2017 was indeed a year of hope and renewal, physically, emotionally and mentally for me and carried with it some learning moments as I ventured into new projects.
I must start this year by acknowledging the wonderful team of people I have come to cherish working with. I work for a leader whose profound wisdom provides guidance, yet she still provides acknowledgement and gratitude during moments of humbleness expressing the individual value I bring to the team. This in itself is a refreshing experience. My coworkers and I have come together as a team where our strengths compliment each other so incredibly well that I look forward to each experience we share. These experiences continue to drive us forward towards meeting our goals. Without this fantastic group of people, it would have been difficult to successfully overcome the many challenges we faced in our changing work environment. To those of you that I work with each day, know that I appreciate you and the many efforts you provide every day. I can not express to you how much I appreciate the welcoming environment and leadership you provide to me and with me on an ongoing basis.
Just as welcoming and helpful was the staff that assisted me at the University of Manitoba as I tried my hands as an instructor. I felt this was a rewarding and positive experience, and look forward to my next opportunity to engage with students again.
I have also been attending classes through the University of Winnipeg. I have been taking 3 courses per term in order to enhance my knowledge surrounding topics of interest. While doing so, I have had the pleasure of meeting an array of wonderful people with whom I have shared some fantastic conversations. I was also surprised and honoured this past year to receive an invitation to join the Golden Key International Honour Society through the local UofW chapter. In order to ensure I am able to balance my time, I take one class in person and the others are taken online. I must commend the instructors who provide the online lectures, they are very well done and responsive to the inquiries made by students outside the class environment. The one-hour lectures provided over the internet have also been perfect for me to watch while I run in the mornings on the treadmill at home.
My health was a challenge that I had to face near the end of 2016. I had lost all sense of balance and had allowed myself to reach a weight of nearly 300 pounds. I am happy to inform you that I have lost 38 pounds so far through my quest to re-balance my life. A healthier diet, some exercise, but most of all less stress and sleeping well enough so that I now have enough energy to get me through my day. These continue to propel me towards my goals in a healthy way. One of the moments that provided clarity regarding my progress in overcoming the unhealthy mess I left behind was when my four-year-old daughter innocently said with a smile and a look of surprise in those big brown eyes, “Dad, your tummy is getting smaller!” “Good”, I said, “it is important to take care of your health and Dad is working hard to be healthier.” With that in mind I am glad to know that this experience is providing an opportunity to role model healthy behaviours for my children.
My children continue to give me reason to be proud of each of them. Our oldest is maturing into a wonderful young woman even while occasionally presenting the challenges of being a teen in today’s world. Our most recent adventures together have consisted of her driving through the streets of Winnipeg while I watch and guide her. Our six-year-old is doing well in school, piano, swimming, and dance. Just prior to writing this, we sat together so I could help her read a Star Wars story book. Our four-year-old has progressively demonstrated her passion for play and is also doing well in school, dance and looking forward to skating this upcoming year with her sister. This afternoon she cuddled up beside me after placing a number of stuffed toys around me while I was reading a book for one of my classes. My son at only one and a half years amazes me each day as he develops his motor skills and speech. Just recently he started singing “Paw Patrol” over and over again, apparently, he has become a fan of this show. I can’t express how lucky I feel that I am able to enjoy so many amazing moments with all of our children and watch them develop in to wonderful people. One of our favorite moments to share is of course in our kitchen as we bake all sorts of wonderful things together. One day, my children will be master cinnamon roll makers.
My wife and I have also been working hard to meet some goals. If there is one person I try my hardest to ensure is always a priority in my life, it is her. In the time we have been together we have been through many challenges, but we always come out better for it in the end. Be it through our family, our business interests, our educational goals or those moments we share on our dates to Costco (sometimes you have to take what you can get), I will always strive with the greatest intent to strengthen our relationship so we can enjoy our lives together.
My final thoughts about 2017 are this:
2017 was a time of renewed hope through which the motivation was created to see me through the many challenges that I faced. By embracing change and believing that “better” was “achievable” I created a self-fulfilling prophecy that continues to build momentum into 2018.
2018, even with the many changes and choices I know you are going to bring, I welcome you. I know that no matter what we face, we will always come out better for it in the end.