353 Days Remaining
I have been thinking about what kinds of things I would like to do with this long year that is stretching ahead of me. While I was running through ideas in my mind, I remembered that, a long time ago, I logged into a website called "43 Things", where people list specific things that they want to do with their life. It's a sort of Bucket List, I suppose. I could only remember one thing that I had put on my list - "Be with Black Luke", which is what I've decided to call the boyfriend I had just lost at the time. Apparently my goals were lofty. See - always relationship-oriented! This is why this year off is important.
Black Luke has moved on and is now (happily, I hope) married, so even if that were still on the list, I'd have to cross it off. I decided to try to find the website and sign back in, to see which (if any) of the 43 Things I had completed...and which I am still interested in trying out this year.
Surprise, surprise, my go-to username and password worked (I know we're not supposed to use the same one all over the Internet! Don't remind me!) and I was face-to-face with my list. Twenty-eight things that, back in 2007, I wanted to accomplish ("Be with Black Luke" was no longer there - apparently I smartened up enough to know that was not going to happen). I was very happy to see that I have actually accomplished quite a few of the things that are on my list in the five years since I wrote it:
#3. reconnect with my daughter. My daughter and I have had a strained relationship since I left her dad. It's gotten much better, although definitely we are not as close as I would like us to be. However, when I think back on how bad it was five years ago, I know we have come a long way. We're going to a concert together in Vancouver in September, and we're both really looking forward to a mother/daughter mini-shopping-spree getaway.
#9. spend a day at a spa. I've done this! It was wonderful! I need to do it again. Today would be good.
#10. smile everyday. I definitely do this. It makes a huge difference, both to me and to people on the street - people really respond to a smile, and it always makes you feel better, too. Funny how I never consciously have this in my head, but it must have stuck since I originally wrote it down. I always make a point to smile at everyone I see.
#11. be there for the miracle of birth. This was amazing. My friends Tats and LeeMo have both had babies since then, and I was able to be the doula for each of them. My sister also has had two babies, and I was there for the duration of her labor with her first. Both LeeMo and my sister ended up having C-sections, so I couldn't be in the delivery room with them, but when Tats had her beautiful little baby boy, I was there with her, coaching her through it. It was an amazing moment and I will always feel close to him because of it. It definitely cemented in my head that I want to be in Labor & Delivery.
#12. be happy with myself without needing someone else to tell me I am important. Much better at this now than I was. It still can be a struggle some days, but I would say I have come a long way.
#13. get into healthcare and out of insurance. I got started on this right away, and I am very proud of how far I've come. I enrolled in a six-month Health Care Assistant program and, once I graduated, I began working with seniors in care facilities. Now I do Home Care, and I love it. I don't miss insurance at all (though, from time to time, I do miss the paycheques. I was getting pretty high up in the insurance world and I haven't quite yet gotten to the point where I make as much as I was making back then. Still, it's worth it.)
#18. lose weight/exercise/be healthier. Last year I decided that I was going to try to do my nursing degree through the Armed Forces, so it was time to really get in shape and be stronger. I asked a good friend of mine, who is a trainer, if she could come up with a good program for me. She did, I worked hard, and I got much healthier. I don't stick to the exercise routine as much these days, but I know it's there. I'm kind of feeling I need to implement it. Still, the little things like always taking the stairs at work rather than the elevator really make a difference (one night I decided to count how many flights of stairs I did during the course of one shift; it was 61), and I am much more conscious of what I eat.
#19. enjoy the moment. Do you ever just stop wherever you are and think, wow; this is amazing...? Make a point to do that on occasion. Whether you're hanging out with your family; driving down a particularly beautiful stretch of road; eating a delicious meal; or just waking up and seeing the sun stream in through your window, take a moment to appreciate where you are and where your life has brought you. I had a moment like this in church on Sunday as the congregation was singing a worship song - I just felt so much joy in the moment of celebration that I wanted to burst with it. Noticing the little things can make even a difficult day more tolerable, because even when there are hard days, there's always something beautiful that can lift you up.
#24. dance in the rain. I decided not to be afraid of getting wet. It`s another one of those moments where you have to just go for it. And it really felt like I was in a movie! It was awesome!
#25. see the thing that is genuinely beautiful about every person. This is another thing that I have - perhaps unconsciously - put into action every day. I call it my "Value Village" theory: you can walk into any thrift store and the first thing you notice is probably the smell. It's a musty, dusky, unused- and unwanted-things smell. Then you see all the tacky stuff: the ancient stereos; the old shoes; the wigs that you would slap your kids' hands for trying on because you're just sure that they're full of lice. You don't even really want to be there in that store, but you walk the aisles and wander through the old sheets and racks and racks of extinct kitchen implements...and then you find it. That beautiful, perfect PartyLites candleholder that would cost you $45 brand new but is marked for sale at $3.95. Or that signed canvas print by your favorite artist. Or that beautiful solid wood turntable unit that reminds you of the one your dad used to play his Elvis records on. There's always something worthy and amazing in every thrift store, if you look hard enough. It's the same with people. Take the time to look a little harder and see them through God's eyes.
#28. make a difference. Fortunately, through my work, I have the opportunity to do this almost every day. Sometimes it's just the little things, like the fact that I'm able to be there for the people who are unable to care for themselves properly, and other times there are bigger events that happen and I need to go a little further or work a little harder. I know that moving into healthcare was exactly the right thing for me, because I'm making a difference in the lives of these people, and they have made just as huge an impact on me.
I know this is a longer post than usual, so I`m going to stop the "43 Things" dissertation for now and save the things I have yet to accomplish for another post. What really struck me about revisiting this list is that apparently, making a list or just writing things down somehow cements them in your head, even if you're not aware of it. The things that are really important from my 43Things became a part of my psyche. I feel like this year of not dating is a great time to implement the other things that I need to make sure are a part of my life, especially life in relationship with another person.
Until next time,