What if….

What if we were a little bit more optimistic and a little less pessimistic…

What if we remembered the good points of the day, and forgot the bad….

What if we would be nicer to our fellow human beings, and a little less hateful….

What if we took more time to listen and less time interrupting….

What if we treated this earth as we should, littered less, and recycled more…

What if we took the time today to be more thankful for everything we have…

What if we smiled a little more and frowned a little less…

What if we were all grateful for what we have, instead of being angry at things we can’t change…

The world is at a turning point, and it seems to be becoming angrier every day.  Maybe today, being the last day of the year, we could all just do one nice thing for someone without looking for acknowledgement of that good deed.

Be kind today. The world is an angry place – but we don’t need to be.

Happy New Year.

So long 2019 – on to a better 2020!

2019 started off as a pretty great year – I jetted off to Spain, Morocco and Portugal. I had such a fantastic time and met so many amazing people – I was really looking forward to the whole year being as great as the start of the year of 2019.

Well, it has turned into a very trying year in many ways. My own personal being was okay, but it was a stressful and trying year. I am happy to say that, as the end of the year arrives, it appears to be turning around. 2020 looks like it’s going to be a much better year.

There are so many things to look forward to in my life in the upcoming year and, as I have learned this year, I will take one day at a time and look forward to what each day will bring. I am planning on a prolonged visit to SE Asia – Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand are on the list this coming year. I hope I can make it work out and I am going to try my hardest to make this happen.

I have learned to be even more patient this year, and once again I have discovered just how strong I am, and learning new things about me and my tolerance level.

I did manage to squeeze in a quick trip to Ottawa, a city in Canada that I had never seen before, and I was mesmerized by the beauty of our capital city. I hope to see more of Ottawa one day, and more of this beautiful country I live in. PEI, Northwest Territories, and even Nunavut is appealing to me. It’s on the longer bucket list of mine.

So while the year comes to an end, I look back and think of all the positive things that have happened, and reflect on the trying times, and know that I have become a stronger person because of them.

Time to let 2019 go, and head on to 2020 with my eyes wide open, my head on straight, and my dreams even bigger.

Showing love at this special time of year

Christmas is not particularly my favourite time of year – I’ve had some not so great memories of the time, but I have also had some pretty good times too. I have found it has become very commercialized and that it’s all about gifts. Giving is showing love, but the expense of giving has become a bit ridiculous in my eyes. Seriously – what 10 year old needs a brand new iPhone? None.

I was recently reading Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (by Richard Carlson), and one of the chapters strikes me as relevant this time of year.

“Tell 3 people (today) how much you love them”. The beginning of this chapter asks the question “If you had an hour to live and could only make one phone call – who would you call, what would you say, and why are you waiting??”

Christmas, for some, is rather depressing, for many reasons. A lot of people have lost a family member and this is the time that they wish they were still around. Some people simply can’t afford Christmas (this was me as a single mom many years ago – I did without so that I could get my kids something for under the tree – not that I regret one minute of it, but that was just the way it was).

So today, instead of thinking and stressing over the Christmas rush, take a minute to call someone and tell them that you love them. It’s only a minute out of your day – surely we can all take a minute to tell someone we love them.

I hope we all can have a peaceful and loving holiday season, and I hope we can all remember the true meaning of Christmas – whatever that may be for each of us.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, Feliz Navidad, Veselé Vánoce, Joyeux Noël, (I think you get the picture).

Love to all this holiday season. And remember, be kind.

Self check-out counters – yay or nay

Our local grocery stores, most of them, are switching to self check-out counters. While they still have check-outs with cashiers, there are more of the self check-outs in the stores.

Of course, the giant conglomerate, Walmart, has more self check-outs than tellers. Which is to be expected. It’s a big chain all around the world, and there is the pressure for them to be the leaders in changes.

But recently, our local grocery stores have been renovating and adding the counters. At first, I was skeptical of them. I disliked the fact that I had to bag my own groceries (then realized that at most of the stores I shop at, I bag them myself anyway). And are they really faster than a cashier? I have debated back and forth about this.

Yesterday, I realized that in fact I LIKE them ! More than a cashier in fact. And I do not believe for a moment that so many people are losing their jobs because of them. I believe a few may have, but for the most part, I still see the same amount of cashiers and employees milling about the stores.

What changed my mind? Well, I had to make a quick stop in our local Food Basics store on my way to work. As I walked in, I noticed the “express lane – 10 items or less” had at least 8 people standing there. I went to get my items (I knew what I wanted to get and knew exactly where the items were). As I approached the cashiers, some 5 minutes later, the SAME PEOPLE were still standing in line with their items, and no one was using the self check-out lanes. There are 6 self check-out counters. Every one was available. So my thought was – well I could stand in line, and possibly be late for work, or I could zip on through the self check-out and be on my way with lots of time to get to work. Off I went. In a matter of 3 minutes, I had checked them out, bagged and was back in my car ready to go. I spent a total of 8 minutes in the store getting my stuff and paying and heading out. The same people were still standing in the express lane.

So my thinking is – if I only have a few items, YES I am going to use the self check-out. If I have a buggy full of groceries, then I will most likely use a cashier. But for those people making a stand and refusing to use them, who are you helping? You are all standing there, holding each other up, paying for your 10 items or less, and wasting valuable time – time is not forever. I choose to use mine carefully.

Okay, I know not everyone will agree with my thinking, and that’s okay. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, or to perhaps “see the light” that it makes sense (at least to me) to be quick picking up a few things. But maybe, if you think of it as – how much time do I really have in this world to waste it protesting over something that will not change, no matter how much you protest – is it really worth it?

Thoughts to ponder…

Staying positive in a negative world

I believe myself to be a very positive person. I try not to let people or things bring me down. Of course, there are some days that this is not possible, but for the most part, I tend to stay pretty positive things.

That’s not to say that I don’t have bad days. I’ve had a few of those lately, but when I’m feeling down, I look at the 10 habits of positive people, and re-set my mind.

1. Positive people expect their plans to work out

Sometimes our plans don’t work out like we want them to, but I try to make sure mine do. I usually have a Plan B ready just in case Plan A doesn’t work out, and that’s okay too. Having a back up is never a bad thing!

2. Positive people don’t dwell on failure

I used to dwell on my failures a lot – my parenting skills, my financial situation – but I have learned through reading and counselling that it’s not healthy to dwell on it. Learn from the mistakes and don’t make them again!

3. They are always busy doing something useful

Okay so maybe I don’t do this all the time. Surfing the internet doesn’t seem overly useful but then, it is my way of relaxing so perhaps it’s not that bad after all.

4. They don’t wait for change, they create it

Absolutely this is me! I have never been afraid of change, and actually thrive on it. When creating my changes, it makes me happy and even more positive.

5. Positive people learn to let go

This is the hardest one for me. I have learned to let a lot go, but there are still twangs of guilt that come up every now and then that bring me down, sometimes for days. But eventually I do let it go and I realize that other people’s opinions are just that – their opinions. It should not reflect on me. I am still learning this one.

6. They don’t wait for happiness, they create it

This is the same as change – you just need to do what makes you happy. Happiness won’t come to you, you need to make your happiness.

7. Positive people live in the present moment

Definitely do this all the time!! No sense living in the past, it’s done and can’t be fixed. The future is not here yet. Today is. Live for today.

8. They search for solutions

Again, I try to do this as much as I can. As long as I am trying to find that solution, I will be positive because I’m working on it. I am not sitting back and saying oh well it is what it is.

9. Positive people never consider themselves as victims of circumstances

I used to consider myself a victim. Sometimes the best thing to do is talk to someone – a friend, a therapist – it’s not a bad thing to do. And it will make things clearer for you. Taking charge of your life is the best way to become more positive.

10. Positive people take responsibility for their actions and for their life

Don’t play the blame game. It is your life. Take responsibility. Own it. Make it your life. Not someone else’s. Don’t imitate others, thinking that oh well they are happy so I should do that too. If it’s not something YOU really want, then it won’t ever make you happy.

So these are the things that I do, sometimes not every day. I have had a few days lately that I have not been my positive self, but I woke up this morning and thought – what is wrong with me? NOTHING! Nothing is wrong with me. I am allowed to have a bad day every now and then. It’s part of life. Nothing is perfect, but that doesn’t mean I stop being the positive person I am.

I wish you all a very happy and POSITIVE day!

Adventures and long drives!

Today was a good day that started with breakfast with a good friend, and some shopping with her.  It was a lovely way to start the day.

I arrived home to have my parents ask me if I wanted to go to Fort Erie this afternoon for some more shopping and an early dinner. They suggested one of my favourite restaurants to go to, so I said SURE! 

As is usual these days, I got behind the wheel.  My parents got themselves situated and off we went. As we were driving, some regular chatter went on about what we were driving by, I had some back seat driving directed at me (which I politely ignored), and overall a nice drive to the stores we were heading to. 

My mum and I went into the store while my dad stayed in the car.  We went to a few stores, purchased some things (clothing and baking stuff were on my agenda today), and came back to the car.  We got in, headed to the restaurant and enjoyed a lovely dinner of fish and chips.  So far so good!  As I was getting my dad’s walker in the car, I had an inspiration to take them for a drive by the old campground that we camped at for many years.  After a quick discussion, it was decided that yes we would do that.

After about 20 minutes, we came to the road where the campground was. I was immediately asked where I was going. I replied, again politely, that this was the road we camped on.  We drove past it, to see that it was not the same as when we camped.  In fact, it does not resemble the campground at all. Rather disappointing but we had many fond memories there and we regaled them.

I decided I would continue on with the drive – I love driving so any excuse to drive is a good one for me!  We drove along the lake, they told me stories of different places we were passing, and as the time was passing, I realized I had travelled much further than I had planned, and in an area I really wasn’t familiar with.  So my thought was to start heading back towards our town, without really saying anything about not knowing where I was.  But – a ha!! – my father caught on and asked me if I knew where I was.  Good heartedly, I laughed and said of course!

He did not fall for it, and I could see him looking out the window being a bit confused.  He commented that he had no idea where we were and if I knew where I was going. My mother caught my look, and started laughing – with me? At me?  I like to think she was laughing with me – again good heartedly I said sure I do. I am not driving into the lake so I know I’m going in the right direction!   Laughter filled the car.

I got a bit concerned as I continued on, as I honestly had no idea where I was. Not a clue.  There was a sign at one corner and I didn’t recognize the name at all. Except that I had managed to drive into another county – which was not close to home.  So, in my mind, I told myself  – self, turn right at the next big road and hope for the best. So I did.  Another comment was made, asking me what the name of the road was that we were on, I waited for a highway sign, and said the highway number.  Well, Dad wanted to know more about the road, and I said I don’t know but I am pretty sure I’m going in the right direction. My mum looked over and smirked – I swear she was laughing with me but I was beginning to think she was laughing at me.  Ah well, it was okay. I continued driving for what seemed a longer time than it took to get to where we we had been – and then I saw it. A corner I recognized!  I triumphantly said see I knew where I was going all the time!  But they were on to my game – and both laughed.  And I knew then that they were both laughing at me. 

Sometimes you just need to take a guess, pick a road and GO!  You never know where it will take you. Sometimes it will take you exactly where you want to be!