Some memories feel like a dream: just over 1.5 months have passed since the District 21 Fall Conference in Parksville. A part of my mind still asks “did that really happen?” In truth, it almost didn’t happen.
For the past few months in Toastmasters, I have been crossing off bucket-list items. One item is to complete my Competent Leadership (CL) manual. (Yes, I still don’t have my CL award. Imagine that.)
To obtain my CL, I would have to chair a speech contest. It still took a mentor giving me a very strong nudge before I contacted the VP of Ed to sign up to chair my club’s Humorous and Table Topics contest. He responded within the hour: congratulations, I was contest chair!
About a week ago, I was informed I would be moving on to the next round of the Toastmasters Evaluation contest. I had entered at the club level, placed second, and was done. Two days before the Area contest, I got an email from the first place winner that he was unable to go. It would be up to me to represent the club.
Except I wasn’t sure if I would. This was the busiest time for me, hands down. I’ll admit I wasn’t entirely thrilled about the short notice either. In the end, I took a deep breath and decided to go. Whatever happened, happened.
A few months ago at a club meeting, one Toastmaster asked another member the following question:
“In two words, how would you describe how you incorporate humour?”
The question spawned my own internal challenge. If I could describe my own take on incorporating humour in two words, which two would I choose?
After months of deliberation, I finally came up with my answer.
We are the sum total of our choices.- Woody Allen
That was a quote a Toastmaster read as part of his inspiration, a quote that his mentor had passed along to him. This individual went a step further and added the phrase “although we may not always like those choices…”
How fitting, I thought. Unwittingly I started compiling a list of all memorable choices in my life.
– Choices that I had regretted.
– Choices that I still regret.
– Choices in which I had no choice, but after I had made said “choice” I was promptly informed it had been my choice all along.
I started to wonder what it would be like to go back and change all those choices. But then I thought about what kind of a person would I be if I had taken another road. Would I be nicer, meaner? Would I be more naive, or wiser? Would I be more positive or more jaded? If I “succeeded” and had made the choice I had wanted…would I view it as such?
Not so easy to re-envision, is it?
In the end, I have to sit back and accept the fact there will always be choices in my life I wish I could go back and change, or wish I had done differently. But for better or for worse, I am who I am through the choices I have made.
The other week I came back from a two week trip to the United Kingdom. More specifically, I went to England to visit family and visit the country for the very first time. I do plan to go into a more detailed post about my trip at a later date, but during this (Canadian) Thanksgiving long weekend, I feel a deeper feeling of thanks.
I feel blessed for my extended family across the Atlantic Ocean:
- Whom calmly understood my travel sickness as I tried (unsuccessfully) to deal with the winding roads, and driving on the “wrong” side.
- To my Aunt and Uncle whom let me stay with them without a moment’s hesitation, and welcomed me with open arms even when we have not seen each other in over ten years.
- To my cousin and his girlfriend-now-fiance, whom did the same when I visited them in London.
- To my cousin’s fiance, whom spent an evening adding to her (already impressive) knowledge of our family tree; I am thrilled to hear she will soon become a member of the family!
- To my Aunt, Uncle and cousins, whom willingly gave up all their free time to play tourist with me (before having to go back to work the next day).
- To my extended family, whom asked me not to wait too long before coming to visit them again…after I had worn out my welcome.
- To my cousin, whom (like me), is not quite a morning person, but on her own accord set her alarm so she could be awake in the wee hours of the morning to give me a hug goodbye before I left for the airport.
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my family: the ones I get to see every day, and the ones that are spread out all across the globe.
It is done. My term as President has come to a close. Continue reading
A couple of months ago a fellow Toastmaster asked me an interesting question. She asked me where I got my sense of humour from, my mother or father? Without hesitation I answered: mom. That surprised her. Everyone else she had asked had all answered with their fathers. I was the only one that answered differently. Continue reading
Many years ago, I awoke one morning to find a sapling planted on the front lawn, with a note from the city explaining this was their initiative to keep the city green. I don’t remember the scientific name of the tree, only the common name: The Green Vase. Continue reading
What would you cross the Grand Canyon to tell me?
– Chelsea Avery
Those were the inspirational words spoken to Ryan Avery by his wife, chelsea (she is one amazing lady). Whatever he was crossing the Grand Canyon to tell her, that message would have to be important, inspirational and what he truly believed in. And that message was his Championship Speech. Continue reading