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.
359/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. This post was never supposed to happen. I rarely play tablet/phone games except for Trivia Crack and Songplay. They are fine. They have not consumed my life. I didn’t get the intrigue of any type of gaming apps until last week. I downloaded Pokemon Go. Actually, I didn’t. We didn’t have it here in Canada. I just put a random query as to how to get it and my grade 12 graduate of this year, Sam, sent me the link. I got on and I got hooked. I have never connected with random strangers in person as I have with this app. First of all, I actually want to go and walk my dog. Before this, I would hope that my children or my wife had walked him. In the last week, I have taken him – and sometimes on two walks!! I have gone up to places and when I realized that there were teenagers there Pokemon-ing, I pretended to text while in fact I’m catching one! Today was surreal. I was at elementary preschool and the little kids figured out very quickly what I was doing while waiting to let them into the school. I had a swarm around me giving me advice and what to do and what not to do. The instant connection. I have seen them for the last two weeks but this Pokemon Go phenomenon just brought me down to a relatable level for them. Then, this afternoon, I am walking through Steveston Park (with my dog Shadow) and a few teenagers are on a bench. As I approach them cell phone in hand, they immediately ask – “Pokemon Go?!” and I look up and smile and a conversation happens. This would never have happened if not for this game. I would just have passed them and they wouldn’t ever have acknowledged me but here it is – generations connecting. Plus, as alluded to earlier, I want to be out and about. On the weekend, sitting with a friend beering and I am Pokemoning and the server is all enthralled and I keep her updated as to how many Pokemons I have caught (13 in a 90 minute stint at that table!!!). Yes, this gratitude post was never on my horizon but in one week, I am sparking conversations with random strangers of all ages (okay, all ages below mine) as are they with me. Thank you Pokemon Go creators for a game that allows me to be active and interactive inter-generationally with others at my age of almost 51!
309/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. If you’ve been reading these gratitude posts, you’ve probably gleaned that I wasn’t the most confident young man during my pre-teen and teenage years. Lots of things conspired against me to keep me from reaching my potential in my younger years – so not lovin’ who I was because of my ethnicity (being made fun of) and my weight (being bullied for it) and my nerdy looks (being beat up for it) and my dad’s schizophrenia (being made fun of) but it was just something I got used to but never truly accepted. There were many reasons why I got through those tough times: my love of listening to music, focus on schoolwork, escape into television, push of my mom etc. However there was also this person that I would see on my daily walks to school that also helped. I was fascinated by her. She lived on the same street as I did and I saw her from my elementary years walking past her house all the way to my university years being at the same bus stop. I never once spoke to her in all that time even though I was enthralled by her. Why? She was probably about 5 years older than me. She was Indo-Canadian. She was very Indian. She wore flowers in her hair. She had a long braid. She was heavy-set with a moon face. She was not Canadian born. She wore heavy Indian make-up. She flounced when she walked. She oozed confidence. I was stunned by her. Not her physical beauty as I did not find her attractive – oh wait, Freud might say I did on some subconscious level 😉 Rather, I was inspired by her self-assurance. At that time, I was ashamed of my ethnicity as I lived in a very white community and had no role models but here was this person who obviously and rightfully so reveled in her heritage. She was rotund and damn did she own it and did not let it own her. I remember being at a wedding reception that she, with her family, was also at and my aunt, that mean aunt that I wrote about earlier, was making fun of her and this girl confidently ignored her and tore up the dance floor. I was stunned! I was inspired. I honestly think she, on some subconscious level (yeah, Freud you can have this one), made me accept my fatness and my Indian-ness – I didn’t rock it like she did until much later – and I have her to thank for me finally accepting and rocking what was genetically given to me!
283/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. I am that guy who has a monthly $5 Fitness World membership. Yes, I got it way back when I was 19 years old and it has never increased in dues. I am also that guy who had not gone to Fitness World in a good 4 years because I joined another gym/dojo and can’t give up the $5 membership. Yup, I am that guy!! Today, after 5 months (due to an injury), I ended up back at Makifit. I needed to as I have packed on the pounds. For the past week or so, I have been dreading coming back as I have always been in decent shape working out at Makifit but not this time. But one thing I have at the gym is so many supporters. I got messages and posts psyching me up for today from fellow members. As soon as I got there, gym friends recent and long-time – actually let’s just call them friends because that is what they have become – gave me hugs and high fives and welcomed me back. All of them supporting me. Owner and the class trainer also giving me props for returning and getting my fitness back on. During the workout, my friends kept motivating me and telling me that I can finish. Yes, I stopped several times during many of the exercises as I couldn’t complete the required number or my back or thighs hurt and that bothered me as I don’t usually give up but I persevered and got through the class. I am not happy with the shape I am in at present but I am going to get back on track and I know it will take me time but with the support and motivation of my friends at the gym, I know I can once again be me. I am glad not only to have these people around while I work out but many of them have become social companions and I am even happier to have that bond. Thank you to all the people I work out with for the laughs, the support, the motivation, the commiserating, but most importantly the friendship! Glad to be back!
248/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. After 4 months of no exercise whatsoever due to broken ribs and a punctured and then collapsed lung, I finally ventured out for my first form of cardio – a run, no wait, jog, no wait, let’s be honest – it was a trudge. But even before beginning, I came down the stairs and my daughter asked if I was going out dressed like that. Yes, a stuffed sausage has nothing on me in my running shirt now that I’ve packed on a good 10+ pounds but that wasn’t what she was referring to. I queried – shirt too tight, man-bun not on fleek, too bright shoes??? Then my son jumped in and said “it’s your stripper shorts”!! I was quite taken aback – they were mid too low thigh on the mannequin but they were well above on me. My 6’3” son offered me his basketball-type shorts and I came down in them and both of them laughed and remarked that even those on me were above my knees and I was wearing them well low on my hips. Yes, surprisingly 5’10” of me is all long limbs but a very short torso 😦 So with my ego not so intact, I make my way outside and was about to quit for the second time. Even though it was sunny, it was deceivingly chilly around 7pm; however, I mustered the courage and head out. The 5 km that had in the past taken me about 20 – 25 minutes tonight took an hour and for the third time, I was ready to just turn back into the first ½ km. But that’s when it happened – the nod and smile. It’s some kind of greeting code between runners that I had no clue about until well into my 3rd or 4th year of running – I mean, the first time it happened to me, I thought the person knew me and so I stopped and turned around to engage but they kept running. The second time it happened (and okay, let’s be honest, a couple of subsequent times), I thought I was being hit on – damn, I could really be into this running thing! LOL Then I realized that almost everyone who was a solitary runner gave some form of that “nod and smile greeting” be it a wink and nod (hey, that definitely looks like flirting LOL) or a wave and nod. So tonight, just as I was about to quit – my breathing would have been the envy of any Lamaze coach – a female runner going in the opposite direction gave me all the encouragement I needed: the nod and smile. No, I did not pick up my speed. Yes, I did stop a couple of times for rest breaks. No, I did not make the lights – on purpose. Yes, an older guy passed me as did the kid on his tricycle. But that runners greeting that has been getting me through about 2 decades of jogging/running worked its wonders again. Thank you to my fellow runners for giving me the fortitude to get through my run not only tonight but each and every time I go out. I nod and smile back at you!
236/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. Finally 2016 when big has become acceptable. It’s about time!! Actually, it’s not even big – it’s average sized. And it shouldn’t be acceptable – it should just be. Today’s gratitude post is a result of just reading about the first “brawny” man to be signed as a model about a month after the first “full figured” model graced the covers of Sports Illustrated. I love how “brawny” and “full figured” are the PC adjectives created for what is just a person on the spectrum of normal but I digress. I grew up always conscious of my weight. Got bullied for it. Got restricted food allowances because of it. Got no choice in clothes – sack like pants and shirts and suspenders. Got all the wrong attention because of it. I have had weight issues my entire life. Yes, at the end of high school because of a very late puberty, I shed the weight but have always had the last 5-10 pounds to go since then. I hear from people all the time that I’m not fat/overweight and I tend to hide it well (perhaps not so well these days) but that’s the very point – why am I compelled to hide it? Why not just be who I am. And that is why I’m glad that there is a media shift on what we’re being shoved down our throats as consumers. I grew up on GQ and like to sport a unique, Randy style but when all the clothes are slim-fit, hip hugging, low rise, basically one is left with a limited choice in how to create their look. I’m not saying I want to be an XXL but I also don’t want the pressure of having to be an S just so I can wear something that I like. Most guys aren’t like me and will wear whatever but I did that as a child/pre-teen and never again. I’m glad that the winds are changing – I’ve probably got another decade before the grandpa sweaters make their way into my wardrobe but good for all the younger males and females to have icons and fashions that represent “fit” them!
187/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. For as long as I can remember, I have been overweight/fighting a weight problem. In elementary school, my mom could not find belts to fit me and I had to resort to wearing suspenders to hold my pants up 😦 In high school, I was 250 pounds and all of it fat which definitely contributed to being bullied. I didn’t learn how to eat well and thus ate anything that tasted good but wasn’t definitely good for me – I mean, I recall eating spoons of salted butter or the fatty rinds of pork chops and my favourite part of KFC was the skin and potato salad. I guess I really didn’t help my own cause. I also remember my mom making me workout (squats for half an hour or running around the yard for half an hour) before she’d let me eat – many times I just gave up and didn’t get dinner. Although cruel, I understand that she was trying to help me out in her own way – not great parenting but hey, it is what it is. With a crazy late start to puberty (yup, Grade 11 – oh how the Gods must have been having a heyday with me!!), I ended up shedding the observable excess weight just before entering university; however, I still had chunk and could and did easily put on the pounds because I still knew nothing about nutrition and healthy eating. Because of the pre-Internet era, I would only catch information through television and the one show that I did watch was “20/20”. I happened to catch and episode on meat-processing which started my vegetarian ways 23 years ago. In the last decade or so, I have given over to watching the occasional documentaries and reading about food online which has helped me to maintain my weight – I’ve been able to curb refined sugar significantly, jump into veganism but quickly jump back out, give up wheat for a while (William Davis), try the 25 mile eating plan, think about McDs and what it did to my body (Morgan Spurlock) and even get into juicing (Joe Cross). As I sit and write this, I am on day 4 of a juice cleanse (but let’s be real, it’s a liquid diet) – I’m doing it to reset my body as I have been making poor choices and have gained weight especially since my injury and not being able to work out. I am very grateful that these documentarians have shared their journeys and influenced mine as without knowing about their experiences, I would not be changing mine. To all the healthy eaters that I have read about via blogs and books and that I have seen on through documentaries and testimonials, I raise my ginger, beet, tangerine and kale juice in your honour – here’s to getting back to my summer weight!