September 3 – McDs for life

41/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. People, at times, complain about Facebook but I have nothing but great things to say as I have used it as a tool in many ways and one is to reconnect with people. Back in the day, I used to work at McDonald’s and there was this really cool girl Natalie who was the crew chief – basically an acting manager type who would run the shift. Geeky me would end up with the closing shift many times in a week until midnight and it would be Natalie and myself usually for the last hour with many colourful characters stumbling in for their last minute cholesterol clogging fix 😉 I was seriously intimidated by Natalie – for someone the same age as me, she seemed to be so with it: organized, popular, worldly, beautiful, knowledgeable and in a position of power (hey, I was just a lowly counter person). I enjoyed working with her and we had good times but as you are finishing your teen years and moving on to other avenues of live, the inevitable happened and we lost touch with each other. Through the power of Facebook, I hunted her down and found her even though her last name was different. We ended up reconnecting a few years back and met for drinks and dinner and after it was over, the requisite – “yeah, let’s do this again soon” was mentioned and the inevitable occasional LIKE and comment on Facebook occurred until last year. I needed advice on rentals, properties, living, life and Natalie came through – all the way from Mission almost bi-weekly and became my realtor helping me hunt for places but more importantly she gave me that mental “holding of my hand” through my situation. We went for lunches, beers, talks, open houses – oh so many open houses and reconnected but as adults sharing about life and realness. We became friends again! Really good friends! I could not have gotten through last year without a lot of support from people and Natalie is right there up at the top of that list. Natalie, I am so very glad you came back into my life and appreciate your friendship – you are one of the nicest women I know, so sweet, strong, compassionate and genuine and I hope we continue our friendship for as long as we are alive (and that’s going to be a long time!!).

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September 1 – to my haters

39/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. I’m a month into the gratitude posts and this is probably the third hardest one I’ve written. This is to all the people who have stepped away from me over the past year and a half while I went through the hardest time in my life when I needed your support the most. Yes, it’s a backhanded gratitude post but if not for all of you who silently speculated, gossiped, outright talked to others about what you surmised was going on in my life, never once messaged me, never sent me a supportive text, never asked how I was doing, never communicated with me (neighbours, co-workers past and present, friends, family – immediate and extended and marital), I thank you – you have made me much stronger and I developed a great support system despite you. For all who have been wondering, I did not want to publicly share what was going on in my life as it was a process that not only affected myself but my family; however, I am ready now and am putting it out here for the record. My wife and I separated a year ago to get some breathing space to figure things out – mutual and amicable. I’m not embarrassed or ashamed – these things happen in relationships and we are working on it together and in the process of trying to figure out how to keep the family unit intact for our children’s sake and work on our relationship – this is what you needed to know and now you have it. I thank the types of people who I outlined above – as a singer once said, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and oh the mental strength I gained over the year of turning 50 because of my situation and because of you. The old me would have gotten angry and bitter at you, would have confronted you, would have talked about you in the same manner, would have festered inside basically. The new me, created by you, is stronger and more self-reliant, is happier, is comfortable in who he is, is aware of who his support system is, is amicable towards you and is doing the best he can given his circumstances. The new me is not bitter towards you, although it may read that way, the new me has been strangely liberated by you and for this, the new me thanks you.

August 26 – the guy who gets me out of my comfort zone

33/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. It’s funny how some of our best friends and closest confidants result from chance based simply on proximity – the people that you work with. About a decade ago at the school I taught at, a position came up in the Business department and since I was department head, I was tasked with finding out if there were any qualified candidates for the job posting. Through teaching contacts, I heard good things about a teacher from the Yukon, Rob, and so I made a concerted effort in getting him hired without ever having met him. Successfully, he transitioned into the department and we not only developed an amazing professional working relationship but, much more importantly, a meaningful friendship over the years. I have learned so much from Rob: sharing laughs trying to team-teach Keyboarding to ESL students who had no clue what we were doing, traveling to the Yukon and Alaska with my city boy requirements, learning about and changing my lifestyle to natural and organic products, getting out of my comfort-zone to experience new things such as hiking and camping, opening up my mind to meditation and alternative healing practices and the most important – letting things happen, learning from and then moving on from such experiences. Our friendship solidified to new-found levels over this past year as both of us were going through similar life circumstances and I was able to discuss life and its many intricacies with him – in essence, I had a shoulder to lean on. Rob, I truly appreciate all the new things that you have introduced to me which enrich my life. I am thankful that we had such a great working relationship and miss the good times teaching with you. I appreciate all the support you have given me over the years and especially this past year. You have had such a profound impact on me and have forever changed me for the better! I am so glad I met you and that we have become such amazing friends and I hope our friendship lasts until we are retired old men meeting up for a drink and reminiscing about the past and toasting to our future years of friendship! Cheers to you Rob!