So, today I turn 45 years old. If I plan to live to 90 that is exactly half way. With that in mind I’m feeling quite reflective today and thought I’d blog about it.
My four and a half decades of life have been joyful, privileged, challenging and hopefully fruitful to others as I’ve tried to be a super helpful and loving person. Being born in 1971, my parents both worked hard, I never needed for anything but certainly wasn’t handed everything on a silver platter. I started working at 12 years old and have worked hard ever since. Babysitting, Sticky Fingers Donut Shop, Cango Gas Station and Canadian Tire got me through my young years until starting my career taking care of seniors in nursing homes and then adults with disabilities in their own homes.
Working in the nonprofit sector as a single mom has certainly been a challenge but the personal rewards have been much more of goal for me. Working at the YMCA while raising my kids was the best ever experience. They got to enjoy swimming and camps and it infused an amazing value system in them early on. Working with youth on the street, adults with disabilities, the mental health system, women and much more, has opened my eyes to the need in our community.
Ensuring I can do everything I can to make someone’s day brighter or make someone smile is all I ever needed. Having met some of this community’s most amazing people has been nothing but awesome as many have helped carry me through the harder times when they came. I am grateful!
My kids have challenged me both with unique and interesting parenting requirements as well as showing me what is truly real. That love, hard work and perseverance pays off but that you can explore new and unusual life paths that are outside of societal norms. I love that my kids have taught me to be that kind of mom and it’s made me a better woman, human, leader, entrepreneur and community volunteer. They have made me better all while taking me through the most challenging personal growth moments of my life, moments of tears, loneliness, pain, frustration, anger and more love and respect then I could have ever expected. I am blessed!
Today, I have a life that I never could have imagined. I am my own boss, I have the most amazing clients whom I love with all my heart and I live in a community that means more to me than I can begin to explain. Being a fourth generation Londoner I care deeply for my city and the people in it. I am very saddened by things that hurt the city and its people like toxic social media feeds to news articles to general conversation. I desire full team work and loving kindness among all those who are working together to make our community even better regardless of our viewpoint, colour of skin, religious preferences, sexual orientation, age, gender or political persuasion. We all have to get along if we’re going to tackle some of the worst persistent problems we face. Problems like poverty, racism, violence, and diversity & inclusion can be solved if we work together compassionately.
That is my goal for the next four and a half decades. To help make those problems obsolete.
- To not have to worry that my daughter will be sexually assaulted, threatened or hurt while in our community again.
- To ensure all persons with mental health issues get the help they need without having to stay in the emergency room for 11 days before being treated.
- To ensure my black friends are not treated as less than human but that more people know black lives matter.
- To ensure that the women I know are not beaten or killed by their domestic partners, traded into sex work or used and abused simply because they have a vagina.
- To ensure that children have food to eat and a safe home with caring parents who are prepared and supported to care for their children.
- To create an education system that allows all types of learners to experience public school without having to conform, fit into a box and want to stay in school because they love it instead of having to drop out because they’re not understood.
- To have a city without harmful drugs that are hurting our children and their parents.
- To create a city that is safe, innovative and full of new business and enterprise for our economy.
- To explore and engage with the arts and culture of our city in a way that is full and life changing.
- To see (and actually have) less people living on the street and a reduction in poverty where OW and ODSP are something that lifts people out of poverty or supports them more fully rather than keep them down in the depths of need.
- To see conservative and liberal viewpoints coming together with one voice to actually make a difference rather than create dissidence.
- To create an environment that is healthy with trees, healthy land, healthy waste diversion, a clean river, clean air, green energy and much more.
- To engage in reconciliation with our first nations communities where we humbly understand and learn more about what we don’t know and take their lead in learning with them.
- To live in a community where none of my gay, lesbian and transgendered friends don’t fear for their lives or have any struggles with simply being who they are.
- To have no reason anyone living in a wheelchair would not have a way in or out of a building and that any other disability would see nothing but accessible equality.
This past year, I’ve needed bifocals and bladder pills (my kids think that one is the funniest) and now I’m about to take a journey down the road of hearing loss. All of that in one year has shown me my age in a way that makes me see my body changing and our lives may be more fragile than I once thought. I haven’t enjoyed this one little bit, but it’s my new reality. I’m also, again, privileged because I have the means to buy the ‘aids’ I need to continue living my life. I’m thankful for the technology and the ability to get what I need and having the family who supports me with the old age jokes along the way.
To all of you on Facebook, twitter, email and sending private messages, thank you for my birthday wishes, they meant a lot.
What do I want for my birthday?? I ask each of you to join me on my journey for the next half of my life, we have a lot of work to do…it will be hard but we need everyone. It will be frustrating and take a long time, but we will have fun and I promise it won’t be dull :)