I can’t tell you how many times I have been told I am “too nice”. When I tell people I am not originally from Toronto they proceed to tell me that it makes sense because I am too polite, energetic, and friendly to possibly have been born and raised here (no offence to those who are :P). I even notice my clothing reflects that. When walking down the sidewalks filled with people looking serious with dark clothing you will always find me smiling and standing out with bright and fun-coloured clothing. That’s just me!
In the city, the hustle and bustle gets to everyone, even me! I find I am weaving in and out of people and having little patience for anything getting in my way and slowing me down. The “Toronto mentality” does exist. I unfortunately find people caring less about others and only do when it will affect them directly. Today’s society and social media norms make it easy for us to become self-absorbed and forget that the world is much bigger than any one of us. We are more worried about our images being posted online than the world around us, those who are suffering, and the hardships others experience.
I recently shared in another post the story of a young man taking his own life from the small town that I grew up. Unfortunately just this past week, we lost another member of our community, a woman only 51, who suffered from cancer. Boy, does that put me in check with all my silly little worries. Sometimes it takes a loss to realize this.
Our small town is like its own family. Death and hardships are felt as a community. Although my family is not there currently, there is a connection that we all share and a deeper understanding for the meaning of family, compassion, and respect. The morals and principles that my family instilled in me and I practiced over the years in my community are a reflection of who I am today. I will always smile, say hi, and ask you how you are doing. It shocks me when people don’t. We are all the same human race and should be treated equally.
Death is a strange thing. There are so many stages of grief that you go through when experiencing the loss of a loved one. Whether someone close to you or just within your greater community, it still makes you stop and take a step back from your own life.
The last little while has reminded me that life is short. Live in the moment and don’t let a day pass you by. Be thankful for those around you and the little things that bring joy to your day. Embrace every situation, good and bad. The good times bring you happiness, and the tough times provide you with an opportunity. You never know when life can turn you upside down. It just takes the blink of an eye for everything to change.
For me, I need to slow down and focus on being in the moment more. I lead a busy schedule and sometimes I can get caught up in it all. I want to become better at living in the moment and embracing the ‘then and now’.
I am thankful for my small town of Maryhill and can’t imagine my childhood any other way. I will continue being “too nice” and take it as a compliment and wakeup call to those around me to care more about others. Although I absolutely love the big city and all the perks, I will always be a small town girl at heart. You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl.
Be fierce. Be strong. Be vibrant.
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