Tag Archives: 2016

2016 – The Year That Was

What an interesting year 2016 was! I’m hoping I can keep the momentum going in 2017.  One of the promises I made for 2016 was to try something new at least once a month. I wanted to get out of my box, and learn to enjoy life more.

Theatre

That decision led me to re-discover community theatre. I’ve been to small theatres from Newmarket to Whitby and witnessed an amazing amount of talent. This is definitely something I’m going to continue doing. Two coworkers of mine have been involved in community theatre – acting and directing – and I’ve enjoyed watching them perform and supporting their efforts. To anyone who has not been to a community theatre lately, check it out. Here are some of the community theatres I attended:

I also had the privilege of taking my daughter to see the musical Kinky Boots at the Royal Alex theatre in Toronto. The evening was made more magical because I got to spend time with my beautiful daughter!

Local Events

I went to a wine tasting this year put on by Fellini Fine Wines (http://fellinifinewines.com/) and joined in with Music Bingo and trivia nights at our local Boston Pizza. I also attended a butter tart festival in Midland, Ontario with a couple of other ladies. What a fun day that was! Ribfest and the Tragically Hip concert at the ROC (http://tinyurl.com/GeorginaROC), a new farmer’s market at the Link in Sutton, and the Sutton Fair, helped to keep my weekends busy. I even attended a drumming circle at De LaSalle Hall which was an amazing way to spend a relaxing afternoon, drumming while looking out at beautiful Lake Simcoe. I found out about that through Meetup. And who can forget the Grate Groan Up Spelling Bee that our library puts on!

Music

My brother in law told me about a concert series called Classic Albums Live (www.classicalbumslive.com) – this is so much more than just tribute bands, it’s the world’s greatest classic rock albums live on state. Note for note. Cut for cut. All I can say is it’s absolutely amazing. I listened to The Band’s Last Waltz at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts in October, and I’ll be going to watch a rendition of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, in February.

Relaxation

I also took up colouring in 2016. I now have many adult colouring books and a few sets of pencils/markers and it’s so Zen-like to just chill and colour – on planes, on my deck, with a group of friends.

Something Completely Different

I started doing some reviews of products on Amazon and that’s been really cool. I now have some really cool tech things and a bunch of junk I’m glad I didn’t have to pay for. Many of my friends benefitted from my free products as well, and I’ll be looking to get rid of more stuff as I “ease” myself out of this type of activity. Let’s face it; after awhile it starts to seem a lot like work with stress and deadlines, etc. The only really good thing that came out of this was my introduction to Android boxes. Because I was able to get some at a discount, I was motivated to become a bit of an expert in configuring these boxes, and loading them. When I realized what was involved, I also realized that many local sellers are taking advantage of people by charging $150+ for these boxes. Many of my friends have been able to get a much more affordable streaming TV box and I’ve helped some of them to become more knowledgeable and self-sufficient.

Not everything in 2016 was great though.

Family

My daughter moved away to British Columbia. She found love with an amazing guy and while my heart breaks with the loss, I am comforted by the fact that she is happy and working towards building a future and a family with Mike. I got to know him a bit more over Christmas, and he’s really nice. We had a going away party for her, and we were so blessed by family who cared enough to come and send her off with their best wishes.

Volunteering

One of the volunteer boards I was on actually voted me off. Yeah I know, it’s kind of hard to believe. I won’t name them, but their reason for voting me off (officially anyway) was that I was disrespectful to other board members. I guess that’s how they interpreted my requests to see their bylaws, to expect transparency and professionalism. I pointed out where they had deviated from standard board governance, and even found a couple of experts in board governance who would have volunteered their time to help them become a better board. Suffice to say there was some stuff going on that I didn’t think was very kosher, but they obviously didn’t care. So, after advocating publicly for this organization for almost two years, and raising money for them, etc. I was summarily dismissed for being disrespectful by asking too many questions. Questions such as “could I see the motion that approved that expenditure?” or “can you show me the bylaw that says you can do that without board approval?” I’m well out of there (obviously) and moving on.

My involvement with our local library board has been so fulfilling. It was the reality check I needed this year – a very professional, well-run board led by the Chair, Paul Nicholls. I’ve learned so much from his example and will even repeat a quote from him – good governance and inclusion are like tattoos – they get under your skin and last a lifetime. On the Library Board, I’ve attended SOLS (Southern Ontario Library Service) meetings and shared ideas with other library board members from other libraries. I’ve learned more about fundraising, advocacy, and grants. Through the Ontario Library Association (OLA) website, I’ve been able to take their course Leadership by Design on board governance and succession planning. Because that’s how good boards do things; they educate their board members to be better.

Education

Continuing education is always a good thing, and I’ve taken courses in other areas as well. I’ve become a huge fan of MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses) and over the past year I took courses on Linux through EdX (www.edx.org) and Teaching Adult Learners through Open2Study (www.open2study.com). The latter one was a bit of a refresher as some of my friends will remember when I was a systems trainer in the past. For fun, I took a course wine making at Udemy (www.udemy.com) which was interesting, but no wine at the end (insert disappointed face here).

Travel

On the travel front, I went to Cuba in October with a couple of ladies and learned a few things – travelling in groups of three never works unless you’ve all known each other a long time. Cuba was nice though and just the break I needed.

I spent Christmas in Langley, British Columbia, where my daughter and her beau played tour guide and showed me around Stanley Park, the helicopter hanger where Mike worked, and a bit of the surrounding area in the lower mainland. I am already planning to go back when the weather is nicer and I will split my time between the mainland and Victoria, where I can visit my sister Catherine. It’s been too long.

Toastmasters

I’ve kept busy in Toastmasters as well. I’m currently the President of my local community club Simcoe Shores Toastmasters (www.simcoeshores.ca) and I`m honoured to be working with a group of fantastic people on the executive. We’ve moved the club out of the church basement into a brighter, cleaner location which, although not very large, is a lovely place to meet. My corporate club, PoSITively Speaking Toastmasters (http://tinyurl.com/PositivelySpeaking) has opened up to outside members and also has an amazing executive. The highlight this year has been the chartering of an online advanced club, Great White North Online toastmasters (http://tinyurl.com/GWNOTM) under the leadership of our visionary leader, Susan Ellsworth.

Gratitude

I was honoured to have a childhood friend, Sue Holbrow, visit and stay a couple of days with me during the summer. Thank you to those who kept me healthy and relatively happy – a fantastic Naturopath, Ashleigh Higgins (http://www.ashleighhigginsnd.com/), a great dentist and staff at Cook’s Bay Dental (http://cooksbaydental.com/), and my physiotherapy (http://www.kesact.com/). I’m a tough client and hard to please, but you’ve all impressed me and I recommend each of you often. It’s been a whirlwind of a year but I feel like I’m forgetting something. If you remember sharing an activity with me, leave a comment and jog my memory.

Thank you to everyone who added to the rich fabric of my life in 2016, family as well as old friends and new friends. I treasure each and every one of you and look forward to making more memories and having more adventures and new experiences in 2017.

2016 – The Year of Living

new-year-resolution-c-carouselHappy New Year 2016!

I’m not a fan of resolutions, as I think they set us up for disappointment and self-loathing. Setting a resolution tends to make us over-critical of ourselves, as if somehow we aren’t good enough just as we are. Sure, we can all get healthier, lose weight, quit smoking, etc., but those are things we should be doing all the time anyway without needed to start self-hating. At the end of the year we can look back on everything we didn’t accomplish and feel even worse about ourselves. Resolutions are not necessary or healthy. For example, I quit smoking a few years ago and I didn’t make a resolution to do it. I just did it.hobbes

What I’d like to do is set loftier goals. What are loftier goals you ask? Good question. I am going to aspire to be a nicer person, and a happier person. I’m going to set some realistic goals for myself that are based more on personality development, and then on the first of every month, I’ll revisit my goals. I can pat myself on the back for the ones that I am actually doing, I can re-commit to some others by re-thinking how to achieve the goal, or I can completely discard the goal if I don’t think it’s realistic, or if my interests have changed. No long-term commitment – this is like a month-to-month lease.

I want to be more conscious of what I’m buying and eating, and I’m not talking diet. My purpose is to buy Canadian products whenever and wherever possible and share my Canadian finds with as many people as I can. I think this is a good way to raise awareness of where our products are grown, produced, manufactured, etc. and might have a positive influence on Canadian jobs. If I can’t find a Canadian product (for example, pineapples don’t grow in Canada), I’ll look for products from the USA.

foot in mouthI also want to be a more positive and less critical person. My purpose is to try to elevate my moods by spreading kindness around. Some people do this by paying it forward at a coffee shop drive through. I don’t use drive throughs though (I actually think they’re the best example of laziness and disregard for our air quality), so I’ll do it by trying to say something nice about most people I meet. I’ll try for three a day. It might be to compliment someone on their appearance, or thank them sincerely for good service, etc. I’ll smile more too – smiling is infectious. Before I make a comment, I will try to ask myself, “Is it helpful?” “Is it supportive?” “Is it necessary?” I’m going to try to be more patient and remember the golden rule – if I can’t say something nice, say nothing at all. Not terribly hopeful on that last part, but I’ll re-evaluate how realistic it is after a month.

I want to disconnect from a lot of social media as well. The town I live in has several Facebook pages, and so many of the comments on them can be very negative. I have a tendency to try and correct misinformation, but I now realize that ignorance truly is bliss for most people. A friend recently pointed out to me that most successful people aren’t on Facebook very much and I realize that’s true. It’s also true that the people who are on Facebook most of the time, don’t have much else going on in their lives. Please don’t let that be me!

I’m going to put a limit on my Facebook activities and even leave some of the groups that I’m a part of because of the negativity. All town information will be on a need to know basis and I don’t need to know about other people’s negativity and close-mindedness. It just makes me lose faith in society. Along those same lines, I’m going to learn to walk away or set boundaries with negative people or people who consistently upset me. I don’t know if they do it deliberately or if it’s just how I’m perceiving it, but whatever the reason, I will no longer accept that negativity in my life. It’s bad for my chakra*.

Since I’ll be disconnecting from Facebook more, I’d like to devote some time each week to writing. I find writing elevates my mood, and allows me to connect with my inner spirit. I’ve already started writing more with this blog and by joining a writing group, so I’m well on my way! I’m also going to spend some time each week reading. I find I’ve been spending more time reading news lately and not recreational reading. I have a list of books I’d like to check out – some e-books and some physical books, but reading a novel for even for 15 minutes a day will be relaxing for me.

And here’s a weird one – I’d like to watch more television shows/movies. This is something I’ve stopped doing over the past year and like reading and writing, it’s a way for me to relax. I’m not going to expect to watch television every evening or go to the movies every week, but I’d like to go to the movies at least every two months if there’s something worth seeing, and watch recreational television for at least an hour or so a week.

I’d like to try something new at least once a month. It might be colouring, a drum circle, wine-tasting, bus trips, whatever – just something to get me out of my stale routine and keep life interesting. If I hear that friends are going to be doing something different, I’m going to speak up and ask if I can join them. I’ve met some really nice, positive people over the past few months by doing this, and it’s definitely a positive thing. I’d like to try yoga and meditation for example. Maybe I can find a friend who would be interested in these things as well. I’d also like to go to Toronto on a Friday evening for storytelling. I used to go years ago and really enjoyed it, so I’d like to do it again and maybe introduce some friends to it.

When I get stuck in a rut, I start to become afraid of change. I need to get out of my comfort zone and stretch my wings a bit. Life’s too short just to go through the motions and soon I’ll be another year older. I’m now at the age where I never know how much time I have left. Time to learn to live.

So here’s a summary of my list of goals:Growing

  • Buy and promote Canadian products (because this is important to me)
  • Say something nice to 3 people a day
  • Be less critical and impatient
  • Avoid negative people
  • Limit interactions on Facebook
  • Make time to write
  • Make time to read (aim for 15 mins a day)
  • Make time to watch TV (aim for an hour a week)
  • Go to the movies at least once every 2 months
  • Try to do something new or different at least once a month
  • Try yoga and meditation
  • Re-visit the goals on the first of every month

Welcome to 2016 – I’m looking forward to the journey!

*This is the first time I’ve used the word “chakra”. It just felt right. I looked it up after I used it and it definitely is the word I wanted to use.