This past weekend was a busy one. No question. Weekends like this used to have me feeling overwhelmed but as I mentioned a few weeks ago I am trying to EMBRACE life and appreciate all the little (and big) things and opportunities that are available to me. From this new point of view, it one of the best weekends I have had in quite some time. Yes, I was extremely busy. I was physically tired. There were a few times that I had to remind myself just why I was doing everything that I committed myself to. Then, it was easy. I was able to put things in perspective and follow through on each commitment as a choice to enrich my life and, hopefully, the lives of others.
I had an early start Saturday morning at the 2017 Ontario Masters Swimming Championships. It was a large meet with swimmers from all over the province to coming together to compete. I chose to swim 4 races, with the goal of adding as much competition experience to my training as I can to prepare for the 2017 World Transplant Games in Malaga, Spain later this year. I figure familiarity in large competitions will help me to control nerves and any tension I may feel. On top of swimming 4 personal best times, placing overall 5th and 7th in two of my events, I was able to deepen the relationships I have with many of my team mates. I knew my team was full of great swimmers but I now know many of them to be cool and inspiring individuals as well.
Saturday night my wife and I attended a 10 year anniversary party to celebrate a friend’s double lung transplant. It was 2 hours outside of the city but worth every minute of the drive - it was a momentous occasion. Dawn (lung transplant recipient and vibrant soul) gave a moving speech that touched on all of the things that she had been able to experience in life because of the second chance she had been given. She paid tribute to the anonymous donor and the donor family without whom her life would have been cut short. I feel honoured to be chosen to celebrate this occasion with Dawn and look forward to celebrating the many more years she has ahead of her.
I got in pretty late, went to sleep and within (what felt like) 20 minutes we were summoned by the alarm to take on our Sunday morning plans with a great group of families with young children who, like our family, have a passion for plant based living. We met at Allan Gardens which, as it turns out, is a comfortable place to be on a cold, rainy day in the city of Toronto. Being surrounded by lush flora in the warmth of a greenhouse was the recharge I needed. The kids ran free, exploring here and there, and working together through a treasure hunt that had been organized by one of the moms. The children's delight was a joy to see. After the games the whole gang travelled a few block over to a vegan-friendly Ethiopian restaurant and enjoyed a remarkable spread.
There was a time when, for me, a weekend full of plans and obligations would have felt like a list of chores. Now, these experiences occur to me as opportunities, a pleasure, a second chance at life. Making a conscious choice to let things in, saying yes more often and experiencing things that I am not familiar with truly add to my experience of life as full and satisfying.