If you want a “geo/gis” related post, I’m sorry but you won’t find it in this message as I felt like writing a short, more personal message just to mix things up a little… sorry for getting off topic but occasionally its nice to connect on a personal level. It’s about 8:30 AM my time (here in NOCO) and I’ve been up for hours, having already walked both dogs (being the “GeoGeek that I am I did GPS track one walk) and shoveled the back walkway which the HOA seems to have forgotten about. For myself, this has been a tough year (a tough couple of years actually) as it has for many people around us. We all have to work twice as hard and twice as smart for the same return it seems, business practices are changing, and I’m sure loads of us prefer to tune out the news and daily reminders of the rough economic times and seemingly endless social and economic woes. I guess it worries me somewhat that the holiday season is upon us, a time of the year that can be very rough and depressing for many people for many reasons.
I won’t go too far into personal details as to the challenges I’ve faced the past couple of years, lets just say it’s likely similar to what many of you or people you know have been dealing with – dealing with the housing market fluctuations, health issues and the health care system, immigration pains (being a CDN in the USA has its challenges, believe me) family matters, and the daily challenges associated with running a small business and constantly innovating to stay ahead of things. Hell, several years ago I had to sell a house on short notice (get it sold in 2 weeks), move family 4000 miles over International borders, start a new business, deal with tax issues, save to buy a house in a new town, etc… indeed it was a challenge. But I guess, if anything, those challenging times have defined who am and what I’m capable of. It’s also forced me to evaluate my relationships and look hard and long at what really matters in life. Looking back to 5 years ago, those were indeed tough times and seemingly impossible to get through at the time… who would have thought that I would blast through those days, only to have face even tougher challenges once I was back with my feet on the ground.
I think a defining moment for me was early last year when I was fortunate enough to come out of an emergency brain surgery operation (note: if you ever fall or have a concussion then experience lingering head-aches GO GET LOOKED AT), only to be consumed with concern about how my family would be affected by the financial strain of us having to deal with such an ordeal without having health insurance. Looking back, I should have been concerned more about my family, myself, the countless friends who offered help and support (and prayer) and the pure joy of just being around to see another day… indeed things always seem to work out and these challenges only make us stronger and define who we are.
What really sticks with me after that particular ordeal was one day when I was lying in bed, blackened with bruises, tubes hanging from my head, etc… and I was very upset and seemingly consumed with worry about some of the other people surrounding me that were in far worse situations… it actually made me feel guilty for worrying about myself – I really was a changed person from that point on.
So here I am almost 2 years later, in good health, likely in better physical shape than I’ve been in a decade, and still facing some very tough situations… for some reason I seem to be getting tested constantly. It gets you up and then down, however, quite often when I have a few minutes to think about things and look at the big picture, I’m always reminded that there are many people around us that are facing seriously rough issues, are dealing with issues much tougher than what I’m facing, and are really in need of help or support. It’s at those times when even a little thing like throwing your only dollar into the Salvation Army pot or taking a few bags of clothes to the local shelter or Goodwill can really provide some comfort and much more in return… it really does feel good, even if its just for a minute. I have to think that this concept of sharing has been further reinforced with the explosion in social media services which have greatly facilitated sharing.
I could go on but I’ll hold off there… I guess I just want to remind anyone who’s needing a lift that it’s the challenges in life that really define us. Don’t be afraid to take those challenges head on and don’t be afraid to talk about things when times get really rough. When you pull through (and you will) you’ll look back and be proud of what you’ve done and you’ll likely realize that you’re tougher than you ever thought you were. Perhaps most important though, it will be very evident to you that the challenges you’ve faced head-on are defining who you are and I have no doubt that you’ll also realize that there are many people out there dealing with serious issues much worse than you are and there’s likely something you can do to help – even the smallest thing can bring others (and yourself) great comfort. Happy Holidays and stay focused on what’s really important.