363/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. Wow, only 3 more gratitude posts left including this one!! When I started this journey a year ago, I was a little nervous as to if I would have 365 people to thank. I didn’t want it to come down to posts such as thanking my mailman for the flyers he delivers in that they were the ones that led me on to some awesome deal!! ; ) Early on in these posts, I started hearing from friends that so and so had made “the list”. I didn’t understand what that was until I was told that it was my “gratitude list”. That put some pressure on me to say the least as there was now a “list”. I didn’t want it to be a list and I didn’t want it to be some type of contest. Then I heard that some people mentioned they were in the 80s and others were in the 200s! I do have to make it clear that I haven’t had an order as to who I thank and thus whatever number gratitude post it was has no relation to ranking. Most posts are the night before or a couple of days before. Yes, I saved my dad for his birthday as I did with my children for theirs, my mom was first because well she is my mom but save for them and the final two gratitude posts, no one had a day or a number. The list by the end of Sunday is far from complete. I could thank another 365 people who got me to where I am today and this is what today’s gratitude post is about – to all of the people I didn’t name and there are hundreds of you that have impacted me! So many former students, co-workers past and present, family members, inlaws, bosses, professors, fellow students, random strangers, neighbours past and present, friends, backhanded gratitudees (bullies and the like), service providers, celebrities etc, etc – just so many people who have made me who I am and to all of you un-named in this past year, you are part of this gratitude journey just because you were not personally mentioned here doesn’t mean you weren’t recognized by me. To all the new people that will come in to my life, thanking you in advance as some of you will change and influence me in new ways. Thank you to all of you who came along with me on this 365 day journey as well. Your encouragement and support has gotten me to this end point.
333/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. My defining moment came in 1987. The year prior (1986) I got that amazing job at Expo 86 and the year after (1988) I got married – two amazing life milestones but the one that shaped me probably the most was traveling to Quebec on my own to learn French for the summer. I had attempted travel (after high school graduation) to Europe with others and that was a nightmare so I was very wary to say the least. I traveled across Canada on a plane and a train on my own – the train being an amazing experience! I met people who had lasting influences on me. I experienced many, many things for the first time. I basically broke out of the self-imposed shell that protected me! However, the highlight of the entire summer came from being at the right place at the right time. I, with a few friends, were supposed to go to a club – a former cathedral converted into a dance place – but we couldn’t get ourselves organized. We then heard about a band playing in the back field of our campus (Universite de Laval) as a warmup before their performance at said cathedral. It was all on the hush-hush and only a few people were privy to the information. I was in the in-group but more on the outside of the inside in that I was not informed who the band was. I got there. There were perhaps 20-30 of us and who was performing but only one of my all-time favourite 80s group – The Thompson Twins. Okay, for you young ‘uns, you have no clue what I’m talking about but they would be the equivalent of say The Black Eyed Peas in their hey-day! I was in shock. This was my 80s music. Tom Bailey (lead singer) epitomized coolness to me (oh, and I tried to model several of my hairstyles after him) and here he was only 15 feet away from me. Afterwards, they talked to the group of us but I was just freaked out and stood in the back trying to take it all in. I have never, ever been a fan-boy for celebrity but yeah, here I was freaking the shit out!! I can’t even remember the songs they performed as it was so surreal and at times I wondered if it happened but yes, it did! I just happened to be where I was supposed to be and the Thompson Twins were supposed to entertain me on that night. They were at the top of my 80s musical idols. I had a love for their music but ever since, ever so more. Everyone needs their musical, athletic, artistic, whatever it is idols because their talent gets us through things in life but to be able to see them perform in real life is a special experience and it has been the one concert going event (can I even call it that) that has stayed with me until this very day! As I create a Spotify playlist in their honour, here’s to my musical heroes who I didn’t know were until that night – The Thompson Twins!!
271/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. I heard about Prince’s death this morning from a friend who came by my classroom. My heart sank. I was devastated. Thankfully, my class was working on individual assignments so I could take time to process. I loved Prince like no other! People had/have their musical idols – Bowie, Lennon, Cobain, Mercury, Houston, Jackson – all amazing no doubt but Prince epitomized music for me. He was my idol. I love music but his music spoke to me on a different level – it was funk. It was rock. It was soul. And it touched my soul. I loved his image too and he, other than David Bowie, was a male who kept on reinventing himself with look after look – something I have done since I was a young adult – he made it normal for me as a teenage/young male to change up how I presented myself. I idolized him. He also made it acceptable not to have to be hyper-masculine to be a male. He had attitude. He oozed confidence and sexual bravado. He didn’t take shit. He talked smack about whatever he wanted to. He wore his androgyny proudly. He did it his own way regardless of what anyone thought. He was Prince. Everything about him, I loved – and have come to emulate consciously but more subconsciously. He produced for other artists and after hearing their collabs (Sheena Easton for one), I became a fan of that artist but the reason was the Prince sound. His videos were iconic – When Doves Cry and Kiss are etched into my memory as are dozens of others. His signature voice – the falsetto (Camille voice) morphing into his deep natural voice and the amazing production of his songs equaled perfection. No matter what you called him – Prince, The Purple One, The Kid, The Artist Formerly Known As, Symbol – you can’t deny his talent. I didn’t understand how people were moved by a celebrity’s death, someone they didn’t know, until today. Perhaps it reminds me of my mortality as I grew up on his music in the 80s and now I’m 50 and he was only 57. Perhaps he felt like a member of my extended family as he was always there musically and visually to get me through life’s moments. Perhaps his songs resonated so deeply with me as they formed the soundtrack of my teens/young adulthood. Whatever the reason, I’m gonna miss the musical genius but I take comfort in the fact that I have his music to remind me of his talent and what they meant to me. I concoct a purple martini in your honour and salute you!
188/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. I love music of all sorts but if I had to choose – I am definitely an 80s boy. Maybe I’m biased but that decade had the best music. Like most things in life, I discovered music much later and unlike those of my age group who have been heavily influenced by prog rock, soul and disco of the 70s, for me it’s all about the big hair, wild fashions and great tunes of the 1980s. If you were to walk by my classroom, I am the one who is playing tunes full blast. Yes, I cater to my teen audience during the day and play Big Sean to One Direction to Adele and when I marking some mindless dance tunes in the background but inevitably, I wind my way back to that era where most artists had an entire album of amazing singles not just one hit with filler – the 80s. You may say that I am nostalgic and yearning for the past – I’d argue as I wasn’t the coolest person back then but music did help me get through that time and my hard earned money would be spent on albums as music was where I could run to and escape from my daily existence and imagine a whole new life. As you are well aware if you read this blog, I like to take on challenges (day 188!!) and I have embarked on another one – listing my favourite songs for an entire year on my Facebook account. I am on day 28 and well over half the tracks come from – well yes, you guessed it – the 80s. Great memories of the songs and thanks to Youtube a revisit of the video (some of which I’m seeing for the first time) – I can and do easily fall into an 80s music wormhole wasting my time away! Thank you to the amazing singers and bands (too many to name) and the awesome producers with your signature sounds – you made my crazy teen life bearable and provided me with refuge when I needed it most and in your honour, another eclectic playlist is created!