Category Archives: life

The art of listening

Do you actually listen when someone is talking to you, or do you listen to respond? Or perhaps listen to the beginning and wait until the person is over to tell your own story?

It really is an art to listen just to listen. To hear the person’s words. To recognize the story they are telling. To listen and be empathetic.

I am guilty of not always listening. But for the most part, I believe I’m a good listener. I don’t listen and then jump in right away to tell a story of my own. I try to respond appropriately and with empathy. It’s not always easy and sometimes I get quite distracted with life.

I have encountered many people in my life, and most recently on a weekly basis, people who don’t really listen to what me or others are saying and immediately start talking about their own stuff. There is one person in particular who comes in and takes care of my dad once a week. She just doesn’t listen to listen. I find this frustrating and just separate myself from her. On the plus side, she takes good care of my dad which I am grateful for.

I wonder sometimes that if maybe we all learned to be more empathetic to others that we could make this a better world to live in.

So today – listen. Listen to the words and feelings people are saying. Don’t listen to respond. Just listen. You may learn more than you think.

Being a quinquagenarian

Awwww being a quinquagenarian is exciting.  First of all, finding out that a person my age is called a quinquagenarian is exciting!  For those who don’t know (and probably don’t care), it’s someone who is between the ages of 50 and 59.  You learn something new every day right? 

There are many reasons to be excited for this decade.  You get to experience menopause – you know, the hot flashes, mood swings and all the other fun things that happen to a woman of this age.  Hair on my chin?  Yup, and learning to have tweezers close by for that one just popped out of nowhere on your upper lip.  So much fun.

You also get to experience the thrill of unexpected releases of bodily fumes whilst walking, running, exercising and even when you stand up.  Yeah, farting for no reason – another great thing about being this age.

There are some other fun things about this age.  Waking up and hearing everything creak and crack (and yes that includes more bodily fumes being released).   Having to wear glasses to read anything and watch TV, and even at work now.  Oh joy. 

You’re probably thinking – there has to be SOMETHING that is enjoyable about being this age.  Of course there is! 

At the age of 55 (the age I am slowing creeping up to in less than a year), you get some select senior discounts at different stores and restaurants.  And yes this actually is a good thing, and one that I am looking forward to!!

You also get the satisfaction of saying no to people without having to give a reason for saying no, and feeling empowered at doing this.

As a woman, I love when people ask my age and are always so sweet and kind and lie to me when they say “wow you don’t look that old – I thought you were in your 30’s”.  Thank you sweet old ladies who tell me that to make me feel good.  It really does make me feel good, as I stand behind the counter at Tim Horton’s wearing the god-awful hat and hairnet and knowing that there is no way on earth I look like I am in my 30’s.  I do appreciate the compliments!

I also love that I can state my opinion on things that matter to me, and know that I can stand my ground and state that it is MY opinion and that we are all entitled to our opinion.  It’s neither right nor wrong –it’s just my opinion.  Some people just don’t get that, and that’s not really an age thing.

Today I am relishing the fact that I am a proud quinquagenarian, and if I want to fart while I work out, I can.  If my body creaks and cracks as I get out of bed, that’s fine.  It just means that everything is working itself out and getting me ready to start my day.  Like a car, it needs to warm up and the creaks and cracks help me out with that.

So be proud – creak, crack, fart and do anything else you want to as a quinquagenarian – we have all earned that right!

Carpal Tunnel

It’s been a while since I have blogged – work and personal life has taken its toll on me.

 

I have developed a bad case of carpal tunnel and unfortunately in Canada, it takes quite a while to see a specialist in order to get it taken care of.  While we have universal health care, it takes up to 6 months to get in to see a specialist!  I am looking at April to have the surgery.

 

In the meantime, my work life has become much busier!!  I had hoped to be able to get back to blogging on a weekly basis but by the time I get stuff done for my parents and then work a full 8 hour shift – I am exhausted!  My blogging life has taken a break but I will be back to a more regular schedule soon I hope.

 

My trip to Spain is quickly coming and I cannot wait!!  I will DEFINITELY be blogging about my experience there!

 

My article will be coming out soon and I am excited to have it in print.

 

So life goes on, even when in pain, and things progress.  I hope all is well with everyone out in the blogging world.

 

I “have to” or I “get to”…

I read something very interesting today – it was a remark from someone on Facebook about how they changed their perspective simply by changing one word — “have” to “get”.  It seems so simple – but is it really?

Let’s consider this – I have to go to work today – sounds like something you would probably avoid if you had the chance.  Something daunting.  Unpleasant.

So let’s change the words.  I get to go to work today.  It sounds like it’s a great thing right?  It sounds like you are excited about doing it.  It’s something you are looking forward to doing.

And it was such a simple change — from a 4 letter word to a 3 letter word.  Have to Get.

I could think of my life in a negative way – I have to get up and run errands for my parents.  Sounds negative.  BUT if I change it to – I get to get up and run errands for my parents!  At least to me, it sounds like a pleasant thing to do.

Let’s take it a bit further — I have to blog tonight because it’s been so long since I have. (and yes I did actually think that this morning).  I changed it later today to – I get to blog tonight because I have a night off and can really think about it!  I got excited by simply saying it that way.

It’s amazing that by changing that one word, how much better my day turned out.  I changed the word with many things today (not just about blogging!) and it definitely turned my attitude around.

Try it – you may be surprised at how easy it is!

Perfect Happiness

What is your idea of perfect happiness?  Is it a person, or a place, or maybe even a thing?  Is it the way you feel, or maybe what someone does for you that brings the feeling of perfect happiness?

 

It’s an interesting question, and not an easy one to answer.  There are many things in my life that bring me happiness – my memories of my travels, and my teaching, and my students.  There is a daily happiness, waking up each day knowing that I have my parents for another day.  Waking up knowing that my children are healthy.  Waking up knowing I get to go to a job that I truly enjoy.  Waking up to having a roof over my head and food to eat.  These are every day things that make me happy.

 

But perfect happiness – that’s a tough one to answer.  My life is not perfect – no one has a perfect life.  So is it possible to even have something called perfect happiness?  How can a feeling be perfect, when nothing else is perfect?  That’s what the question really is – what is your idea of perfect happiness?

 

My idea of PERFECT happiness would be, as corny as it sounds, that there would be no angst in the world, we could all live peacefully and happy together as one, there would be the perfect weather every day (no natural disasters) – so I guess my idea of perfect happiness would be living in a world of Utopia.  Not very realistic!

 

I am content with my life – is there something missing that could make me happier?  Perhaps, but that is something I will work on in time.  For now – my life is perfect just the way it is.  Is your’s?

 

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The Perfect Picnic

It’s cold and wintery out – so what better time to think about your perfect picnic!!

My perfect picnic would be:

The sun is bright and the sky is blue.  There is a slight breeze and it is not too hot out.  It is mid-August.  The bees are buzzing and the birds are singing.  There is a feeling of Autumn just around the corner.

 

I head to a lovely green hill, with trees softly blowing in the wind around me.  I have a lovely view of the town from the hill.  I spread my blanket out on the grass and sit down to take in the view and peacefulness.

 

As I reach for my basket, I gently wave away a bee flying by.  From in my picnic basket, I pull out a fresh baguette, purchased from the local bakery.  Then comes some delicious aromatic cheeses from the deli.  Juicy red and green grapes accompany the cheese and bread.  To wash this all down is a bottle of the best sparkling water, with a twist of lemon added to it.  As I slowly eat my feast before me, I relish in the quietness of the day and the warmth of the sun.

 

After I have nourished myself, I bring out the book I have brought, lay down and read for a while.  Perhaps I will have a journal with me so I can write my thoughts of the beautiful day I am enjoying.  Or perhaps I will just lay down on my back, watching the clouds float by, trying to see what the clouds are showing me.  Are they shaped like an animal?  Perhaps a balloon?  Only my imagination will know!

 

As an extra treat, I have brought with me some decadent dark chocolate to enjoy as I hear the children in the town playing at the local swimming pool and at the park.

 

This is the perfect picnic for me.

 

So what is your perfect picnic?  What will you bring with you?  Are you by yourself or with someone?

 

Boycotting stores – who does it help?

I have been working at Tim Horton’s, an iconic Canadian coffee shop, for the past three months.  I love it there – the people I work with are so much fun and while there are off days when one or most of us are grumpy, I wake up every day excited to go to work.

 

At the beginning of this year, the province I live in, Ontario, increased the minimum wage from $11.60 an hour to $14 an hour.  Because of that, some of the franchise owners have made some newsworthy decisions, such as taking away the paid breaks that were provided before and no longer paying for benefits.  To make this clear, the franchise owners I was hired by DID NOT DO THIS!!  However, we are seeing the brunt of these other franchise owners.  People have been talking about (and actually doing this) boycotting Tim Horton’s in general.  We have many people in the store and going through the drive-thru telling us that they will no longer be coming here in protest of what the owners are doing.  I patiently explain that the store I work in is NOT affected by this.   Some people still insist in not coming anymore (yet they are in the drive-thru or in the store, buying a coffee… go figure.

 

I have explained my thoughts on this to many people – boycotting stores are NOT going to help the employees.  By boycotting any business because of unfair treatment of their staff, you are hurting the very people who you claim you are helping.  By boycotting Tim Horton’s, since this is the store I am talking about, sales will go down.  When sales go down, fewer employees are needed to work because of the lack of business.   So less employees means more savings for the company and the employees have LESS WAGES to live on.

 

I know not everyone agrees with my thinking, however, it makes sense.  Fewer customers, less sales, fewer people needed to work.  It is that simple.  So rather than boycotting the company you are angry at, write letters to the head office.  Complain to the head office.  It is NOT the employees who need to be hearing this – we cannot do anything about what the head office or franchise owners are doing.

 

And if you are inclined to continue patronizing Tim Horton’s (and I thank all those who are!), be understanding to the staff.  We are occasionally understaffed and we try our best to give you the fastest service possible.

 

I always treat the customers with a smile and a thank you – I would like to be treated the same way back.  I think that is just general common courtesy –  and how all people should treat each other!