A Voyage of Discovery

In 1992 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth reflected on her 40th year on the throne as being an “annus horribilis”.  Her children’s relationships were breaking down with the icing on the cake being the devastating fire at Windsor Castle. The monarchy was at a low point in its popularity. Over time, the Monarchy has taken steps to regain the support of the people.

It would have been all too easy to refer to 2016 as *my* annus horribilis. In certain respects, it was a miserable year. In others, it was a refreshing year. I guess it all depends which side of the coin you look at, I suppose.

Life is generally a series of peaks and valleys. The last 10 years were mostly peaks of mountaintops I never thought I would reach. Without a doubt several of the highlights include presiding over the NDG Minor Baseball (2007-2008) and the United Irish Societies of Montreal (2010-2011) and being asked to join the Board of Directors of the St. Patrick’s Society of Montreal, all volunteer appointments.

I would not have been as successful as I was had it not been for the people supporting me in my volunteer activities, the people closest to me. I am most grateful for the love, support, and friendship I had during that time. As they say, all good things must come to an end. And, in my case, in 2016 they did. I essentially lost that love and support.

It was at this point that my voyage of discovery began. I quickly learned who my friends were, who those who I thought were my friends (but were not), and those who I thought would be loyal but were not. I may forgive, but I will not forget. Fool me once…

December, in particular, was just a horrible month and that’s if we look at the last half. In the early hours of December 14th I awoke to go to the washroom. As I finished up, I blew my nose. Blood gushed from my nose and would not stop. After fifteen or twenty minutes I got dressed as best I could with a bleeding nose and walked over to the hospital across the street.

On December 14th I was scheduled to speak at the funeral of Anne Gaynor-Forrest, who was editor of the St. Patrick’s Society’s newsletter. I fully expected to be out and preparing to attend the funeral in no time – a quick plugging on the nose. The doctors and nurses had other plans, like keeping me for a few days. It’s not like I could disagree given the facts. This was an eye opener. They say high blood pressure is the silent killer. I can fully believe that. I have no doubt that had I not had the nose bleed I may well have suffered a devastating stroke or worse, that’s how high my blood pressure was.

Life is what you make it. As grumpy as I was though, I committed to myself to live a healthier lifestyle. Before you get ideas in your head, I haven’t given up the drink. What I *have* done is reduced my food intake, essentially eliminated the salty snacks and sweet desserts, and became more active. Nooo I am not running marathons, 1/2 marathons, or 5K races. I am just getting up off my seat and moving around and walking when I can. The results are beginning to show. My doctors are satisfied with my progress. And I am happy when I have to buy clothes in a smaller size.

So my voyage of discovery continues next week with a trip to Ireland with friends. It’s one of those bucket list things I have had for years and now is the right time to go. I am so looking forward to this opportunity of a lifetime, where I am sure to meet people, take photos, and create memories.

Who knows what I will discover?

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