Don’t let another year pass without living life to its fullest

Editorial & Opinion, Wednesday, July 25, 2007

My birthday was this past Monday and I can no longer say that I am in my early thirties. The day came and went happily, though I did find a grey hair that seemed to stealthily avoid the highlights I had done professionally the week before. I yanked the little scoundrel in disbelief – but there was no question – it was mine (ouch).

Birthdays often prey on our vanity. Personally, I start getting more critical of my appearance and notice more flaws. Obviously I didn’t magically age a year overnight; I’m just hypersensitive and I seek out any changes or subtle differences.

On the eve of my 30th birthday I bought my first wrinkle cream, perhaps as some kind of rite of passage. I used it only once and then tossed it into the back of the drawer.

This year, my morning scan also revealed an increased gravitational pull on several parts of my anatomy (which I will not dwell on) and more wrinkles. For example, my laugh lines are more of a permanent fixture nowadays. I suppose this is a good thing that I have had a lot to laugh about this past year. Regarding the crows feet, I can’t really say that I embrace them with the same zeal, because what would that mean? That I’ve had a lot to squint at? Perhaps I should have had laser eye surgery sooner? Always worn sunglasses? Flown fewer kites? (it’s hard to fly a kite without squinting).

Vanity aside, I like birthdays. I enjoy the opportunity to reflect on the past year including my triumphs and lessons learned, and then turn my attention to the future, my new goals and aspirations. Reviewing my life list this year (which I have not actually written down yet – but that is an interesting revelation, because I have a list for everything else) I’m making progress in the right direction.

Here in the Sault I have nurtured my passion for good music, good food, physical fitness, and writing.

The music scene in Sault Ste Marie has been a pleasant surprise. From big name concerts at the Steelback Centre (Mötley Crüe, Tragically Hip, Bare Naked Ladies, Jann Arden), to community events like Beer, Bratwurst & Beethoven and Rotaryfest, I brag to my southern Ontario friends of our musical conquests.

Ironically, it was when I moved to the Sault that I became more hip in their eyes (and this is not an aging comment about where my food is settling). Thanks to LopLops, I am discovering and recommending upcoming strong talent like Roxanne Potvin and The Great Lake Swimmers, as well as having the opportunity to be up close and personal with Juno award winners like Bill Bourne.

The icing on my musical cake this month and year was the Blackie and the Rodeo Kings concert at the Best Western including local talent Big Wheel and the Spokes.

The restaurant scene is also commendable with choices like Five, Gliss, Panna, Thymely Manner, the Gallery at Sault College, and a few new places I still need to check out. To nurse my tastebuds fully, I’m still waiting for some of the much-talked-about immigration required in Canada, to selfishly beef up the ethnic food scene here locally. Right now I travel to Ottawa for my fill of Thai, Vietnamese, and Indian food.

My passion for physical fitness has also grown in the Sault this year. Whether you want outdoor or indoor activities, for yourself or your family, from archery to gymnastics to yoga, there is an extensive list available, thanks to the Recreation and Culture Division, on the city website at www.cityssm.on.ca (search for Leisure Services Information Directory). As a side note I must say I was surprised that the Yoga Door was not listed in the directory – there must have been an oversight.

Focusing on writing is the last achievement I reviewed this birthday. I’m enjoying being a columnist . . . but I still want to know where is my columny? (Pardon me for that. I’ve been giggling about that one for a month.) But seriously, I would genuinely like to say thank you for reading.

With my yearly progress reviewed, my thoughts turn to the future. I will continue to build my life in the Sault. I’ll seek out new and exciting opportunities to challenge my mind and body, and find new restaurants and musical acts to tantalize my senses.

This city is on an upswing. Don’t say there is nothing to do. Join me in the pursuit of a better life and together we’ll embrace our community (and our birthdays) more fully.

I’ll leave you with a couple of quotes to “tie the ribbons on it” as my dad would say. First, to paraphrase Rabbi Harold Kushner: It’s not that we’re afraid of dying; we’re afraid of never having lived. Second, from The Shawshank Redemption: “get busy living . . .or get busy dying.”

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