Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Day After Day, Post After Post

We are on the elevator and it is first thing in the morning, before I begin my work day and when I am still trying to shake off the sleepiness from the night before. She turns to me and says: “I follow what you are doing in YMM Magazine and the newspaper and things. I love seeing strong, independent women making a difference in the world.” And then she smiles at me and I don’t even quite know how to respond to this new work colleague, as she has brightened my day and world in a way she doesn’t realize.

I think we all need affirmation of what we do from time to time, some sense that what we are doing matters. Already this year I have had two conversations that have done that for me, starting 2015 out on the right path in a significant way.
I was talking to someone else recently who has been in our community for a couple of years. I made a comment about the time here when nobody knew who I was, and they responded: “Wait, what? What do you mean nobody knew who you were?”.

I explained that four years ago, before this blog began (I make that sound like the blog started itself – I suppose I should say when I began to write this blog), I was a stay at home mom. Nobody beyond a small circle would have known me, and while my life was in most ways happy it was also to some degree unfulfilled. I went from hobby to hobby, searching (I now realize) for something that would fill that hole I felt and that would give me the sense of accomplishment I was seeking. Nothing filled it, though, and I went through life doing the things we all do, but feeling like I could do so much more. I just didn’t know what it was – and then I began to write this blog and my entire life changed. My new friend was surprised – they had just assumed that I had always been known here, had always done what I do now and was always trying to make a difference – but they were quite wrong.

I don’t know that back then I would have described myself as a strong independent woman making a difference in the world. Oh, I was a good mom and I served on parent council and I did “things”, but I did not feel strong or independent and while I was raising an amazing child I suppose I was resigned to her being the one to make a difference in our world – until I realized that it was not too late for me to do so, too.
When I began this blog I had no idea where it was headed or where it would take me. It was one post after another, one step after another, along a path that took me where I am today. And while I would not call myself a “role model” I am deeply honoured that last year when the Intrepid Junior Blogger was tasked with writing about a hero who makes a difference she chose to write about me. If I am a role model for her alone, someone who is strong (most times), independent (although with a heavy reliance on my family and friends) and making a difference through what I do, then I have accomplished a goal I didn’t even know I had but had been searching for my entire life.

But in reality this post isn’t about me. This is about the other people who may be like me out there, struggling to find their way to fill that hole they feel. Perhaps they feel the chance to make a difference has passed them by, but I want to assure them that it has not, no matter their age or place in life. Making a difference is as simple as making the choice to act, seeking until they find that niche they can fill and the thing that makes their heart sing. I found mine in this blog and in every single opportunity I have had ever since to do something – anything – to make this community better, to share our stories and to make it the kind of place that some day, long after she has moved on in her life, the IJB will be proud to say is her hometown.
It isn’t about notoriety to me, and it never has been, although that has been to some degree a corollary of what I have chosen as my niche. There are those who make differences through other ways, some far less public than mine, but they are no less worthy of recognition and so I thank them for finding their way to make that difference, too. But for those still searching, those still feeling that gnawing inside them that says they can do more, I say this: don’t give up. Keep working at it, keep seeking, keep trying and above all realize that it is never too late to leave your mark on this world, whatever it happens to be. Twice this year already I have been reminded of that, and I am so grateful as on occasion we all need a reminder of why we do what we do and why we began to do it in the first place.

Do I see myself now as a strong independent woman making a difference in this world? I don’t know, really. I do know though that I am happy, that I feel fulfilled in what I do and that I believe that on occasion I have had the honour to make a difference in some small way – and in the end that is all that I need to continue to do it, day after day, post after post and step after step.

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