Sunday, 3 February 2013

Climbing That Mountain

A man stands atop a snow-capped mountain.  Oddly enough as his chest rythmically rises and falls with each breath he takes he appears calm.  His eyes are closed adding to the perception on calmness.  When one looks closer a level of wonder begins as it is not common to see someone in this attire on the peak of a mountain.  Dressed more for a casual walk then for mountain climb he is sporting worn running shoes, with a long sleeve athletic shirt and a pair of sport shorts.  The peak of the mountain is actually a fairly flat plateau that is barely large enough for both of the man's feet to take up a place on and it does appear to be covered in a layer of ice and snow.  The visual scene causes one to wonder: just how did this man come to be at the peak of this seemingly treacherous mountain?

Society is by definition "a body of individuals living as members of a community".  As one goes through life it is often difficult to take as much pleasure from the positive things you encounter as it is to take on negativity from the bad things that happen.  In the most simple of terms, worry often comes easier the happy in the emotional spectrum.  How did the man seemingly so ill-equipped find himself on the icy peak of a mountain?  One must focus on what made that man who and what he is.  The mountain symbolizes all of the support he recieved from the members of society who make up the community he is a part of.  I have struggled recently with this concept in that my focus has been placed on the negative things in my life, leaving me little time to celebrate the successes that I and my family have achieved.  If you don't take the time to digest the support you are recieving, then you are not truly gaining what you should gain from the support offered, recieved and benefitted from. 

I have spent too much time recently worrying about money, period.  Do we have enough?  Does anyone ever truly have "enough"?  Why focus on that?  Sheila and I are lucky that we both have jobs that we have had for a number of years.  Through my employer we have solid health and dental benefits.  For that matter, all 4 of the members of our family are healthy people.  Unfortunately, many of my co-workers deal with financial stress as well and I often find that we spend down time at work commiserating with each other.  This is often done in a negative way that doesn't breed optimism but in fact does the opposite.  I don't want or desire to be a foot loose and fancy free type of person because as a responsible adult I know this attitude can be quite toxic.  What I do want is to enjoy and appreciate the things that I have already, rather then focus on acquiring and getting more things.  Stuff can always be done without.  I have read some incredible literature about people doing without and surviving.  Read "Into The Wild" by Jon Krakauer or "The Glass Castle" by Jeanette Walls if you want some insight on this topic.  I am make a concerted effort to enjoy and appreciate what I do have in my life, and to celebrate the successes that I have. 

Things I Should Appreciate:

- I am lucky that a wonderful and caring woman has chosen to spend the last 7 and a half years of her life as my partner.  Sheila is an amazing partner who works tirelessly.  She cares deeply about Jasmine, Asher, myself, her Dad, her sister's and their families, my Mom, Dad, sisters and brother and spends so very little time thinking about herself.  She deserves a lot of the credit for how great our children are. 

-Jasmine Rose Theriault really is an amazing 9 year old girl.  She is an artist, an athlete, an avid reader, a movie connoisseur, an attentive student, a patient and caring big sister, and a really good friend to her peers.  I often find myself being to hard on her and asking her to do too much, forgetting that she is still a little girl.  Dwell on the positives and let her be a kid will be something I strive to do going forward.

-Asher Felix Prosk is pretty cool.  Our time spent together is so much fun and I will credit myself with being able to enjoy our one on one time much more in recent months.  Rather then getting upset when he is fussing or whining I look to change the environment so he becomes happier.  His growing love of hockey has given us opportunity to have lots of fun together.

-Sheila and I have owned our own home for more then 2 years.  The freedom that this provides is something that I often take for granted.  Lots of people never get the opportunity to own their own home and I realize this.  The space that we have has provided each of the kids with their own room, and we have a great rec room area downstairs.  A nice viewing area to watch movies and sports, and a great workout area are something we didn't have the opportunity to have in our basement suites or ground level suites.  Even owning our own yard is a really positive thing.  I was discussing my gardening endeavours the other day with a co-worker when it dawned on me that even this was something lots of people miss out on.

-We have 2 working vehicles that while expensive to maintain and operate are the lifeline to many of the activities that our family enjoys.  Our family loves to swim, Jasmine plays basketball and attends Girl Guides, I go to hockey, we visit friends and family and of course Sheila and I go to work.  Even running errands becomes time consuming and difficult if you are unable to afford a vehicle to carry out the tasks.

-Our extended families are very supportive.  My mom and dad, my sister Paulette, my brother Ian and my sister Erin have been great to our family.  Sheila's family, her dad Bryan, her sister Shelly, her sister Sherry-Ann and their husbands Patrick and James all live close by and we are lucky that they do.  When we were down visiting in Quesnel at Christmas it was really cool to be surrounded by all of my neices and nephews as well as my own children.  I have 3 neices: Taylor who's 8, Cienna who is 5 and Keelee who is 3.  I also have 3 nephews: Bailie who is 4, Ethan who is 3 and Seth who is 2.  With Jasmine and Asher the 8 kids almost have every age covered: 9,8,5,4,3,3,2,2.  They are all lots of fun and I can't wait to see them again at spring break.  I hope I got the ages right, it's tough to keep track. 

Successes in My Life:

- I possess a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from the University of Northern British Columbia

-I have been a soccer coach with PGYSA for 5 years.  I really enjoy the time spent with Jasmine and the other girls and love to be a part of their successes. 

-I have been a basketball coach with PGMBA for 2 years.  While I am not as knowledgeable as I am with soccer, I enjoy motivating the girls and most of all it's another way for Jasmine and I to spend some quality time together.

-As I near the dreaded age of 30 I am in the best shape of my life.  One of the best decisions I ever made was to get a weight bench for the basement ( my brother Ian and I went in on it together).  My renewed passion for exercise also led me back to playing hockey, and the increased stamina I have has made me a better Dad.  Having the energy for skating with the kids, swimming, Strong Start, 3 weight sessions, a hockey game and more in a 4 days span is something I couldn't have done a few years ago. 

-I have been actively writing again for over a year in this very space.  I must thank my sister Erin for encouraging me to take it up again, and I definitely appreciate the positive feedback I have recieved.

-For the last 3 or so years I have been an avid reader.  It's one of those things that you don't realize what you are missing until it is back in your life.  Reading gives my leisure time meaning and I really like that.

I can go on and on here, and that is frankly the point I am trying to make.  I spend much too much of my time thinking and worrying about the negatively things in my life and not enough time thinking about and appreciating the things that I have mentioned above.  Think not of what you don't have but of what you do have and suddenly those things will have more meaning.  All of this negative energy focussing on material things has led me to want to try something a little different.  I want to go an entire week without purchasing anything.  I will have to buy gas for my Explorer, but outside of that, I will attempt to steer clear of consumerism for an entire week.  I don't feel that it will be that difficult as many of the things I have planned already don't have a cost.  My hockey has already been paid for and we have 2 games this week.  Asher and I go to Strong Start on Wednesday's and that is free.  I plan to take the kids sledding either Monday or Tuesday, also a free activity.  I may have to make an exception for swimming, but we go during the discounted time and this costs less than 5 dollars.  I will let you know how it goes, but I want to do this as a way of showing myself and the kids that you can have fun without a cost associated.  I want to get out an enjoy the outdoors a little more and this week would be a great chance to do it.  I will let you know how it goes.  Thanks for the read, I hope this has proven as cathartic for you as it has for me.

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