Sunday, May 22, 2011

19. The Royal Wedding

And while I'm in the mood for writing, or rather blogging, let me nurture my gratitude for The Royal Wedding.

Yep, the Royal Wedding. In April, it was becoming a bit much, with nothing but buzz of the Royal Wedding everywhere, to the point where I would check my e-mail and be invited to give marital advice to the Royal Couple hmm...yes, it bugged me for days, this whole wedding business, and I just wanted the bride and groom, the world and the media to get the thing over and done with. The day after the Wedding though, something hit me: I realized that for at least two weeks, the only thing dominating the news was the Royal nuptials, not another Chernobyl in Japan, not Libya, not death and war and some overwhelming disaster, but rather a dream, a fairy tale, an aspiration to a happily ever after, that was echoed by millions all over the world. I would honestly be inundated for weeks on end about hope and happiness, about love triumphing all than by war and genocide. And of course, I had to watch clips of the wedding, the sight of the beautiful wedding dress, the 'Just Wedded' car that did a round around Buckingham Palace, which melted even the most cynical part of my heart. I had tears to my eyes, and I was thankful that the whole world watched this event, that people all over rejoiced and celebrated in a union that gave many people hopes of everlasting happiness and joy.

So weddings, keep it coming, may there be more happy news spreading through the media and internet world.

18. Rain

Today I am nurturing my gratitude for rain.

Coming from Vancouver, rain seems like the last thing to be grateful for. These days however, I think most things are relative in life. Yes, sometimes week after week of drizzling does tend to make me yearn for some glorious sun, but then again, I always remind myself of what it was like to go through months of snow and slush on the East Coast. I mean, when it snows in May, somehow the weeklong of rain seems tolerable. Or, if you happen to no longer live in Vancouver, then going back to Raincity for a week does not faze you, as you are so thankful for everything else - the beautiful seawall, the very inexpensive sashimi and tamales that abound, the wonderful shopping that is within walking distance, yep, like I said, it's all relative.

For me, rain has become even more welcoming ever since I moved to Kamloops, which can be so dry and hot in the summer, that forest fires are not just a matter of news on TV, but a very real phenomenon, with the smell of smoke clouding your nostrils for days...Every time it rains in K-town, I say a little 'Thank You' to the universe, because it means forest fires are at bay, and that my surroundings will be that much greener. Those majestic trees that make Vancouver so stunningly beautiful? They're there because of the rain.

So, thank you liquid sunshine, for taking the edge off :)

17. Birthdays

As I am three minutes away from midnight, I am nurturing my gratitude for my birthday.

While that might sound immodest (blogging about your own birthday?!!?), consider this: how many people like revealing their true age after a certain point in their lives? Some people stop at 27, others remain 30 for a very longggg time. Some people do not even look forward to their birthdays because it is a harsh reminder that they are one year older, while one look at the greeting cards aisle can give you an idea of how aging is viewed in our society. So yeah, I am blogging about my birthday, about getting a year older, and while sometimes I have to heed looks of shock from people (usually in their early twenties) about my age, and put up with crude jokes about getting older, I have to admit - I enjoy getting older. Not physiologically per se, since sometimes I am reminded of the limitations of my aging heart and the cumulative effects of stress, however, emotionally, intellectually, and philosophically, I have grown just as much, so really, it's a give and take process, this getting older business.

While my body was probably more capable of tackling things in my early twenties, I can say without a second thought that I would much rather be in my early thirties than in my twenties. Why? 1. I never appreciated my young twenty-something body. 2. I dwelled on everything that was going wrong in my life. 3. I relished a sense of importance in catastrophizing, in besting everyone else by talking about how much worse my life circumstances were than others (which may or may not have been true, but that is irrelevant really, which my thirty-something wisdom has made me realize :)

At least in my thirties, I appreciate what I have (and make a conscientious effort to do so), and am more self-aware. To me, aging has almost become synonymous with a bottle of fine red wine that gets better with every year, and birthdays have become an opportunity to review my life and aspirations mid-way through the year, to renew my resolutions and to well, quietly reflect and be kind to myself, and be the best person I can be under the circumstances. While I might not be able to be the best person every day, I certainly feel motivated (and can be) a great person on my birthday :)

So here's looking at me, kid, carpe diem!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

16. Music Parodies

Tonight, I am nurturing my gratitude for music parodies...

Why, you ask? Well, because music parodies, in particular music video parodies, just crack me up! It combines two of my favourite things - comedy and music - into a nice little three minute package, and provides me with much-needed comic/stress relief. Music video parodies have also become a bonding topic between me and my friends, as I had recently received a lil' link to The Lonely Island's new video "Jack Sparrow" from a good friend :)

"The Lonely Island" is a trio formed by Andy Samberg and his friends, and they've produced SNL digital shorts, some of the more famous ones being "Lazy Sunday," "D*** in a box," and "Shy Ronnie." Check them out at

How did I get into these hilarious videos? Stress relief during nursing school, yep, someone had mentioned Jon LaJoie and I checked out his work on YouTube, and thanks to him, had many feel-good-laughter-hormones balancing out the force from the dark side (aka stress hormones). Then came "Flight of the Conchords" and their "Inner City Pressure" music segment provided me with soothing companionship as I was in the thick of looking for work :) Let's not forget Jack Black and his band Tenacious D.

So thank you, modern gurus of music parodies, for bringing balance to the force (remember to check them out on iTunes :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

15. Voting Rights

Today I am nurturing my gratitude for the ability to vote, as I come off voting for the federal elections.

Voting is truly a privilege that people ought to feel thankful for. There are few things I feel strongly about, and over the years, voting has become one of them. In a world where the written letter has the final word, casting your vote represents your voice, your choice, your presence, your essence. I know many people think that one vote does not make a difference, and that apathy plays a role in voter turnout, however, consider this: If you know of two people who are apathetic towards voting, then chances are those two people will know of four people (two per person) who might not vote. So now there's six people, or six potential votes missing. And thus, missed votes build on exponentially, kind of like compound interest. As for last night's election, the "majority" government only had about 40% of the popular vote, meaning 40% of the actual votes cast. On the other hand, about 61% of voters turned out to vote. Those 61% of voters gave the New Democrats almost three times the number of seats they have held in Parliament, almost decimated another political party, and led to the resignation of two political leaders. The best part is probably no individual person had seen the results forthcoming, but as a collective, history was made.

Why else should one be thankful about the ability to vote? Who votes determines how much money is allocated by the government. We all hear about how resources are strained, and money is tight in the fiscal budget, especially given our recessionary climate, but chances are the government will spend more money, or rather make the necessary budget allocation, in those sectors that directly benefit the largest demographic of voters. This really at the end of the day is in a hope to secure more votes for the ruling party in future elections. So students, if you are wondering why your tuition is on the rise, and scholarship funds are dwindling, one thing to consider might be what the student voter turnout is at elections.

If economics and financial incentives are not enough to convince a voter to vote, perhaps human rights will. There are countries in the world, at this very moment, where people or certain genders, are not allowed to vote. Those people probably desperately want to vote, but cannot, under threat of punishment, or even death. And here we are, living in a country, with the full rights and privileges of being able to vote.

So, voting is not just about putting a cross on a piece of paper, it is about enacting your right, it is about saying 'Thank You' for that right, regardless of whether the party you voted for came into power or not.

14. Ice Hockey

Today I am nurturing my gratitude for ice hockey.

I am not a sports fan, but I love ice hockey! And no, I cannot go into details about all the sports terminology for hockey, however I am learning, now that the Vancouver Canucks are in the Stanley Cup Playoffs :P The reason I love hockey, apart from the fact that it is Canada's national sport, is the energy and grace in the game, yes, grace. There's something powerful and graceful about gliding down the rink at full speed, charging ahead with the puck, playing "the fastest game on ice" (as was advertised during the 2010 Winter Olympics). It is a fast-action game that can make you feel on edge, even if you know very little about the game. For novices, just pick a side, and follow the puck (better done if you watch hockey live or on HDTV).

Actually, the first time I got into hockey was at a game during my college days, at Cornell. I was in search of some school spirit, and also wanted to maximize my undergraduate experience, and hence started volunteering/attending school games. Football did not do much for me, even though we won against Yale; hockey, on the other hand, was a different story. The only thing I knew about hockey at the time was that it was played with skates in an ice rink, which was intriguing to me. The school spirit was captivating-students and adults alike chanting, jumping off their seats with every goal scored by the home team. I was mesmerized by the speed and gliding on the ice, not to mention the school spirit. The fact that we had a long-standing rivalry with Harvard that involved throwing frozen fish on the rink also appealed to my college sensibilities :P

So that's how my love for ice hockey started, with a live game. Flash forward about eight/nine years later, and I am the proud owner of a Canucks jersey (that I am told I cannot sleep in...)

Looking forward to watching tonight's game against the Nashville Predators, go Canucks go!