Things Can Only Get Better…Can’t They?

As we usher 2021 out the door (or perhaps kick it, depending on the kind of year you’ve had), we can only hope 2022 brings us something to smile about.  Hope is all we have really. The hot topics of the year – politics and vaccines – have created a divided world in many of our lives. Not me so much as I feel like most people I know are like-minded but overall we really need to share a common goal. And that’s ridding ourselves of having to learn more of the Greek alphabet. It’s been a crazy year (few years) but every day there should be something to smile about and be grateful for. This year I actually completed my ‘Happiness Jar’. It’s my 3rd attempt at writing down ONE good thing that happened every day and putting it in a jar to read at the end of the year. Tonight is the night! I admit I didn’t submit my little paper ‘every’ day, but for the most part, I would remember to sit down and scratch out my positive experience for a lot of the days. If this life is getting you down, try it for 2022. It’s nothing more than a reminder that amidst the chaos, there is opportunity, good times, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, a pretty drive somewhere, a funny moment, a cherished experience. Not travelling outside the province was a notable hole these last two years, but Ontario is a beautiful place! “Yours to Discover” our licence plates say. And that we did. Just being able to come ‘home’ was another notable blessing. Working in this crazy real estate market has allowed me to see how grateful I am to not have to out there looking for a place I can’t afford, like many young couples/singles/families these days, who are either leaving the city or coming to the sad realization they may never own their own home. Things suck for a lot of us, but our minds are an amazing tool. It takes practice, but moving our thoughts out of ‘everything sucks’ to ‘everything is pretty damned good’ is my goal for 2022. What’s yours? Whatever it is, I wish everyone a healthy and happy year ahead.

Everything’s Gonna Be All Right

Today’s the day that Ontario marks its ‘soft’ opening of restaurant patios, retail stores and other parts of our lives that have been, for the most part, ‘closed’ since March 2020. Hallelujahs rang out at midnight last night, although I was in bed. The days of waiting in line for anything were short (I think I stopped lining up for things in my early 20s) but that’s not to say there isn’t cause for celebration! To me it’s more that the world is becoming a safer place. That’s more of a cause to exhale than the fact we can shop, gather in bars and restaurant patios; although that’s great too, especially for the owners and staff. Maybe I’m showing my age; after all, I did have my second covid birthday last month, and damn it was a good one. All outdoors of course, and despite the restricted access to friend’s homes and gathering, we made it happen. The best gift was  vaccination #2, a veritable stamp on the passport of life. Yeeha! It is indeed a time to rejoice and once again feel free. Spring has sprung, the flowers have burst open and the temps are far more agreeable for hanging outside, walking the dog, communing and of course, playing golf. Covid hasn’t affected my life like it has others, as I don’t have kids, work a 9-5/shift or essential worker job, have to care for a senior parent or suffer financial insecurity – feeling very lucky/grateful for that – but I can feel the collective relief and joy in the air. What a crazy time we’ve all lived through. Here’s to lots of hugging, gathering, working, playing and general good times this coming summer.READ MORE

The Road(s) Less Travelled

When you’ve been pretty much under some kind of lockdown, it’s hard to get any reprieve from Groundhog Day Syndrome, but occasionally, to quote from the lyrics of that great 1969 theatrical gem, Sweet Charity, ‘I’m gonna get up, I’m gonna get out, I’m gonna get up, get out and do it!’, some days we just need to be under a different sky. Having the privilege to do so, Dre and I would just spontaneously ‘get out and do it’. On the days I wasn’t working, I’d play that game, ‘Where should we go today?’ like we used to as kids, spinning the globe, and wondering how we would get to Africa. But instead of a globe, it was a google map of Ontario. We ended up in places like Stoney Hollow trail outside of Waterdown, where after 1.5 hours in the car, realized the trail I wanted to take us on was pure ice, and had to abandon the adventure, or in a place we’d never ventured to but still in Toronto, like the beautiful Jack Darling Park and Rattray Marsh. Who knew such places existed? Not me. One day we even ventured down to Niagara Falls, only to realize I’d booked our hotel in Niagara Falls ‘NY’ and found myself at the side of the road at 5pm wondering where I’d find a pet friendly hotel on the Ontario side. That adventure deserves a blog unto its own, but for now, let’s just say the trip was a memorable one! We even ventured to a place that hasn’t officially been open for years, but was a beautiful alternative to the parks and beaches we went to every day – complete with trails; Ontario Place. I think if we hadn’t done any of this, the spiral downwards may have accelerated. Up until recently the weather was pretty sketchy and unpredictable, and the current gov’t and situation with covid, has left us never knowing if we’re going to be free or shut-ins again – for over a year now. I have to thank my dog Dre and the few friends I see outside of these four walls, for keeping me sane, but if you need to spice things up or just plain get under a different sky, no matter how hard it may be, just ‘Get up, get out and do it!’ Whatever ‘it’ is. It’s been a lifesaver for me.

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The Year of Living Dangerously

With two days of 2020 left, I’m sure we are all letting out a collective sigh. A friend wrote in her Christmas card to me this year, ‘The Lost Year’. That pretty much sums it up. While some of us were lucky enough to have a roof over our heads, food on the table, the companionship of a family, partner or animal, many weren’t. We read about them, heard about them, maybe even knew a few people with Covid 19 who survived, got better and moved on. I knew three people. That’s a lot for a virus that seemed, for the most part, a distant menace to me. I don’t have parents anymore, and didn’t have to see or suffer the ravages of our long term care facilities, or visit a lonely parent by a wave through a window. I’m sure that would’ve taken its toll as it did on many. I knew three people who lost their parent/s to covid and were not able to see them in their last weeks of life. The sadness and loss this year has brought to so many is incalculable. Again, I feel extremely lucky. I don’t have my own family, but I bubbled with a few good friends, saw my dog peeps every morning at the park, got to sleep next to my furry daughter, (who brought so much comfort and warmth at the end of the day), was able to work this year fairly isolated (as a realtor there is little contact with crowds), while thousands in minimum wage jobs struggled every day not to get infected, and got to play my favorite sport, golf, up until recently, which was one of the few ‘covid-approved’ sports. It’s dumb luck that I live in Canada, and not the US, which is raging with dissent and fear and hatred, while we got CERB and healthcare for all. As this year closes, it isn’t without the losses I haven’t experienced (higher rates of domestic violence, loss of work, businesses, homes and loved ones) but it did have its upsides; the air is cleaner, animals are gathering where hordes of tourists drove them away, people are finding meaning in simpler things instead of consuming, and families are coming together under one roof as many people work from home. Whatever 2021 brings, we will be a wiser race, and hopefully will start to realize that we cannot infringe on or take advantage of nature without consequence. That never ends well. Perhaps a renewed respect for our planet and all things on it, and less concern for ego-sized leaders running amok who create a hell on earth for most people, will be our future. Here’s hoping. Until then, stay safe, wear a mask, wash your hands.

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