- I am lucky to exist. 200 million sperm competed to fertilize an egg, and I am the winner.
- I am lucky to be born. It is estimated that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage.
- I am lucky to be alive. 3.9% of children worldwide die before age five. I had meningitis at the age of 2 and lost 1/3 of my bodyweight in a matter of days.
- I am lucky that I can read. 1% of adults over 15 in Canada cannot.
- I am lucky to be physically well. 44% of adults in Canada live with chronic illness.
- I am lucky to own a home. 1% of Canadians are homeless. 37% of Canadians rent.
- I am lucky to be a dad. 48.9% of Canadian couples do not have children.
- I am lucky to never have to worry about my or my family's next meal. 4 million people in Canada experience food insecurity.
- I am lucky to have money in the bank. Over half of Canadians live paycheque to paycheque.
- I am lucky that I do not struggle with addiction or criminal behaviour. 75% of men in addiction treatment programs experienced childhood trauma. 62-87% of male inmates reported experiencing some form of trauma in childhood.
It's easy to fall into thinking traps and feel sorry for yourself when you've been through some shit. It's far more effective to realize that you've been through some shit, made it through to the other side, and are SO LUCKY to be where you are today.
I've made it a priority in my adult life to give back, both financially and with my time, to persons and agencies in a few key areas:
- Women's rights, and agencies that support keep them safe. I saw my mom get beat enough times by my former stepdad to do what I can to try to stop that from happening to anyone else.
- Poverty reduction. Going hungry at times sucks. Wearing the same clothes every day is hard for kids. I can do my part to try to help ensure people have access to what they need to survive and thrive.
- Physical health and wellness, including mental health. I live with an anxiety disorder. In the past, I've eaten away my feelings as a coping mechanism. I've had 7 major knee surgeries and been on the shelf for extended periods of time. I will do what I can to ensure people have the resources and confidence to access physical and emotional health and wellness.
Believe the hype. There are some bad non profits and charities out there lighting donor dollars on fire to further their own selfish interests. But there are far more agencies out there giving so much hope where hope is lost.
This gratitude I live with, even on days when I have to part the storm clouds to find it, is the foundation for my emphasis on giving back and being kind to others.
Because I could've just as easily been another statistic.
But instead, I am lucky.
I don't feel sorry for myself, and I don't want you to pity me either. Feeling pity makes my skin crawl. Instead, celebrate with me everything we are and where we have ended up despite the obstacles in our path.
Celebrate your own luck by initiating an intentional kind act today, and make someone else's day.