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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July 19 – remedy

360/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  Most of you probably don’t know that I have a medical condition (sarcoidosis) which has resulted in a compromised immune system – I get sicker faster and stay sicker longer than most people (I’ve had a cough/chest cold for 11 weeks running as of this moment!).  I am at St Paul’s Hospital two to three times a year (and have been for the last decade) undergoing heart monitoring, breathing tests, CT scans and xrays, in addition to weekly blood work, and daily/weekly ingestion of prednisone or methotrexate coupled with two inhalers.  My respirologist, who I have thanked earlier, is amazing but today’s gratitude post is for the entire provincial healthcare system.  Yes, many of us complain about our medical system but I am not one of those as I am constantly in and out of doctor’s and specialist’s offices, constantly in labs and constantly hooked up to various machines just so some sort of understanding can take place about the condition I have.  Have I gotten better – unfortunately, no – just a bit worse each year but I’m not upset or jaded and one of the those reasons is that my experiences in the medical system have been easy and the people have always been friendly.  The people who do the breathing tests know me by face and joke with me that I am an expert – hence, when I’m scheduled, I get the students working with the veteran on me (happened today).  The secretaries at the various doctor’s ensure that my four appointments at the hospital are all coordinated and are at least in a four hour time period in one day rather than all over the calendar.  Yes, I may have to wait a few extra weeks on occasion, but I can’t and won’t complain.  The techs in the blood lab – already queasy just typing it – know that I hate the sight of blood so they get it done as quick and as fast – or as fast as 8 vials of blood can be removed.  I am still healthy, I can still do all that I want to do but when I do have to spend my time related to my medical conditions in the “system”, I am glad that the system takes care of me well in all aspects!

June 9 – rx for life

320/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  I am generally a healthy person and try to take care of myself.  I try to be active and watch what I eat.  Yes, like the best of us, I give in to temptation – okay, like the worst of us, a lot of the time 😉  Anything I put into and subject my body to – these are things within my control but many things that afflict the body are things that are beyond one’s control.   Over a decade ago, I somehow contracted a health issue called sarcoidosis.  I was gardening – okay, cutting the lawn and pulling out weeds and was just exhausted.  Went to school the next day and the principal told me to take the afternoon off.  On the third day, I was still tired and went in to see my family doctor who immediately got an xray.  I had a form of walking pneumonia. He put me on meds and immediately got me linked up with a respirologist at St Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.  Fast forward a decade or more and here I am managing with a compromised immune system and nodules and scar tissues on my lungs – no cure for sarcoidosis, just different meds to see what may help (steroids and inhalers) – no success yet : (  My family doctor has been with me since I was a pre-teen.  He was the one who put me at ease when I was 18 years of age and worried about becoming schizophrenic like my father – he told me since I was asking him the question, I definitely wasn’t as I knew my reality.  He referred me to a support group for family members.  In fact, anytime I have any questions or concerns, he always eases my mind and easily refers me to a specialist who deals in the particular area of concern if need be. He treats me like a family member asking me about my career, my children and also my mom.  I’m sure he does this for all his patients but I feel comfortable in his fatherly presence.  This past month, because of healing and broken ribs and a major flare-up with my sarcoidosis, I have seen him several times.  Alas, I can see him aging and realize he will probably soon retire and give up his practice as his patient hours have also decreased.  Upon writing this gratitude post, I have realized that I definitely will let him know of my gratitude for him being my health care provider and also for being there for my immigrant parents and helping them through their concerns and being patient with them.  I only today have realized how lucky I am to have a doctor who not only cares about you but has time for you.  I raise my cough syrup filled spoon in your honour ; )

March 20 – the taxman cometh

239/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  It’s that time of the year – oh how I wish I could say it was Christmas but no, it’s tax season.  I’ve spent the bulk of today gathering all the statements, slips, calculations and scanning them for my accountant.  Yes, my accountant.  People think that because I have a Business degree, I should be able to do my own taxes.  They also assume since I am a Business teacher, taxes should come second nature.  Well people, I majored in Marketing J  I took all of my electives in the “ologies” whereas my Commerce/Business compatriots took courses like History of Tax Law.  If I had done that, I could do not only my own taxes but also yours.  However, that is not the case so I go to my guy Dennis.  Because of a Facebook query, I discovered him about three or four years ago when I really needed to figure out how to claim my son’s sports, my daughter’s tuition and book credits, transfer income to my wife, deduct losses from a revenue generating rental – oh man, I’m already getting confused.  Yes, I have spent about 6 hours organizing things today but I’m sure I would spend 5 times that time figuring out all the deductions and calculations in order to arrive at how much each of us owes or is owed.  I’m so thankful to have Dennis do this for me because that’s his expertise and he has taken me on as a client just through a friend’s recommendation.  I also like the fact that I can communicate with him through email/text/pdf and get everything done with minimal effort on my part.  As I was told by my own Accounting teacher back in high school, death, a car accident and taxes are inevitable, it’s how big each of them will be.  Thank you Dennis for making the tax part a little less exhaustive and hopefully not so big  🙂

March 2 – shout out to the blue collars

221/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.   For this gratitude blog, sometimes I have people in mind months prior, other times I have the gratitudee come to me the day of. Today it’s the latter. I was getting my vehicle washed and vacuumed at a dealership and had half an hour or so and decided to walk and get some groceries. As I was walking to the store, I started noticing the people who were getting off their work shifts around 4pm and almost every person was some type of blue collar labourer – from the construction men to the delivery truck driver, from the kitchen staff at the back of restaurants to the guys doing the detailing of my vehicle. This observation is even more interesting in that during one of my classes, I remarked to the students that although I may look like I come from a life of privilege, I came from a blue collar family and worked every summer (as far as I can remember) as a labourer – berry picker, restaurant employee and in various retail establishments. Maybe on some subconscious level, that conversation made me hyper-aware of the people I encountered later but regardless, I am glad that I had that sense of my surroundings because it made me that much more aware of the career that I have and thankful that it fits my personality. When I did manual labour as a child and teenager, I absolutely hated it and it did not make me happy as a person. I also knew that that was not the field for me through career testing in high school. However, it is exactly what some people enjoy – my son being one for example. I am very appreciative of my blue collar brethren (and sisters) who are employed in these fields and love what they do, like what they do, or do what they have to do as it makes me realize that I am not of that ilk and that I should be and am grateful for the line of work that I found myself in. I have been told by blue-collar friends that they could never do my job and/or want to do my job and today I finally understood what that really meant. Our personalities must match our vocation in order for true fulfilment in that area. Thank you to all of you who are in the hands-on fields to make me realize and appreciate that I need to be in the hands-off path for my personal growth to take place.

December 27 – service oriented

156/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. It’s the holidays and for someone in my career (teaching), you kind of take it for granted that you get two weeks off to relax, rejuvenate and destress or in my case, eat and drink and gain a Santa belly. You forget that a lot of people actually work during this time and if they are on holidays, they are taking time off during this period to be with friends and family – especially if they have younger children. I realized that this past weekend. On Friday, an internet repair technician came to our house to upgrade our modem as we were having problems with connection speeds. This was Friday Christmas Day!!! I felt guilty that he was working on this day – and internet is not an essential service (although some days it feels like it is!!). I remarked this to him and soon realized that he was a newbie and must have been given this as part of his schedule. I got his business card and asked for his supervisor’s name (told him why) and sent her an email about him and how he helped us out on Christmas Day. My wife’s car has been dead at the airport over Christmas and Boxing Day and we got a technician to come out and look at it today on a Sunday (typical day off for people like me) and during the holidays. Great man who figured out the problem and set us on our way. Yes, there could be so many bitter people who have to work on the holidays but I have not encountered them since venturing out for groceries, the odd latte or a night out drinking beer with friends. Everyone has been so kind and pleasant – maybe it ‘tis the season or maybe these gratitude posts just make me see the world in a different way these days. Thank you to all of you who work/have to work during these days but doing it in such a kind and happy way – your attitude definitely deserves to be rewarded but the least I can do is recognize it.