On this, my 56th birthday, I remember talking to my aunt one time at her house as I was looking at one of her photos on the wall. In the photo she was very young and very beautiful and and I remember her commenting that now she felt very old and very removed from that photo. She was still very beautiful but just different.
That's the pattern of life: from young to old. Getting old is certainly better than the alternative. Wrinkles, grey hair and the aches of an tired body are inevitable, although we try to hold them off as long as possible.
My 56th birthday is a special milestone. I was a few days shy of my 13th birthday when my dad passed away at the age of 56. Back then, when people said that 56 was very young, I thought 'that's plenty old enough.' But I guess that's what kids think.
Fifty-six isn’t old. Because for me, right now, I'm barely getting started.
Life moves along. It has its ups and downs. I have laughed and cried. People have come and gone, friends have entered and departed. Relationships have started and been broken. I went to college, became an RN, moved to a different country and back, had a child, worked hard, wrote a book, became a Girl Guide leader, started a small business, all the while moving forward as best I can, trying to be the best person I can be. Living life.
Little did I know that day trips with my guy, vacations, concerts with my daughter, movies, birthday meals with family, hanging out with friends, and running from a skunk down Queen St. in Niagara-on-the-Lake with my best friend, wasn't just living life.
I was making memories.
And memories are the best things to have as I get older, wrinkles or not.
I don’t particularly like hockey and I sure don’t own a hockey stick. But I am a proud Canadian and a proud, sensitive person and the #SticksOutForHumboldt movement is getting me right in the feels. Today, as I am scanning through Twitter and Instagram, looking at all the photos of the hockey sticks (and a couple boat paddles) and a few headsets and microphones, leaning up against the doorways of people all across Canada, across the U.S.A. and across the world, I am reminded of how small a world this is.
This symbolic gesture to #putyoursticksout, ‘because the boys might need them,’ picked up steam after an emotional vigil Sunday evening at Elger Petersen Arena in Humboldt, the home of the Broncos.
In honour of the 15 Humboldt Broncos players and support staff killed in the tragic bus accident on April 6, in Saskatchewan, put your stick out.
This topic is always interesting for me. Being Canadian, and having lived in the US for a few years, I see how different the thinking and the laws are on this topic between the two countries.
In Canada, if a person wants to buy a gun, first you have to write and pass a safety test, and fill out a form (I am not sure WHAT exactly the form involves) in order to get a license to own a gun. The license is called a Possession and Acquisition Licence or PAL. It allows you to buy and own a gun but not carry one. If you want to own a handgun or other ‘restricted’ firearm, then an additional test is required- then your PAL has a R on it that allows you to buy and own restricted firearms. (I again, don’t know which fire arms are Restricted or Non-Restricted)
But a person is still not allowed to CARRY a gun. Carrying a handgun in Canada without authorization is very illegal and there is virtually no way for you to get authorization to do so without having a job which requires it.
After you buy a gun, you have to register it with the RCMP. Buying a gun at a store does this automatically. For private sales, you have to call the RCMP to register your gun.
You also need extra authorization to transport your firearm from one place (your home where it is registered) to another (a firing range- for example).
(I had to look this up!)
This differs greatly from the US.
How easy is it to buy a gun in the US? Are Background checks performed? Is there a waiting period? WHO freaking needs a semi-automatic weapon?? I am not dissing anyone who has a gun in their home for protection (although that isn’t a good enough reason to own one in Canada) but seriously, who needs a semi-automatic??
Canada has had some notable mass shootings for sure – the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre, the 1992 Concordia University massacre, the 2012 Danzig Street shooting, the 2014 Edmonton killings and the 2017 Quebec City mosque shooting.
But when you take into account the sheer numbers of mass shootings that the United States has, and the number of people killed by these shootings, and the fact that often semi-automatic weapons are used--- HOW can anyone say that GUNS ARE NOT A PROBLEM. I really don’t get it.
Did I miss any??
The 2017 Sutherland Springs church shooting, the 2017 Vegas shooting, the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, the 2015 San Bernadino attack, the 2015 Umpqua Community College shooting, the 2013 Washington Navy Yard shooting, the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the 2012 Aurora shooting, the 2009 Binghamton shootings, the 2009 Fort Hood shooting, the 2009 Geneva County massacre, the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, the 1990 GMAC shootings, the 1991 Luby's shooting, the 1986 Edmond post office shooting, the 1984 San Ysidro McDonald's massacre, the 1982 Wilkes-Barre shootings
We broke up 9 years ago. We were together for 3 years, engaged for two of them. We lived together for one year.
He was a fun and generous guy who always wanted to be the life of the party. He was the clown in the room, the guy with the loudest laugh. And the widest smile.
Three things stand out in my mind when I think of him.
We took some rather cool vacations together so he sparked the travel bug in me. I really need to get moving on that! Time is short and anything can happen.
He introduced me to sushi, which I now love! HOW did I never eat it before I met him?
And sailing! He owned a sailboat, which made me love the water even more than I already did. Sailing is too expensive for me. He had a plaque that said: “Sailing: the fine art of getting wet and becoming ill while slowly going nowhere at great expense.” Maybe a jet ski for me!
And for good or bad, he taught me a lot about myself and what not to do in a relationship. That is a good thing. I hope he worked through his stuff too. No need to get into the bad things!
Even though we were both ready to end our relationship, we parted on relatively good terms. We seemed to get along much better when we weren’t a couple. We chatted a bit a couple years later when he told me that his dog, who I was rather fond of, had died.
Facebook is often the deliverer of news and my random look at his profile last week with the RIP messages strewn about, make me pause and the ‘oh crap,’ out of my mouth was surprise and sincere. Of course, I spent the next day or two going over everything that was written in the comments and on his profile. Just to get a sense of who he was all the years after me. The comments had slowed down because he died 4 months ago. I feel like I slept through it, in a way.
I always thought that I would run into him at some random time, probably travelling. We’d go to lunch and have a good talk about the old days, reminiscing about the good times, skimming over the bad and hopefully parting ways with a little more understanding about each other.
That won’t happen now.
RIP, Bob. You will be missed.
There is a lot of talk about the Indigenous people and the Canada150.
All countries are made up of a sum of all the parts of its parts, the good, the bad, and the reprehensible. The residential school was ONE of the MOST reprehensible things that Canada has done in our long history!
Residential schools were government-sponsored religious schools established to assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian culture. Children were taken from their homes to live in schools, which disrupted their family life. The whole atmosphere was negative. Everything from not knowing the language of the lessons to inadequate food and clothing that was provided, to the most horrific: sexual abuse and even death.
An estimated 150,000 First Nation, Inuit, and Métis children attended residential schools
In 2006, the government reached a $2 billion settlement, the largest class-action settlement in Canadian history. I can only assume that the government actually paid this!?
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) was officially launched in 2008 as part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA). Despite major setbacks and difficulty, after six years, the TRC completed its mandate. It held national events, conducted hearings across the country, as well as public outreach activities. It established commemoration markers and works of art. The Commission closed in June of 2015 having accumulated almost 7000 personal survivor statements. The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) houses these records and other documents, along with being responsible continuing education and research.
A sincere apology goes a long way in my book. And by sincere, I mean, an apology that is accepted by the person(s) who were hurt. In this case, by most indigenous people and not just a white person saying that it is good enough apology.
On June 12, 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered a long-anticipated apology to tens of thousands of Indigenous people who, as children, were taken from their families and sent to residential schools, as part of official government policy to "kill the Indian in the child."
In May of 2015, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne officially apologized to Ontario's Indigenous communities for the decades of mistreatment of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people.
An apology doesn’t make everything go away. There is nothing that anyone can do to change the past. There is still so much to be done BUT it is a START. And that must be acknowledged!
But as Justice Murray Sinclair says, “Canada must move from apology to action.” True words.
As for me, I am a proud Canadian- the good with the bad.
If I were rich, I would buy an airplane and routinely deliver free food to the Indigenous people way up north so they don’t have to pay $19 for a melon. I would also open up a women’s shelter and a dog rescue – but that is a different story!
I started The Happiness Project in 2012. Anyone who doesn’t know what this is, it can be found http://gretchenrubin.com/books/the-happiness-project/about-the-book/
I gave the One Sentence Journal to my daughter for Christmas 2011. My hubby thought it was cool so I bought him one too and decided to try it myself as well.
There is space to write something that made me happy every day for 5 years.
Well, five years later, it is finished.
The close of 2016 made my journal complete.
Have I kept up with writing??
Yes, I did!
Most days, I wrote a small sentence about something I did that day that made me feel happy. Often it was about my daughter, my hubby or my dogs (my favourite things!). Often it was about naps and getting enough sleep! Or relaxing. Sometimes it was about my friends and family
Admittedly, there were days (very few, luckily) that had few positive things but the sun still shone and that is always a good thing. I did tend to write a lot of what I DID, instead of how it made me feel or a HAPPY thing.
I work at night. While everyone else is asleep. During that time, I can do things that are definitely un-work related, like watch TV.
Last night I watched the movie, Shallow Hal. It was good. I enjoyed it. It came out in 2001 but I had never seen it.
As I always do after watching a movie, TV show or documentary- I look it up on the computer when I get home. The internet can be a wonderful thing! I check out the actors in the movies, other things they have done. I look up a location or whatever else relates to whatever it was that I watched on TV.
So, when searching Shallow Hal on google, I just went to Wikipedia. There is always a list of actors, so I checked out a few that I hadn't heard of and the young boy who played Young Hal is Sasha Joseph Neulinger. His history and what he is doing with his life now is fascinating to me!!
He was abused as a very young child and is now making a documentary called Rewind to Fast-Forward which is an autobiographical film about his life surviving multi-generational sexual abuse, which will have a lot of home video of his childhood.
I found his TEDx Talk. He is such a brave, smart, articulate young man!
I find this whole thing sad and interesting at the same time.
I look forward to watching this upcoming documentary!
Me? Canadian, writer, RN, crafter, Girl Guide Leader, Red Hatter, 3-dog owner, photographer, geocacher, cool Mom, and all around FUN and FUNNY person!