I am who I am today, because...

...it’s exactly where I was meant to be.  I think we’ve all had moments in our life where we feel regret.  Moments in which we wish we could turn back the clock and live the day out differently…we felt pain, we felt sadness, but ultimately we felt remorse for how life unfolded for you or someone important in your life.  For me, I’ve had many of those moments in my life…each and every one etching themselves in my brain.

April 1st, 1999 was the day a dear friend of mine passed away.  It was a tough one for me to cope with, why?  It was partly because we were both relatively young at the time, under 25, and I definitely wasn’t prepared to deal with something of that magnitude at my age.  It was also partly because at the time of her passing we hadn’t spoken for several months.  I struggled with regret, I struggled with the fact that we always knew she’d likely die young (she’d lost her mother to cancer only a few years before she was diagnosed), in fact we spoke about it in the past, and yet I’d somehow let a small insignificant disagreement get between us.  I matured significantly after that experience, and little bits of the person I am today were shaped.

Surround Yourself

It wasn’t more than 4 years later I was sitting in radiology with another friend hearing those dreadful words being delivered to her.  One of the brightest and most giving people I knew, who carried a smile on her face even as she was being told she’d had a large tumor in the frontal lobe of her brain.  I was soooo angry, she smiled and thanked the doctor for his time, and I was angry.  I was angry that her general practitioner had never looked into her eyes during the prior year when she was suffering from migraines.  I was angry that he and all of us had waited and never pursued an explanation as to why she was having daily migraines.  I was furious!  She continued to be her happy and carefree self for the following 2 years of chemo, surgeries, and radiation.  She wasn’t angry with anyone, she wasn’t angry at all.  

At the risk of dampening her amazing spirit, I eventually mustered up the courage to ask her why she was so “ok” with it all, why wasn’t she angry with her doctor, why wasn’t she angry period?  Her answer?  Being angry doesn’t make anyone feel better, it makes me feel awful, makes others feel awful, and that won’t help anyone.  She then said, “My only wish is about to come true, I am getting married to the love of my life, how could I be angry?”.  We shed a lot of tears, had many laughs, and little bits of the person I am today were shaped those years with her.  She did marry the love of her life, and her final wish had come true, she carried his last name to her headstone....just 3 short weeks later.

I know, I know, my eyes are a bit sweaty too.  So I’ll move to inspiring ground.

Do you have someone in your life that you just sit back in awe of?  Or have you had the absolute privilege of knowing someone that is not only the smartest person in the room, but also the most impactful, humble human being?  When Sunshine walked into my life a calm comfort descended upon me.  It’s impossible not to sound like a self-help wellness fanatic as I write about her.  She’s truly been an inspiration and a motivation in my life.  She’s always holding a glass half full…in fact, it’s usually full…period.  Sunshine has helped me up when I was at my worst, she’s been there when I was feeling worthless, useless, and feeling like a failure who was ready to quit.  Even at my lowest she has always been there, and persistently shown me that the glass is still half full.  She’s also seen me at my best, and without fail is always the very first one to celebrate with me.

She has taught me a ton about people, and most importantly taught me a lot about myself.  You’ll hear her talk about problems or issues that are “not yours to own”.  Many of our worries in life are not a result of our choices or actions, but yet we spend countless hours fretting over them and trying to change them, just setting ourselves up for failure because they truly are out of our control.  Sunshine is a master at seeing the world through someone else’s lens.  Not to agree with or endorse, but rather to “seek to further understand” so that we can help have an impact if we understand the view through that lens.  

She truly has changed my life, and changed my world.  Sunshine is my very best friend, my sister, and my ass kicker when I need it.  She is My Sunshine, the inspiration behind our name, and I am who I am today and continue to become a better human being each and every day…because of her.

Onto the last piece of the puzzle…

For those of you who know me, you’ll know that I was definitely not the cool kid in high school.  I wasn’t the class president, I wasn’t the captain of the cheerleading squad (yeah I know, can you imagine?).  I wasn’t the smartest kid in my class, but I did get 100% on a couple of grade 12 finals.  Had to throw that in there. ;)  I had gone to a university that none of my friends at the time were going to, so I got there and was starting from scratch, and in fact one of the first people I met was the gal from my first story.  Dorm life was fun, I quickly got to know many new people, and in fact many of the closest friends in my life today are from that era.  This includes my very best friend.  At first, he wasn’t my best friend, in fact he was a friend with my friends, but I thought he was a bit of an arse.  

We did continue to spend time together and I began to realize he wasn’t the arse I always thought he was.  In fact, in October of that year, I learned that he was one nervous wreck.  Well, besides that.  That day was the day he sat in my dorm room and spilled his heart to me.  That was the very first time that anyone had ever opened up to me as he did.  He was clearly nervous, I think he may have even been sweating.  That day, he changed a big part of who I was, and I am who I am today due to him.

He is one of the people in the world that I can share anything with, the person who listens to me when I’m the one being difficult.  We share the same values and the same goals for our lives and our family.  I’m so very thankful for him.  He is my very best friend, my husband, and one fantastic father.  That day he helped shape the person I am, and continues to do so each and every day.

As I sit here and reflect, I will tell you without a doubt that I am one of the luckiest people around (maybe remind me of that when I’m having a not so great day).  Yes, I’ve had some pretty damn challenging days and even years, but I have had incredible people join me at various times along my path who have enriched my life and shaped who I am today.  As the next chapter comes to a close, and the new one begins I am beyond the moon as to how the story is beginning to unfold.

Those experiences have shaped who I am today, and have brought me to this very moment in time.  A time in which we shall embark on an amazing journey, to set out on an authentic path of engagement and fulfillment.  A path in which we will passionately create experiences (such as these that have brought me to today) that inspire self-discovery and encourage meaningful interactions to transform the world.

And the most incredible part about it??  I get to do it with one of the most gifted, smartest, and inspiring people I know!!  My very best friend.  Sunshine!!

Here we go…