The morning of my 37th birthday. October 2 2017
I’ve always struggled with sleep, as a child I remember making up games in my mind to make myself fall asleep, I would sneak into my parents room and sleep on the floor, as a teen I would read until I passed out. So no surprise on this day – October 2nd – my 37th b-day I was awake at dawn. I tossed and turned desperate to fall back asleep and finally got up to enjoy the quiet of the morning before the chaos began. I poured my coffee and sat down to watch the news.
Well you know by now what I saw. My heart broke, I was in shock, not again. My husband and I have been to LV a least a dozen times in the last decade, we always are on the strip or at a concert or show. Had we been there for my b-day, which was considered, we would have been at the country music festival (we love country music) were this heinous act of gun violence occurred. We decided not to go because we are going to be running in the Rock and Roll Marathon in LV in November, which is celebrated at the end by a concert. I am not sure we will attend. But we should not let fear win right? Except that in the USA this year there have been 273 mass shootings (a mass shooting is defined as 4 or more people being killed) last year there was 483! read more in the link below.
So is it safe to travel to the US? We recently- last spring- went to Disney land for the first time, my kids leading up to it did not want to go and I could not understand. The answer came after much interrogation, they did not want to be killed, I said why would you think that? they said everyone has guns in America. Hmmm, yes they have a point. I explained as best I could that there are police everywhere and most places have measures to prevent people bring guns in, although yes there were metal detectors at Disney land most places unfortunately allow guns in the United States, something not legal in Canada. I understood their fear. It is undeniable that America has a gun problem and the debate was proven to be over when 20 babies were killed by an automatic riffle at Sandy Hook 5 years ago and nothing was changed or fixed about their lax or non existent gun laws. It is unfortunate that a country as big and powerful as the USA is more obsessed with their sick gun culture and ‘right to bear arms’ than the right to healthcare or to walk safely in their country without the threat of gun violence.
My kids woke up, I turned off the news and wiped my tears away. They came down the stairs singing happy b-day. Bitter sweet. I hugged them and we started our morning.
Something I have learned after 37 years…
Whenever I have felt overwhelmed by grief, tragedy and heart ache I need to go outside. Walk amongst the trees in the forest and breathe.
I’ve learned that life gets so much more complex as we age, as people die around us the undeniable reality of our obvious and eventual demise can feel overwhelming
Death also gets ignored by many. Some rush through life trying to be successful, creating a fortune, for what? To be buried in a gold casket? I truly admire the likes of Bill and Melinda Gates that spend their fortune helping others, eradicating polio in Africa- a pretty noble thing to spend your time and money on in your retirement years. Or Oprah Winfrey opening a school for girls in Africa, or Facebook founder Mark Zukerburg donating 100 million to education in the US.
I’ve learned that flashy things are just that things. Things that end up in the landfill.
I’ve learned that I’d rather have enough than a feast.
I’ve learned that real people, honest people, even though honesty can be a hurtful or a hard thing to swallow at times, is much better than the fake people.
I’ve learned that no matter how many push ups or chest presses you do, your armpits and under arms will still get flabby ( and so will your knees- no amount of running will stop that ).
I’ve learned that after 35 you finally stop being so harsh on your body.
I’ve learned to appreciate when it’s quiet.
I’ve learned not to take things for granted. Even when your tired and frustrated, a tug at your sleeve for a hug, or an I love you with a smile can be amazing.
I’ve learned education can change perspective and direction.
I’ve learned that you’re never to old to make mistakes and to keep learning.
I’ve learned that kids are pretty darn smart and much more resilient and accepting than adults.
I’ve learned it is ok to let people judge you, as I have learned it really does not matter what they think. Most do not know you well enough anyway.
I’ve learned no matter how hard you give to others they wont assume they need to give back until you ask.
I’ve learned it is ok to say no.
I’ve learned it is ok to yell and get angry, and it is also ok to say sorry and accept responsibility.
I’ve learned that exercise can do more than just keep your body healthy, but your mind too.
I’ve learned too that there are more ignorant people in the world than I’d hoped as a younger person.
I’ve learned we only get one life and don’t know what comes next, so try your best to cherish it and that does not mean be happy all the time.
I’ve learned that music and dance can heal and rejuvenate the soul, but also trick the mind into feeling young again.
So, I went with my BFF to see the amazing singer, dancer, performer, the person I saw at age 10 at the first concert I had ever attended. We went to see Janet Jackson and danced and sang the night away, and I hadn’t felt that good, in a long time.
Thanks for reading,