Last night, an old friend from high school passed away. I found out about it this morning, predictably, through Facebook. Although she and I hadn’t had a face-to-face conversation in nearly two decades, I knew from keeping in touch via social media that she had married her high school sweetheart (a man she fell head over heels for the moment she met him) and together, they raised two wonderful boys.

My friend was my age. Yes, she had been sick for quite some time, but she was my age. I’m sure both of our 16-year-old young and foolish selves would have looked at our current selves and thought we were old as dirt. Only my friend won’t get the chance to be old as dirt. She won’t get the chance to dance at her children’s weddings. Or bounce a cherished grandchild on her knee. Or live her every dream. And that’s not fair.

My family has survived a lot in the past few months, but we’re all still here, and still together. Today, I made it a point to live in the moment to honour my friend.

I went on a field trip with my son’s class, not caring that the wee hands gathered around the table at the art studio were covered in white glue were leaving messy prints on my t-shirt. I picked up my kids and headed for the park after school for nearly two hours, letting them run around in the dirt, all loud voices and running feet. I bought them each an ice cream cone, and enjoyed one myself (a scarcely affordable luxury right now in our home). For once, I didn’t nag them about the melting ice cream dripping onto their hands and down their shirt fronts. I just watched their faces as they enjoyed their cones, revelling in their joy. My children don’t know I lost a friend today. They’re barely old enough to register the finality of death. All they know is that mommy hugged them extra tight this morning. And bought them ice cream this afternoon.

Life’s too short is a cliche, but in my friend’s case, that cliche couldn’t be truer. Rest in peace, my friend. You will be missed and always loved.


On Creating A Ruckus

First, an apology. I haven’t written a new post in a very long time. It was not my intent, and any content manager worth their pay (me included) would typically lose their mind over an untended blog – think of the valuable online cred you’re losing! But, as the Beatles song Beautiful Boy says, life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans (for a deeper explanation, see my last post, I Am Grateful). Since that post, my loved one was happily released from hospital, but then my daughter and I got sick. I lost a couple of great opportunities, but then uncovered more. Now I’m back with a clearer focus and a huge appreciation for life. Apparently, being faced with mortality does that to a person.

Back to the post at hand though…

On Wednesday June 5, me, and 1899 others, were privileged to attend The Art of Marketing Conference here in Toronto. The speakers were a veritable who’s who of the marketing/creative world – David Usher, Seth Godin, Jonah Berger, Charles Duhigg and Biz Stone. I found out Tuesday afternoon that I was the lucky winner of a ticket (otherwise, I would have never been able to attend) from Renbor Sales Solutions Inc. (Special thank you shout-out to Tibor Shanto).

While all the speakers were amazing and so, so inspiring, one comment stood out to me. Just as Seth Godin was leaving the stage, he said, “create a ruckus.”

Such a simple phrase – and one that would take many of us back to Max’s words from Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Things AreĀ (Although the correct phrase is, “Let the wild rumpus start!”). But for grown-up me, I thought about it. How long has it been since I created a ruckus about something I was passionate about? How long has it been since I questioned the status quo? The answer struck me almost as quickly – it’s been too long.

We all get caught up in the day-to-day. The hustle and bustle. The crazy thing we called life. But I’m thinking lately that all of the events that have happened to me and my family over the past six months have led to this moment. This challenge to create a ruckus. I am so, so ready.

My ruckus will be simple and quiet. But it will be all mine. And, Seth, if you’re reading, consider this your challenge accepted.