Tag Archives: life

21 x 2

So I’ve been watching a lot of Oprah lately (Master Class + Super Soul Sundays – I know who the hell am I?) – so imma gonna get all deep and philosophical right now. And I can cause it’s my birthday damn it!

In my 20s and 30s I truly dreaded the idea of being 40. Let alone 42. Cause like OMG that is like so old.
But truth be told, your 40s – they’re not so awful. And truth be told, I kinda sorta maybe really like it.
It’s not all that scary.
It’s only a number – right?
In my 20s I was still struggling to find out who I really was and what I wanted to do with my life.
My 30s – it was all about life changes.
My 40s it has been all about being 100% comfortable in my own skin.
I’ve now had two years to figure out this 40s thing. And I think I finally have the hang of it.
I finally feel like I’ve caught up to my age.
But let’s not kid ourselves – I’m still about the moments of total blissful immaturity, beaucoup de sarcasm, silliness and lots and lots of cursing. Le obviously.
I’ve accepted the body I see in front of my mirror every morning – although Dayna and I swear one day we’ll get our asses to a gym on a regular basis. One day.
(But I still won’t wear a bikini. Le hellz no.)
I’ve found my voice and am not afraid to use it. I now accept that the worst that can happen is that someone disagrees with me – and that’s OK.
I’ve learned that listening is equally as powerful and effective as speaking your opinion.
It’s not about competing all the time – sometimes it’s just about becoming a better you. A better ‘you’ that never stops learning…the ‘you’ that never stops asking questions.
I’ve accepted that you can’t change everyone and not everyone is worth changing. It’s a hard lesson but it’s an important lesson.
I’m all about forgiving, even though I never forget. It’s all about growing and learning from all those paths we take in life – even the ones we never expected to take.
I’ve learned to move on – I believe that everything happens for a reason – some call it fate; I just stopped questioning it – and if it doesn’t work out in your favour its ok. What’s meant to be, is meant to be. And if doesn’t work out …then walk away. It’s ok to walk away. It really is.
This past year I’ve made some amazing connections and reconnected with some people I never thought I would ever cross paths with again in my lifetime.
How awesome is that?
And I’m grateful for it all.
I’ve embraced not needing to have expectations met all the time – sometimes it’s just about going along for the ride, having fun and not taking for granted all the adventures that come with it.
I’ve discovered incredible new music this year and I have the iTunes bill to prove it. And this year I once again reaffirmed that music is truly my happy place.
I have smiled more these last 12 months and many of those smiles are silent ones – ones that will never come with an explanation. And those are the best kinds.
I love to laugh. Every day. It’s a really bad day when I can’t find one thing that makes me laugh. Yes even the snort laughing.
I’ve shared secrets and taken down walls, worked through inhibitions and let people into my inner circle.
Some of those walls have been up for years for the record.
And I take solace in knowing that there are a select few…even a twin soul…that know me for who I am to my very core.
The real me – flaws…my many imperfections…all of them.
I value that circle of trust every single day.
I have embraced my passions and my ‘ways’.
I’ve discovered the word ‘adore’ all over again and it makes my heart melt.
I have embraced my faults. I have embraced my weaknesses. Not that all weaknesses are bad – some get them, and some never will.
I’ve accepted all sides of me.
And I’m ok with all of them.
I am thankful for my circle of friends, my support system, and my family that I have – the ones who call me out on my bullshit (I’m a Gemini – bullshit is a given) and the ones that champion me in life every single day.
I’m all about following passions and dreams and supporting those same goals in others. It’s an amazing gift watching people succeed in what they are most passionate about.
Mean what you say – say what you mean. But just say it. You’ll regret more what you didn’t say than the words you said. Life’s short. Too damn short sometimes. You don’t get ‘time’ back. If you love someone tell them. If someone means something to you. Tell them. Never leave things unsaid. The ‘what ifs’ in life are what kills your soul.
My Zia Italia in Windsor taught me that one.

All this to say that 41 was a hell of ride and I look forward to 42.
I am happy. Even if happy doesn’t always come in the most perfect of packages.
It’s my way and it works for me.
Maybe this year I’ll overcome my fear of heights and jump out of a plane.
Muhahahahahahahaha. Pffft.
Not likely.
Here’s to more franglais, Nutella and Baby Duck. And lots of adventures, making memories and fun.
And here’s to 42.
Bring it.
C’est tout.
xoxoxo

 

 

 

 

 

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2015: Resolutions

 

2015 New Year celebration

 

Happy New Year.
Say what you mean, mean what you say.

If you have something to say – say it….you ultimately regret all the things you didn’t say.

Make amends. Listen.  Be OK with silence and spending time alone reflecting.

Breathe.

Take chances…tell people you love them…make mistakes…no regrets…learn something new.

Reconnect…have fun…take on new adventures even if it scares you…push yourself.  Let the walls come down. Find someone who knows you to your core.

Be OK with your faults – it makes us unique.

Know that every decision, mistake and path you’ve taken was for a reason and maybe this is the year that clarity sets in.

Laugh…a lot.

Listen to music…be silly…and live your life the way that’s best for you.
Love and happiness in 2015.
Cheers!

 

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25 Things About Me

25 Random Things About Me

1. I hate being put on speaker phone. H-A-T-E it.

2. I don’t mind squishing spiders with my shoe but don’t ask me to squish an ant. Clearly they are too damn cute to kill. Spiders not so much.

3. I love my handwriting. There I said it.

4. I miss writing letters. You know the old-skool kind with an actual paper and pen.  

5. I miss making mixed cassette tapes. It’s a lost art form.

6. After failing my driving test two times I finally got my licence at the age of 21 (third time’s a charm) after I promised the  guy giving the test I would never parallel park. He’d be happy to know that I have kept my promise.

7. I love people watching.

8. I always have one song playing in my head at any given time – The Verve’s ‘Bittersweet Symphony’.

9. I tend to curse a lot. Even when I’m not mad. It’s just a thing.

10. I may have a slight addiction to shoes.

11. I am a drug store beauty product junkie.  I am a marketer’s dream come true.

12. I’m pretty sure at times I was born in the wrong era. I’m all about the 50’s vintage.

13. When I drink red wine it makes my lips numb.

14. I can destroy a bag of salt ‘n vinegar chips in one sitting all by myself.

15. I still drink Baby Duck…on purpose.

16. I don’t get people who don’t like Nutella.

17. I am a firm believer that age is nothing but a number. And because of that I don’t act my age.

18. I am a snort-laugher. Don’t judge.

19. I still love the boy bands.

20. I had my hand on Donnie Wahlberg’s ass – twice.

21. I love freshly sharpened pencils. I could sharpen pencils all day long.

22. I love watching end of the world disaster movies – I may have a addiction to them.

23. I have watched enough zombie documentaries and read enough books that I fully believe that I am 99.9% prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse.

24. I love folding laundry. Just hate putting it away.

25. I am addicted to chapstick. But in my defence I get chapped lips a lot.

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Hellz Yes

Got this from my friend Nancy on Facebook.

Hellz yes to this.

Ideas to live by 

1. Do whatever the fuck you want.
2. Do whatever the fuck you want.
3. Seriously, do you want that burger? Then just fucking eat a burger. Don’t be gross about it, and don’t eat a burger three meals a day. But I beg you, women and image-conscious male humans of the world, stop beating yourself up about it and just eat the fucking burger.
4. Do whatever the fuck you want.
5. Have good friends. Call them. Complain a little. That’s what friends are for. Return the favor. Don’t be a shitty friend.
6. Be incessantly curious about the world around you! Experience art, science, beauty, and nature! But stop beating yourself up on those nights when you just want to sit your ass on the couch and watch reruns of Friends.
7. Smile when you feel like smiling. Laugh whenever you fucking feel like laughing. Pro tip: Being told to ‘laugh more’ is not going to make you laugh more. Being told to ‘smile more’ is not going to make you smile more.
8. Make time for yourself. After you’ve run that 5K, started a load of laundry, harvested your organic vegetable garden, run to the bank, paid the bills, dazzled everyone with recipes that are cost-effective, healthy, and delicious, thought of something witty and clever to share with your social networking site, caught up on current events and politics, and cleaned all of the house, that special hour set aside just for you is so critical to your well-being.
9. Do whatever the fuck you want.
10. Don’t care what other people think. Unless they’re right. In which case, fucking humble yourself enough to listen to them.
11. Be your damn self. Don’t be a terrible person. Be nice to others.
12. Be supportive of your friends and allow yourself to give them the benefit of the doubt when they want to try something new, like rescuing shelter dogs, or making performance art in the nude, or dating terrible people. They’re your friends and you love them, and if they suck, stop being their friend.
13. Show up for work. Pay your bills. Find some fucking purpose in your life, and figure out a way to share that purpose with others in a way that isn’t sanctimonious.
14. Smile because something makes you smile. Laugh because you’ve surrounded yourself by people who make you laugh, and they’re funny fucking people, and you’re happy to be with them.
15. Dance because you’re drunk at a big party with your friends and Michael Jackson is playing, not because ‘no one is watching.’ Everyone is watching. We’re at a fucking party. That’s how parties work.
16. Do whatever the fuck you want.

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Dead Fishy

Our house is where fishies come to die.

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An Open Letter That Everyone Must Read

This is the most inspirational, eloquent, deeply personal and eye opening letter I’ve read in a long time (originally posted on Facebook).

I’m in awe of his courage and strength.

They are lessons before dying that we should all take to heart and remember….remember what’s important…love, family and friends, make a difference in the world and life your life with passion…live it to it’s fullest.

Time is precious.

Read and share. This will be Greg’s lasting legacy…his way of making difference in the world.

Trying to Live When They Expect You To Die

by Greg Hébert on Friday, August 17, 2012 at 10:03am ·

Living with a terminal cancer diagnosis can make you feel like the Boy Who Cried Wolf. You never know when the end might come and yet there seem to be ample warnings that it could be just around the corner. Not wanting to be caught off guard or leave loved ones in the dark, we take these cues as signs to do things like say goodbye or express feelings and thoughts we had always kept private. Then, low and behold, our condition improves and we put aside these heavy emotional messages and try to resume life as normal always with the knowledge that eventually our search for closure will be prophetic after all. Many of you will feel as though you’ve read these words before, that I’ve warned the end is near before that I am only serving to heighten the drama of my situation by constantly talking about it. All I can say to that is there is growing urgency behind my words. Each time I have some kind of medical development followed by a meeting with my doctors, it seems that a bit more hope is removed from my prognosis.

The truth is that neither our doctors nor the little voices in the back of our minds truly know when the end will come. Having had a few brushes with what seemed like “the end” I know how confusing and devastating it is. The mad rush to try and say all the things that have been left unsaid. The realization that you’ll never see or do all the things that are now physically impossible because of your weakened condition. The reckoning that all those you love so much and who love you in return will no longer be together. It’s almost palpable the feeling that is created. The loss. Opportunities, dreams, plans and hopes all just crumble in front of your eyes and you do anything and everything in your power to keep them alive but in the end comes the realization that those efforts are fruitless. We all exist here for a finite time and none of us get to choose when or how our time here will draw to a close. We can do our best to influence the kind of legacy we leave behind but how we will be remembered and what kind of imprint we will leave on the minds and lives of others are things that beyond our control.

With all that said, I feel the need to reach out again and say that I think the number of tomorrow’s in my future is probably quite small. The problem with having a rare form of a disease is the lack of accepted treatment regimen’s that go along with that disease. Every decision is based more on common sense and deduction rather than hard science or proven track record. We employ drugs in combinations that have never been tried using delivery methods that we hope will be effective. In many cases, we use treatments which are not meant to be used for our condition at all but because of chemical formulation, logic and sometimes a bit of faith, we think these treatments might also benefit our case. That has been the model with me recently. After trying two rounds of aggressive surgery, radiation and four rounds of chemotherapy using different conventional drugs, the past year has been reduced to one big science experiment. I have been an active and willing participant in this research, combining the recommendations of my doctors with my own alternative treatments all in the hopes that we could buy some significant extra time. Better still and perhaps a bit foolishly, I believed that a miracle might be possible and that one of the treatments might produce some kind of remission or maybe even a complete break in my symptoms…for a time.

Sadly, this disease has proven to be a powerful and relentless foe. It has systematically adapted to each and every treatment we have thrown at it. It has lost small battles along the way but in so doing, the core of the beast grew stronger and more resilient and came back more determined each time.

That brings us to now. If you combine the original mass in my jaw along with the ulcerated lump that has pushed through to the outside of my neck, the inside of my throat, my shoulder, my back, etc. I would say that I am dealing with a tumour easily the size of a large grapefruit and probably quite a bit larger. It is highly vascular which is to say that there is a spider web of blood vessels weaving throughout the structure of this monster and it bleeds uncontrollably all the time. Two or three times daily, I have to change the dressing on my neck and two or three times daily, I get stuck in the washroom for the better part of an hour as I try to get the bleeding to stop. Each time I wonder if this might be the one that sends me to the hospital or worse still, the one that causes my carotid artery to rupture. I wonder how far the blood will spray across the room and what kind of mess I will leave behind after I lose consciousness. An arterial bleed would leave me with precious seconds to respond but in all likelihood, I wouldn’t survive the event. Still, knowing what kinds of other fates lie in wait for me, I often think that an arterial bleed would be a good way to go. It would be quick and painless and providing the blood didn’t also drain into my throat (causing a drowning and choking sensation) it could be one of the best ways for me to meet my end. Recently, the tumour in my throat has swollen to the point that my tonsils and uvula rest on my tongue all the time. I constantly feel as though someone has their hand wrapped around my throat, squeezing down, threatening to pinch of the last bit of remaining airflow I have left. It seems to get worse at night and I often wake up in a panic realizing that I am unable to draw breath as quickly or as easily as I would like. I can’t imagine many other sensations that can cause as much panic as the feeling of suffocating. The though of waking to that feeling has dominated my thoughts over the past few days. Every time I eat a meal, I have to hold my breath with each mouthful of food and hope that I inhaled enough air to get me through the process of chewing and swallowing. Trying to inhale through my nose only makes the problem worse and increases the feeling of panic. Plus I have to consider the kind of foods I eat and liquids I drink because many will cause an excess of mucus to be produced in my mouth and that is often enough to block off what little remaining airflow I have left. It makes it feel as though the back of my mouth is filled with glue.

Each day is worse than the last. The swelling of the tumour seems unstoppable. The closure of my airway advances a bit more every day. The pain caused by the growths in my jaw, shoulder and back varies between a constant state of 5 out of 10 on the pain scale to being unbearable. I checked into the ER on Tuesday night because I couldn’t tolerate the pain. It took several hours of intravenous narcotics to get the pain under control and even then, all we managed to do was mask the underlying cause. As a result, I am taking massive amounts of narcotics every couple of hours in an effort to stay ahead of the pain.

But this isn’t life. This isn’t living. This is existing. It is enduring. I can hardly interact with the people I care about most because the pain, the distraction of my laboured breathing, my decreasing mobility and about half a dozen other things serve as such a distraction that I can hardly keep my place in a conversation. I feel like a distant obserserver to my own life except the narcotics have played such havoc with my short-term memory that I can’t even remember the things that are done and said around me from one moment to the next.

I live in constant fear and pain now. I have lost my ability to see the humour in any situation, instead sinking further into depression and anxiety with each new development in my condition. I harbour so much anger and resentment toward this disease and in fact, toward the world for what has happened to me. Piece by piece, I have watched the components of my life be stripped away to the degree that I have virtually nothing left to call my own anymore, My relationships with my family have all be compromised. My amazing wife, without whom I could not survive a single day of this hell now, has not had a proper husband by her side in months. She says we are partners and that she will stand by me through anything and indeed she has been nothing short of my guardian angel but I can’t return her affection, attention or devotion even in a fractional way because of how this disease has stripped me of my independence. My mother has to watch her only child and indeed, one of the only surviving members or her family fade away into a shadow of what he once was. No parent should outlive their child. My friendships have all devolved into a race of sorts, to ensure that we can see each other while there is still time. Each visit with each friend feels like it could be the last and often has the atmosphere of a living wake. The career which I loved so much is gone. I sacrificed years of my personal life as I happily developed my skills in an area that I have wanted to call my own since I was 12-years-old. Being paid to do something you love is a rare gift. Discovering you have a natural talent in that area further reinforces the motivation and heightens the rewards that come with a job well done. I can’t even listen to the radio anymore because it is all just too painful a reminder of what I have loved and lost. On a smaller scale, I can’t snowboard, golf, bike, swim or rollerblade anymore because I don’t have the strength, the dangers of injury are too high and all of those activities would cause too much pain…but I deeply love all of them and miss them terribly. I’m almost always sedated on heavy painkillers which means I can’t drive a car, another passion of mine. The list goes on and on.

The end of this long note brings us to the most important detail. My doctor thinks it may be time to stop fighting nature. With good reason, he believes that the chemotherapy has lost its edge and is no longer providing much, if any benefit to me. After all, what is the point of taking a drug which is only causing me pain and suffering without returning any net gain? My doctor doesn’t want to treat me to the point that the medicine itself may kill me and he feels that we have arrived at that point. The one thing that is clear is that my disease is relentless; we have seen plenty of evidence in the past showing how quickly the tumours begin to cause massive damage without the presence of some kind of medical treatment, so if I cease doing everything, my remaining time will be short. I am faced with a decision that I hoped I would never have to make. Fatalistically, I had always hoped that the decision would be made for me because the magnitude of this choice and the implications on how I will be remembered are just too profound for me to handle alone. But it seems that I will be thrust into making the choice myself whether I like ir not. I can’t tell you what I will do only that this is the most powerless and futile a position I could ever imagine a human being compelled to face.

Whatever happens next, I want it to be known that I could not have survived as long as I have without the love and support of those closest to me. For those of you who are more distant friends and those who joined to read about my story as it progressed, let it be known that your words kept me focused and determined to be a better person and to use my position for good rather than self-pity and for that you all have my thanks. We all have a purpose on this planet but few of us get to know what that function is. My purpose here is clearly meant to be fulfilled in a shorter period of time than many others. Maybe I was put here to bring attention to this disease and remind others of the importance of compassion and understanding. Given how much I took my own life for granted in my younger years, perhaps I was sent here to be a reminder to others about how not to live. There are countless reasons why I think I might have been put on this world and many more reasons why you might think I was put here. I suppose all that matters in the end is that hopefully I leave a legecy that is more positive than negative and perhaps even better, that I will leave an essence of sorts that might even prove beneficial to others at some point. I hope so. I draw all my best qualities from the people around me who I respect the most so if I have done or said anything worthwhile over the years then I mist thank my network of amazing people for inspiring me.

It seems there is always more to say. I don’t know how to end this nor do I feel like I have even scratched the surface of the subjects I’d like to discuss. For now, if I have any advice to leave it would simply be to try and leave the world a little bit better than you find it each day. It takes so little effort to spread your influence in a positive way. Don’t judge. Try not to be overly critical of others. Remember how good it feels to receive encouragement and positive reinforcement and try to spread those things on to others. Each and every one of us is capable of being a better person. How we face our challenges is what truly defines us as people and it is much easier to set a positive example by facing our challenges with determination and positive resolve rather than with negativity. There will always be people with problems that are greater and lesser than your own. We all must live through our personal challenges at various times in life. Do not compare your issues with others but rather try to appreciate how you can learn from one and other. Like I said, there’s always more to say. I have only just begun to learn how much I don’t know about this life. I wish I could have more time to put into use the lessons I have learned. I wish I didn’t have so many unrealized ambitions. I wish I had made better use of the time I had..

With some luck and some love, I’ll have more to write in the near future but if that doesn’t happen, thank you all for being a part of my life.

G.

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I Love This Quote

Everyone needs to read this quote.

It’s beautiful. It’s inspiring. It brings much needed perspective.

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