3%

I was sitting in my garage a couple of weeks ago, as I tend to do after doing yard work (or during a great rain storm – one of my favourite things), contemplating some tough experiences I’ve had as of late. I saw my neighbour across the street, Ricardo drive past and wave as he proceeded to park in his driveway.

A bit of history… I’ve known Ricardo since moving in to my home a couple of years ago as a single Mom. Middle age, english isn’t his first language, lives with his partner and blended family. He’s self employed as a General Contractor so acquiring his skills with a few “handy man” jobs has been a wonderful asset having him so close by. He is always wearing a smile, offering to lend a hand or offering a kind word. He was open about being part of Alcoholics Anonymous, but more so, his accountability and sincere regret for how it effected not just his own life, but the lives of the ones who love him. Being a daughter of a (30yr sober) Alcoholic/long time member of AA, Dad, Ricardo’s candid, vulnerable honesty proved such a strong reflection to his character, also allowed me some insight and validation I never knew I needed. I’ve literally never heard him utter a single negative word about anyone.

So, on this day… I was feeling pretty deflated and down truth be told. I hear a voice from a short distance calling “hello my friend”… Ricardo appeared from the front of my vehicle, walking towards me with a smile. We spoke our pleasantries and he shared a bit insight to a few issues and snuggles he’s experiencing being a Dad, expressing heartfelt emotion of the difficulties that can surface surrounding watching children grow into their own, becoming young adults (a topic I can relate to as most parents can). I allowed him the floor, so to speak, to vent away as he so wished. He looked at me in silence for a couple of seconds – he then shared that in Dec. 2018, he was diagnosed with incurable, end stage prostate cancer. He put off the signs and symptoms and when he had no choice but to see his Dr. the results came back as they did. There’s no treatment or surgery, he’s being monitored and will be provided with management as the disease progresses, ” I was given 3% survival as my prognosis”. I sat beside him, with an expression I can only imagine was complete shock – I couldn’t even process emotion as I was so completely caught off guard. He said he was still working, but knows he can’t for much longer, he’s staying positive and motivated, pushing himself to get up even on the physically challenging days and chose to not share his news with his family until after New Years Eve 2019 as he wanted what could be his last Christmas with them, to be happy, joyous memories…. again – felt like I had been hit in the stomach with a bat at his complete strength and selflessness. “3% , thats what I’ve been given, to make the most of until I’m no longer able. I hold on to hope, love and my will – thats all I choose to do”. His youngest daughter walked across the street following this – so the tone had to change, we said goodbye… those are the only words I was able to provide him, “goodbye”.

2 weeks had passed since I had seen him outside. I had become almost haunted by the guilt that I hadn’t reached out, walked over, expressed not only concern and to offer support, but to let him know how deeply his words effected me that day. FINALLY, last week I was out watering the gardens one night, “Hello my friend”, carries through the night air in my direction – Ricardo. I see him turning the corner on my walkway wearing as always, a big smile. His first words “I haven’t seen you outside much these days, your truck seldom moves and I have the feeling something isn’t ok in your world, I hope I’m wrong”…. Seriously? He came to check in on me? After all he shared, and heard nothing from me following… My eyes welled up, fighting hard not to allow emotion to take over so I could get the words out, I shared some brief insight into my current situation, his faced dropped and tears appeared in his eyes, I stopped him with; “BUT”… and immediately went on to how he, being so open, vulnerable, honest and positive quite literally ignited something so powerful within me that day in the garage. How truly sorry I was & that I didn’t know how to reach out, as feared possibly triggering upset on a day that may have been a happy one, how evey day following I’ve thought about him & his family, how much I admire him, not just as a person, but as a partner to his spouce, dad and friend. How much strength and courage I take from just knowing him, and how our friendship makes me see things so differently and continues my efforts to continosly become a better, stronger vesion of me. I told him he is a Warrior of Courage and Kindness – that touches all lives lucky enough to meet him – and the upset and worry that I may not have ever had the chance to express these things to him – as I hadn’t seen him to be able to share. Needless to say, the encounter resulted in tears and a long tight hug, he leaned back and expressed “You have NO IDEA how much I needed to hear this today, thank you”. He thanked me??? Literally he changed my entire perspective that one day in the garage, he allowed me a life line I desperately needed at that exact moment – without havng a single idea I was strugglng… but he thanked me?…. once again, leaving me so humbled and blessed to know him.

My point here is this… we aren’t given a warranty, for some of us, our time may be up completely unexpected by simply being victims of circumstance. Here is one Man, given a medical hourglass with the sands filled to 3% – and he is choosing to make 100% out of that 3%. Please, don’t wait to “say” all you want to say, express your love, express how much someone means to you, how they’ve affected your life, allow those you may have wronged the apology they deserve, those who’ve inspired you, possibly from afar, in so many cases, they would have no idea. Don’t wait. Push passed possible pride and fear to make the effort. Regret and guilt are horrible, painful prisons we place ourselves in. Crush the “bars” and own your truth. Don’t save these words and actions for a possible podium at a memorial or worse, never allowing them out. SAY whats in your heart, and ALWAYS, please, let vulnerability, empathy & mostly, kindness, win. It may, just be the lifeline another needs. Proof again, that EVERYONE has a story we know nothing about.

Why New Year Resolutions make me Cringe.

Now don’t get me wrong, I feed off of positive energy, goals and aspirations to better ones self, but year after year, almost like herds of cattle, we take our New Year ticket and walk through the daunting gate, expressing to all ” My New Year Resolution this year is…..”.

Resolutions/Hope’s for the year are fabulous, however, goals, are ideas that are put into action, one actually must do the work achieve the wished result. ( for instance, I think tonight, I’ll have one extra glass of wine – now THIS, I could realistically accomplish, if all else were as easy) .

You know when you go to Weddings and Funerals… see people you rarely if ever see and it so often result’s with feeling’s expressed “OMG, its so great to see you, lets promise to spend more time together, lets connect soon and make it happen”.? The encounter likely sparked emotion and truly genuine intent to make the conscious effort to in fact, see them again – at that moment it was completely sincere and expressed with the purest intentions to follow through. The reality is however – if they weren’t a regular part of your life prior, unless you make the change and the effort following the run in, they were just words. Not going to happen.

Resolutions feel the same to me. Statements made at the time, during the moment “YES, I can totally do this, I’m going from 0 – 100 and changing everything that’s a current habit in my life a complete 180.. I GOT THIS, THIS year I’m totally going to nail this”. As its been said “been there, done that, bought the t-shirt and watched the friggin’ movie”… Bottom line, these resolution’s aren’t attainable, leaving the feeling of failure, guilt and remorse, and WHY? Why do we set these unrealistic goals for ourselve’s, a bar that we can’t possibly reach. Why not forget the “bar”, instead of running before we learn to walk, become a strong crawler?

Baby steps. We attract what we put out into the world, I believe this with every fibre of my being… Take weight loss for instance as retail come January 1 are PACKED with getting fit gear, protein shakes and gyms saturate the media luring our vulnerable resolution mindset, so, instead of focusing on the scale, a # and date to achieve it, why to focus energy on living a healthier lifestyle i.e.: DECIDE TODAY, I am going to drink at least one tall glass of water with lemon. DECIDE tomorrow, I’m going to run up the stairs not once but 2 times instead of walk. DECIDE the day after, no snacking after 7pm. Suddenly, before we know it, these subtle ACHIEVABLE goals have been met because we changed our routine, which changed our mindset and the result – created a new habit.

I wish we all have the very best year to date in our lives, personally am thrilled to finally lay 2018 to rest, my hope is, we are gentler with ourselves, we don’t expect more from ourselves than we can realistically achieve because to me, this is self sabotage and that’s not a motivating way to begin a fresh new chapter. Minute by minute, being present in the moment, focussing energy on what we can control, which is RIGHT NOW, not 6 months from now. Learn from the past but not looking back, take lessons learned forward with you. Live for today and look towards tomorrow with enthusiasm because if you can dream it, you CAN DO IT!!!! ps. It takes zero effort to smile at a stranger (but not in a creepy stalker way), a small thing, but could literally be the best part of someone else’s day – #bekind. And Happy New Year to you all. xo

Back to Basics – the freedom of purging

#lessismore

With 2019 approaching quickly, as do the the lists of resolutions. Why do we set ourselves up to fail? Goals are fabulous (dreams put into actions). But keeping them achievable and realistic are extremely important. I struggle with nightly “tomorrow I’m doing ….” almost daily. I tend to have loads of energy and great intentions late at night, then the morning comes, I find any and every excuse to procrastinate, setting myself up to fail constantly. It begins to weigh heavily. I’ve been asked to assist with a friend’s closet purge. She’s overwhelmed and doesn’t know how or where to begin. I assured her and can say with confidence, this isn’t a rare or unique issue. I expressed it will be difficult and tough love will be assisting me, she wishes to proceed. Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned (still attempting to master myself so I practice what I preach). Hope you find them helpful.

  1. BABY STEPS…. don’t look at the entire house and decide you’re going to organize it/clean it. Its WAY too overwhelming and you’ll end up sitting on the couch Netflix binge watching, beating yourself up between episodes on why you’re not tackling the dust collecting upon the piles you promised yourself you’d rid of. Its a vicious circle. Instead of the WHOLE HOUSE.. decide to tackle one small space at a time. A “junk drawer”, a bathroom cabinet, under the kitchen sink, or even yes, the Master Bedroom Closet. ONE space at a time, if you achieve it quickly, move on to the next space. TRUST me… you will be so in love with the tiniest of spaces purged and organized. Its quite motivating.
  2. TOSS, DONATE, SELL… three main rules for any purge project, even for one drawer. Keep whats essential, make the hard choice to “file” the rest. Keep ONLY what you’ve used in the last year. If its special or an heirloom, create another “rule” and store it away in the basement. Let’s focus on the Master Closet,… If you haven’t worn it in a year… doesn’t fit, price tags still on or not… BYE BYE. Having something in your closet in the HOPES that ONE DAY you’ll fit into it… just don’t. If you achieve a goal to get healthy and in the interim, drop a few sizes, reward yourself with something new. Keeping pieces that don’t fit weigh heavily, cause self esteem issues and take up valuable space in the closet. Anything ripped or stained, toss, things salvageable, donate, valuable items, excellent condition, loads of consignment shops or Kijiji/Ebay are great tools to use too.
  3. Basics, my fail safe basics tend to always be blacks, greys, whites and denim (French Capsule Wardrobe- by definition). Monochromatic is my happy place. Try to limit yourself to 5 of each in the closet – blouses, sweaters, dresses, skirts, slacks, jeans, blazers (not shoes – that’s barbaric).
  4. Invest In; A huge stack of thin velvet hangers, 5 wooden hangers for jackets, 5, 5 piece metal clip hangers for skirts, slacks and denim/leggings. Stick to the same colour hangers for a clean looking space, mine tend to be black (my go to). 3 Bins for top of closet shelf.. all the same, great for storing belts, scarves, clutches, whatever you like keeping the shelf looking like a “staged” space, and one you’ll love opening to view your easy accessible, easy to find pieces.
  5. Large Closet Mirror , (or in my case, the HUGE one that leans against the wall with a thick black wooden frame purchased from Ikea, but Homesence has loads of these too). PERFECT to use as a dressing mirror to get a full top to bottom view of your outfit before you leave.
  6. The Dresser … PLEASE, for the love of god… old stained ripped “unmentionables” – THROW OUT… I have always believed that no woman could possibly feel empowered without pretty matching bra & panties. Every woman should own at least 5 good t-shirt bras, black, beige and white, 2 strapless, 2 sports bras & 2 sets of nipple covers (if you can wear depending on size) and at least 7 pr of clean / no line panties. Treat yourself to a bra fitting, if you’ve never been – your “girls” and your back will thank me. The majority of the female population is wearing the wrong size bra – so sad for the ta-tahs… gravity is NOT their friend. My Mom finally took my advice – she always wore a 38 C… she was actually a 34 D. Immediate “boob” lift and appeared 10lbs lighter… Enough said.

Hope these little tips and tricks help bring your boudoir closet back to its full potential and a space that feels like a sanctuary, not a self created torture chamber of despair and sadness. Remember having less “quality” items that you will actually wear, is more, than a room jammed full of clothes, bags, shoes and various piles of “what-evers” that you don’t use.

Things I Wish I Knew Then, But Didn’t My Top 10

  1. Less is more! All the clutter – used to be money. Do you really need it or is it just filing a void with temporary happiness.
  2. Quality over quantity. Invest in quality, in all aspects – fashion, vehicles and relationships.
  3. Masturbation isn’t “dirty”, explore your body, buy the vibrator, know your curves and learn what it takes to make yourself feel good – don’t wait for a partner much later in life before finally experiencing the BIG “O M G” (trust me on this… and you’re welcome!).
  4. The 24/hr rule. Learn the art of restraint. NEVER fire back a text or email when (over) emotional.. EVER. This advice would have saved me decades of horrible anxiety and needless drama. Breathe, walk away, broach it the next day with a clear head. The person on the other end of the keyboard is primed and anticipating your immediate reply… let them sweat it out.
  5. You teach people how to treat you. Enough said.
  6. BE YOU. Two little words that provide HUGE results. If you’re true to yourself and focus on the things that literally drive your soul, you will attract people that think you’re magical – you’ll be SO much happier living authentically. The ones that don’t see your value – thats ok – these aren’t your people.
  7. WAKE UP, STAND UP, DRESS UP – this motivation is huge. Its way too easy to hide under the cozy sheets, they pull you in like quick sand. Make yourself get out of bed, washed & dressed… its an immediate energy bolt.
  8. Change is scary.. but regret is like dying by a thousand cuts. If you’ve done the work and exhausted all efforts, accept & let it go. The job, the relationship,whatever. It will be worth it. Don’t look back, you’ll just trip over past mistakes and slow down your progress.
  9. By the shoes, the dress, eat the cake…. these are expressions about savouring the beauty in life. If you can’t afford it – don’t buy it. If you eat the cake – own that the “drier” shrunk your clothes again. Think of the bigger goal instead of the immediate payoff. If you’ll be left feeling regret… its just not worth it.
  10. BEFORE YOU SAY IT – is it true/factual, is it useful, is it kind. Speak your mind if you’re wronged, offer advice only when asked, and don’t engage on social media feeds where negativity from “keyboard courage” could result. You’ll get yourself all fired up – AND look like an a$$hole on a public forum – trust me.. you will. THINK before SPEAKING. In most cases, saying nothing has the greatest impact.