Basking in the Warmth and Being Grateful for What I Have

For the past few weeks, local television and radio stations have been reporting on how unseasonably warm it’s been here in Ottawa and how it’s affecting Winterlude, skating on the Rideau Canal, and small businesses.

My opinions on this matter will be unpopular, but I’m glad it has been so warm and there’s less snow. Less snow and warmer temperatures mean that I can get out and about, be productive, and see more of my friends.

I don’t have to worry about getting stuck in the snow or my hands getting cold and numb.

It’s been great for me and other people with mobility issues.

Another group that doesn’t mind the warmer temperatures is the unhoused, living in tents or on the streets. It seems they only get mentioned when it’s freezing cold or very hot, the tents bother others, or agencies are seeking donations.

Why does the media focus on the negative? Why do most people ignore unhoused people, and often people with disabilities?

This may come as a surprise to many, but unhoused people are people, too. Much like you and me, they have stories to share. Some have families, some have worked or continue to work, have an education, etc.

With all of the hatred and violence that is happening in the world, why can’t we be kinder and gentler to each other?

Why can’t we consider other people? In this case, how has the warmer weather made it easier for some people to live and be productive?

On Saturday, I checked out 613flea and PopX, which took place at TD Place/Lansdowne Park. Both events were fun and extremely busy. I don’t think they would be as busy if it was -10 or -20 degrees with tons of snow.

There are three sides to every story:

1. Yours
2. Theirs
3. The truth

So, where’s my positive spin?

As some of you may know, over the past several weeks, I’ve talked about my journey of being more mindful and present in my life and towards others.

This week, my message is simple.

Be considerate of others. Don’t just think about the bigger picture or make it about you. I don’t understand why some people are so frustrated about not being able to skate on the Rideau Canal. Yes, it’s fun, good exercise and a part of what the city is known for.

Also, yes, climate change is a thing, a scary thing. However, your life will continue, even if you can’t skate. You will be able to go home and have a hot shower.

Only some people can do that. Some people can go home after a day out or work.

So, why are people so upset when they can’t skate on the canal?

I don’t understand. Maybe it’s easier for me to say this because Winterlude isn’t overly wheelchair accessible, so I have very little desire towards Winterlude.

I’m neither bitter nor angry about Winterlude nor hope it fails.

In my case, warmer weather means I can go out more and feel a little more like myself. On Saturday, I was genuinely grateful to see friends, support local artists, and enjoy nature even for a few hours.

Those are some of my happy places and moments.

At a very young age, I learned to appreciate the little things in life. I also learned to be grateful for what I have, what I can do, and the people in my life. As I got older, I often forgot that lesson and took things for granted.

Nowadays, if I can’t do something, I do something else I enjoy. The only exception is when I can’t do something strictly because of places that aren’t wheelchair accessible. That’s another story I will always be happy to share, educate others about, and get upset about. Even with that, I’ve been rolling back a bit and trying not to let it get to me.

However, similar to what I was saying earlier about skaters. Not to state the obvious, but Ottawa also has ice skating rinks in different locations that are made to survive warmer winters. There are also plenty of outdoor activities you can enjoy even if you can’t walk or skate on the Rideau Canal.

The news reports don’t always need to be depressing. Don’t they realize they’re contributing to a mental health crisis?

You can’t skate or walk on the Rideau Canal, nor can I. Do something else you enjoy. It’s not the end of the world.

Tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone. Be grateful for what you have and the things you CAN do today.

Photo: @siobhanwanders