July 22 – U

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.

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May 13 – Expo 86

293/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  30 years ago, I got the job that changed me forever.  The job that got me out of my shell.  The job that gave me confidence.  The job that basically set me on the path to becoming who I am today.  Yes, I worked at McDonald’s and Bootlegger and A&A Records and yes, they brought out or refined qualities in me but the job that had the greatest impact was my work as a host for the BC Pavilion during Expo 86.  It was not the job itself entirely, although I learned all about British Columbia, but moreso the people that I worked with.  I had very little confidence but I managed to ace the interview and be the first host/hostess to be hired months before official interviews (long story).  I was a bundle of nerves when training started before the official opening in May of 1986.  Here I was with all these older people – most of them my fellow hosts/hostesses.  I was just 20 years old and knew I got myself into something way over my head.  I have written a gratitude post about Frank who got me out of my shell with his ingenious method of making me completely uncomfortable LOL.  However, there was also Ian who was this 6 foot 6 guy who had a cool car and would take me and Cindy for rides.  I remember drinking for the first time with hosts and hostesses and being at parties (okay maybe one or two of the many that the rest attended) – something the nerdy, geeky, overweight Randy of high school never did and was never invited to.  I remember staying at the residences for the host for a couple of weeks to bond and connect.  I remember hilarious Kim who would say things to me to see if she could get a reaction out of me – she did.  I remember very nice Rob who was kind and genuine towards me.  I remember supervisors both great (Rick and Lois) who gave me an indicator of what awesome leadership was and I remember supervisors not so great (no names mentioned he he) who showed me what just being powerful was – and that was not good.  I remember being surrounded by some of the most stunning males and females – great marketing EXPO 86 🙂  I remember some of the nicest hostesses like Jana, Susan, Maria and Tess who made me feel very comfortable in my own skin.  I also recall some wild characters who I shied away from like George, Marita, Jamie, Doug and Trish but secretly was in awe of because they were so very cool.  I remember working with the Southam press heiress and a guy who would go on to be on One Tree Hill and Mad Men. Yes, that was one of the best experiences of my life and I am so glad that I was host for the province of British Columbia – the best job to have had at EXPO 86 of the thousands that were available.  Yes, there were still mean/not so nice hosts and hostesses because my awkwardness still shone through and I was shunned by some but for all of you who accepted me (like Bina, Haneef, Ken, Lana, Jamie, Sandra, Karen, Coniah, Greg, Sergio, Blair, Windy, Jayni, Anne-Marie, Vicky, Stephanie and the many, many still unmentioned by name in this post – I’m sure I’m going to offend someone because I forgot them) and made me feel a part of that great experience, I thank you and I am glad that through Facebook, I have discovered many of you and rekindled or created new friendships as mature adults.  Something sure was Happening there for me!

March 7 – the first time

226/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  I have said it before and I’ll say it again tonight, for some odd reason, I can and do get along rather easily with people decades (yes decades) my junior. I could never have fathomed in my late 20s/early 30s having something to talk about, let alone hanging out and socializing, with someone in their late 40s/just turned 50 yet it happens and I’m the 50 year old. About 15 years ago, I met Lindsay at the school I was teaching at. She was the PE/Home Ec teacher – fresh and new to teaching. I saw a kindred spirit and got to talking with her in the lunchroom. The first year, it was just superficial talk – reality tv (Top Model viewing parties), teaching woes, and just jokes with other staff members. Over the next year, I really got to know Lindsay and became good friends with her. I was the first co-worker that she shared her “truth” with on a walk one afternoon. I was honoured that she felt comfortable to tell me about her self. I shared other firsts with her over the years. I got to know her well enough to be able to let go and do my first keg-stand at a party at her place. I got my first tattoos with her one afternoon when we decided to mark monumental events by marking our bodies. I remember my first foray into Facebook all because of Lindsay – she was on it and introduced me to it so I guess you know who to blame!!! 😉 I felt honoured when Lindsay and her partner Michelle invited my wife and I to her wedding – and I remember that night because there were jello shots and free flowing wine and I couldn’t partake as I was on yet another 30 day withdrawal challenge! Lindsay has been a great friend over the years regardless of the age difference and yes, life does get in the way of connecting as we age and move on to other chapters of our lives but I am glad that through Facebook, I can keep in touch with her and get together on the odd time that our lives allow us to. Thank you Lindsay for all the firsts I have shared with you over the years!!

February 22 – European Vacation

213/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. So as my spring vacation plans fall apart and I am resigning myself to a staycation this year, I think back to some of the trips that I have been fortunate enough to have taken and one of them, although a lot of work, was taking a group of students to Europe during the spring break of 2010. The planning started well over a year in advance and no matter how well one can plan, I didn’t plan for my female teacher co-sponsor to up and get pregnant 😉 All of a sudden, I had new co-sponsors wanting to join the trip – especially now that most of the leg-work had been done. I knew right away that there were some that would cause me work than the actual students going on the trip and I also knew that there would be some that would just not make the experience enjoyable for not only the students but more importantly for myself. I had to come up with creative excuses but it was easy for me to pick the female co-worker to take with me. I got to know Rachel over the course of a couple of years. We happened to sit at the same table at lunch and would laugh (and also be shocked) by some of the stories told by our co-workers. But more importantly, I got an understanding of her work ethic and I knew she was as detail oriented as I was and so it was a no-brainer asking her to join the trip. So easy to get along with and so organized, the trip was a breeze – yes, the students were amazing but just having someone that you could rely on and without worrying about made all the difference in the world. That trip strengthened our friendship and I was honoured to be invited to her wedding about a year or so later. Unfortunately, I have moved to a different school and our friendship has trickled to the occasional messages through Facebook but at least that medium allows for virtual connections and updates such as the birth of her new baby a few months ago. I miss our lunch chats/laughs but still appreciate your friendship! Welcome to another great type of field trip with children Rachel – parenting!! 🙂

February 18 – come Explorica with me

209/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. It’s a few weeks away from spring break and I don’t think my plans are going to come to fruition – traveling to Russia as I just got the go-ahead from doctors but too tight a turnaround for visa applications and approvals 😦 alas, maybe that’s what supposed to have happened. This got me to thinking about other trips that I have taken and today’s share a past memory on Facebook brought forth a picture from a trip 6 years ago. This was a crazy, amazing weekend jaunt to Rome!! Yes, you read that right. As the new teacher leader of a student trip to Europe, I was asked to come to Rome all expenses paid for a weekend to introduce new teachers about the program and to get a taste of where we would be bringing our students. I thought for a moment and then ignored those thoughts and a few months later, was on my way on a red eye flight to Europe. This was also a true test for me – I have never ever been thrown into a situation with total strangers and was nervous if I would connect with people. I got off the flight and a few teachers were waiting for the last couple of teachers to arrive – we were the Canadians. I met Marti and her husband Joey, I met Dolph, I met a few others and we had our initial awkward conversations – hey, brown guy with ultra-blonde hair had to tame himself a little 😉 Then we met the Americans – oh the Americans!! Chuck and Brandon and Ryan and Bennett and Dana – so much fun. That weekend went by so fast but it felt like we were there for a week as we had so, so many adventures traveling in catacombs, drinking copious amounts of wine, dancing into the wee hours, earning nicknames – Passporticus Minimus, exploring the Colisseum (some at night!!), not making meetings in the morning because some of us were a little “too tired” and realizing one of us was not a teacher but a mother of teacher who loved marching (okay, more like singing) to the beat of a different drummer. I made some great friends in those few days and am still in touch with them not only through Facebook but real-life reunions. Teaching instantly bonded us but the love of life was the commonality. To my Explorica group – great memories forever!!

November 30 (late) – Facebook Friends are real

129/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. I have been told that I share too much online. That I don’t know the people to whom I share things with. That it will come back to haunt me. That people don’t care.   That people don’t share back with me. I tend to disagree. My communications are generally one way on Twitter, Instagram and here on WordPress – I don’t feel the need to engage in conversations with strangers but I will reply to comments. My purpose on these sites is to share my content. If it’s said that people are voyeuristically peering into my life, I say yes because I am giving them permission. Now Facebook is another story – this is where I interact with others and it is my main social media platform. I am in a career where I share personal stories for the students to get a better understanding of what I’m teaching in Marketing or Psychology – sharing on Facebook is just an extension of this and fits so very naturally with my personality. Yes, I know my online onlife is not to everyone’s tastes and they know what to do in that regard but for those who choose to stay connected, I will give you something to connect for and I also get reciprocal satisfaction from seeing what you share. This week, if you have not read yet, I injured myself taking me away from both the real world and online world for just shy of a work week. I ended up with 4 broken ribs, a punctured lung which later collapsed, two surgeries involving various tubes (since a couple of procedures failed), IVs, needles, poking and prodding. I was surprised but felt gratitude in getting phone calls, texts, messages and online queries as to where I had been. Once I had gone public with what had happened to me on Facebook, the love and wellwishes were sincere and flowing through both posts on my wall and private messages. It meant a lot to me. Yes, you may say that there is no satisfaction in the online world in regards to genuine communication and interactions but this week, the online world of Facebook cemented my faith in people in general but also the true caring nature of the bulk of my friends on Facebook as in real life (many of whom are both). Thank you all friends – no, this is not the meds speaking but me recognizing you recognizing me. And now, I will pop my Oxycontin in your honour!

November 25 – write or wrong

124/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. I’ll admit it – I like being the center of attention but when it’s on my own terms and I’m in control of it. Yes, it may be viewed by some as vanity but given my childhood where I only wished not to be noticed because of my awkwardness, my ugly duckling looks, my ethnicity, my adhd – I thrive on any positive attention as an adult (oh Freud, how you would have loved to have me as a case study – all unconscious motivations and desires coming out in me). However, last night and today’s attention all because of a post on the internet threw me for a loop. I had no control over what transpired. I have Megan to thank for that. She, a former student of mine from Burnett and a writer for Vancity Buzz, has been a Facebook friend for years and we have exchanged notes on musical artists that we have a fondness for and other niceties over the years. She messaged me a few months back about how she was moved by my gratitude posts and wanted to write a story and would I be willing to share the blog to a larger audience. I wasn’t sure how to respond. I had since realized that people were being affected positively by my gratitude posts but to put this out there to a larger audience – very daunting. She told me that her editor thought this would also be a good idea and I threw caution to the wind and said yes. We met, I was interviewed and as of this writing, 1700 shares on that article – I am humbled and it’s all because of Megan being moved by the gratitude blog and wanting to bring it to the masses. I can’t even begin to thank you for what you have done for me. Tonight’s post is all about you Megan for opening up my heart to more than those on my personal Facebook. I owe this mass love and positivity in return all to you! Thank you Megan!

November 23 – i challenge thee

122/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. I am the king of challenges. I have gone for a 30 minute run every day for 30 days. I have given up all sugar for 30 days. I have concocted a different martini each and every day for 30 days and of course consumed it. I have worked out/crossfit for 30 days. I have read a book a week for a year. I am presently going out of my comfort zone each and every month (taking up singing, swing dancing, ziplining to name am few). I am also currently writing a blog entry a day for 365 days thanking people. Some of the challenges I undertake are extremely difficult and some of them are…actually, all of them are relatively difficult or they would not be a challenge. I was inspired by reading about people undertaking 30 days challenges on my Facebook feed. I “watched” their progress and some of course gave up or didn’t continue posting 😉 Others talked about their challenges and what they felt like while undertaking them but especially after the completion of what they set out to do. I have joined some of my Facebook friends on their challenges and they have joined me on mine – misery loves company maybe but to have a “partner” join in just makes you that much more accountable. I can’t say I love the challenges I do but I do thrive on them. I am so very glad that I happened upon those status updates from various friends which has now made 30 day challenges de rigueur for living my life. As I come off of my 30 days of no alcohol, I raise a wine bottle (still corked) in your honour my challenge loving Facebook friends!