Uphill in the snow in bare feet

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Our presence on this revolving planet was never meant to be simple or straight-forward.  Without a heaping portion of challenges and quandaries thrown into the recipe of our existence, the end product of our being would be bland and predictable.

Life has a way of making us feel like we are in a batting cage with no bat. There is no helmet and no way out of that metal encasement.  The fastballs keep coming at 97 mph and we are powerless against their velocity.  As much as we try to dodge that line of fire, and even the ricochets, we end up being pummelled by a few of those spherical missiles and feel like those cage walls are closing in, trapping us in the hail of projectiles.

barefoot

Feeling overwhelmed can be akin to travelling barefoot in the snow.  Regardless of the direction we go, that path seems to stretch to eternity and every road leads up an insurmountable hill.  The harder we try to keep up the pace and the level of energy required to reach our destination, the more difficult the trek becomes.  We lose interest in the journey, we lose feeling in our extremities and each step sinks us further into the vast collection of flakes, making us feel defeated and hopeless.

This feeling of absolute frustration becomes much more evident during the holidays.  I have been noticing a myriad of posts lately about people feeling the holiday pressure – pressure to be the perfect host or hostess, to find the perfect gifts, to choose and display the perfect decorations, to create the perfect meal and to create memories of a perfect holiday.

But some of my best holidays were far from perfect.  The gravy was lumpy, the turkey was dry, the tree was on a 30 degree angle from centre and, as she does every year, my mother had left most of the price tags on our gifts.  It still happens on an annual basis and it will continue to be one of my favorite memories of our Christmas holidays.

Take each day one at a time.  When you feel like you are being swallowed by the maelstrom, stop and take a moment to breathe,  remember to take small steps and find one piece of scenery that makes you smile.  Hold that picture in your mind until you see another small piece that makes you smile.  Before you know it, you’ve made it through the mayhem, completely intact, and you’re still smiling.  That uphill battle to get through the holidays has levelled to a flat surface and those frosty feet no longer feel cumbersome and lifeless.  And maybe you will realize that the holiday isn’t meant to be perfect, it’s just there to spend time with friends and family and to simply be enjoyed.

Taking inventory of your assets

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In this ever-changing economy, we all take stock of the value we have in our midst.   If we are lucky enough to have a portfolio or own a home, these things become more valuable in this rapidly evolving conundrum we call life.  Interest rates undulate like the sky when it is littered with the phenomenon of Northern Lights and nothing is certain.

Taking inventory of my assets takes on an entirely new meaning when tragedy befalls our community.   A horrific two car accident took the life of a woman and sent three others to hospital today.  As I was driving home from a shopping day with good friends, my route was diverted to back roads to allow the rescue teams to diligently put their skills to work – to control the scene and save as many lives as possible.

Because we live in such a small area, the chances of one of my loved ones being in or near that accident increases exponentially.  My fingers began rapidly pressing the numbers I have in my favorites list to take stock of the assets I have in my life – my family and my friends.  I know I am not the only person that has this urgent need to hear those familiar voices on the other end of the phone and knowing that they are safe brings an immeasurable amount of relief.

These are the assets that have more worth than any home I will own.  Their value in my life far outweighs any 401K that I could enrich and the benefit I get from having them in my life exceeds any investments to which I may contribute.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family that lost a valued asset in their lives today, and I can only hope the other victims survive this horrible event.   It is unfortunate that a catastrophe such as this serves as such a glaring reminder to hold those close to you even closer.