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!!
190/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. I lived a very sheltered life. I did not see Star Wars in its first run nor Grease. I didn’t start drinking for the first time until my early 20s. I hadn’t ventured out traveling (without family) until I decided to go to Quebec for a French Language Bursary program that I had heard about in one of my courses at UBC. Basically the government paid for your tuition, food and lodging – you just had to get yourself there. I went to Ste Foy and the Univesite de Laval. First time on my own at 21. If you have read my gratitude posts, you will recall that I was placed in the wrong French level and that I was very homesick and about to leave and if not for a few new people I met, especially my comrade during that time JonArno, I would never had the experience of a lifetime. JonArno was a few years my junior but we hit it off right away. For the first time in life, I had a cool male friend and others wanted to hang with us (yes, that former bullied kid was now on the inside). I had the time of my life during those 6 weeks whereas others may have thought this was just an ordinary experience but for me a whole new world opened up and JorArno’s friendship was one of the primary reasons. We filmed a French film in the catacombs (okay, they were just underground tunnels connecting the campus), we went on required group tours of museums and cultural sights but escaped to go shopping or drink coffee, we saved up our weekly allowance and found Happy hours where they served 3 for 1 drinks (L’etranger being one of my favourite bars), we went to crazy dance clubs, we hitchhiked to Montreal city with a guy with no nose, we went to a jazz bar, we found a campus room but had to lie and say there was only one of us and well, there was a cherry incident that shall go unmentioned except for the fact that there was a cherry incident, we drank wine and ate bread on park benches until I was told that was illegal, we wandered around Chateau Frontenac – so many, many cool times 😉 I thank you JonArno for being an awesome friend to a guy who never, ever thought he was cool. You didn’t know me but just accepted me and gave me your friendship and made those 6 weeks amazing. I thank you for that and because I had such an amazing experience, I refuse to go back to Quebec city lest I tarnish those amazing memories.