sick or injured, because through the magic of technology that I can afford to have in my home, I am in daily contact with her.

No matter how bad things may get from time to time, there is always something to be thankful for.

(Photo credit to http://www.flickr.com/photos/lonecypress/3264410416. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.)

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Reflections In Shiny Buildings

2 Mar

This morning, as is my custom, I went to Tim Hortons straight from the subway, to get my morning coffee (one of my morning coffees, anyway). From Tim Hortons, it is about a two-minute walk to the office – a walk that takes me past tall buildings with shiny, reflective exteriors. As I was walking, I glanced up and caught a reflection of myself.

I did not like what I saw.

I was walking along, shoulders hunched forward, head down, looking at the sidewalk right in front of my feet. It was a posture of utter dejection. The word defeated was written all over every inch of me.

I have been having a hard time lately. I have been going through a series of mini-crises, and even though I’ve always known that I can survive them, while they’re happening they leave me feeling absolutely steamrolled. There has been much stress and anxiety. I’ve been in the kind of state where the slightest kind word instantly makes my eyes spring a leak.

When I saw myself reflected in the building this morning, looking crushed by life, I thought to myself, Enough of this crap. I can’t be walking around looking like a wet breakfast. What kind of message does that portray to the world around me? And how can I possibly expect to build up my self-confidence when I cannot even walk down the road with my head held high?

Now, I cannot control all of the things that are going on in my life right now. But I can control the way I walk.  So immediately, I squared my shoulders and raised my eyes to face the world head-on.

I’ll be honest, it felt a little bit scary. But it also made me feel just a little bit stronger, a little bit more empowered.

I think I’ll do that every day from now on. When I’m walking down the road, or down the hallways at work, or wherever, I will not let my shoulders droop, and I will not be afraid to look the world square in the eye. Well, I might be a little afraid, but I’ll do it anyway.

I cannot help but think that simply making an effort to walk like a strong, confident person will help me to actually be a strong, confident person.

This too shall pass. Soon, the real me will be back. I might just be on my way already.