Stop and Smell the Roses

Every once in a while something happens and I realise all over again that there truly can be silver linings to black clouds and blessings can be found within curses.  A few days ago, such an event happened.
I know that lots of you reading this blog don’t really know that much about Vancouver so I’ll give you a bit of background first. What most people not from Vancouver call Vancouver is actually a collection of cities in a geographic area generally called the lower mainland by locals. Vancouver itself has a population of about 600,000 while the entire lower mainland has approximately 2.5 million people.
Vancouver the city is bordered by water on three sides; an arm of the Fraser River to the south, Georgia Strait to the west, and Burrard Inlet to the north.  On the north side of Burrard Inlet are the District of North Vancouver, the City of North Vancouver, and West Vancouver and are often grouped together and called the North Shore.
The North Shore is where the local ski mountains Seymour, Cypress, and Grouse are located. And for the record to be thorough, Whistler and Blackcomb are about an hour and a half north of Vancouver along the Sea to Sky Highway, and are not part of the local mountains. At least to me.

Okay, by now I’m sure you are wondering why I have been giving you a geography lesson when I started off talking about silver lining and black clouds and all that touchy feely type stuff.
On Sunday, Tim Jones, the leader of the North Shore Search and Rescue team suddenly died.  I think anyone who watched the news in the lower mainland knew who he was because that group was unfortunately very busy. Whether it was due to stupid people or unlucky people I can’t say, but the group made the news pretty frequently for all of their hard work and Mr. Jones was always front centre making sure the job got done.  To say that he was dedicated to helping people might be an understatement. And that is just what I figured out from watching the news, I never had the opportunity to meet the man.

There have been a few different articles in the newspaper about Mr. Jones in the last couple days, mostly talking about what an amazing person he was and how he personally was involved in at least 1600 search and rescue missions. And another thing that is always mentioned is how, for all that he loved what he did, he was looking forward to the day he retired so he could spend more time with his family and pay back their generosity of sharing him so selflessly with the community.
And this situation brings to mind another similar situation with a fantastic woman I used to work with at St. Paul’s.  She worked 2 jobs so that when she retired she could travel and do all the things she couldn’t do while working. Then just a couple years before she retired she was diagnosed with a brain tumour and she unfortunately only made it a couple more years.

Alright, by now you are probably beginning to think that I am going off my rocker, first geography then depressing stuff, but really, I have a purpose. I promise!

As I am sure everyone who either reads my blog or talks to me knows, the primary side effects I am now dealing with are fatigue, insomnia, and hot flashes. The fatigue in particular is what is preventing me from being able to work or even walk very fast or far these days. I really appreciate the dry weather so I can take the dog out to the seawall and just sit on a bench and watch the rest of the world go by. And if it was summer I would be stopping to smell the roses a little more often than I ever have in the past simply because I just need to take a break and rest.

And because I am not working I am also able to spend more time with my friends and family than I have ever been able to do. And I am finally a volunteer. Right around the time that I was leaving St. Paul’s I had been looking into becoming a tutor for the Big Brothers and Big Sisters but I kept on putting it off because I was just starting a new job and I had no idea what the hours would really be like. And then, of course, I got cancer and that took over everything.  Now that I am in a stable treatment I volunteer between 4 and 6 hours a week for the Canadian Cancer Society and it gives me a sense of purpose.
It is unfortunate that it took cancer for these things to happen for me, but that really seems to be how we all live these days. Everyone so busy that we don’t get to appreciate the little stuff.

So, as you have guessed, I have finally gotten to the purpose of this post………no matter how busy you are, even if it is with something you truly enjoy, don’t forget to smell the flowers or talk to a friend or just do a little people watching, because no one knows when you might not have the chance again.

So with those wise words, here is my next music selection, sorry, it is c & w, but it is really appropriate for the moment and I don’t think I have shared it before. (Yay! I have finally figured out hyperlinks on my tablet!) Live Like You are Dying

Oh, and I have one other great suggestion for people that I saw on a sandwich board outside a coffee shop the other day……….be the reason somebody laughs today.

4 thoughts on “Stop and Smell the Roses

  1. Glad to hear that you are happy with the volunteer work.
    I remember that lady with the brain tumor. And at the end, you wonder what was the point of it all?


  2. I thought the exact same thing when I heard of Tim Jones' passing and his promise to spend more time with his family when he 'retired'. This past year and a half of cancer has allowed me to spend so much more time with my 7-year old daughter than I ever could have if I was working full-time and plodding along like I was before the diagnosis. In some ways I am so much better off now. While I won't go so far as to say that cancer has been a blessing, I will say that it has made me appreciate all the wonderful little things I didn't notice before. I'm glad to hear you're there too 🙂


  3. Pingback: My 10 things | Not So Pretty In Pink

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