I talk a lot about thriving. Awesome! Sign me up. Great! Lets do it. Who doesn’t want to thrive? BUT…Wait a minute – how do you actually go about thriving again?
In tangible terms, thriving means different things to different people. As we are all different, we all experience ourselves in unique ways and define what is of importance to ourselves individually. For me, one way I know that I am thriving in my life is when I am surrounded by the people that I love most. Conversely when I am just managing life, or just surviving, I tend to isolate myself.
As a woman in my early thirties, I am surrounded by friends with careers, life-partners and children. With each passing year it is harder and harder for us to get together, so we have had to acknowledge that we’re not able to meet every week for a drink or coffee easily like we were able to when we were younger, and force ourselves to make our time ritual and meaningful.
Among my closest friends – a combination of my elementary, high school, university, and work associates – we make up a large, tight-knit group of men and women. The men in our group are actually quite brilliant at getting together weekly as they joined sports teams that they would play on together. The guys acknowledged that they enjoy watching sports, playing sports, and playing sports with their friends.
Personally, in becoming a woman with physical disabilities I am unable to play physical sports, so I had to think of different activities to do and be able to share with my friends. I have a love of reading. Pre-car accident I was an undergraduate student studying English Literature, so once I was out of the hospital and needed to learn how to resocialize, I joined a woman’s group – The Canadian Federation of University Women – and joined their reading group. I learned that I could enjoy my personal past-time with a group of women and share my thoughts towards the book. This enabled me my first taste of thriving. I realized that I could start my own book club comprised of my own choice of members.
And so our book club was born. We call it BCBC – ‘Burbs/City Book Club – as some of the ladies live in the suburbs and some live in the City. We rotate our meetings from suburban locations to City locations so that it is only a long drive out for each member every other meeting. To keep things consistent we only meet every other month. Whomever hosts get to pick the book, offer yummy treats, and lead the discussion.
We meet for a few hours on Sunday afternoon, and while we meet under the guise of discussing our thoughts on the book, it is also a brilliant forum for us to share relationship news, work struggles and triumphs, and just connect as girlfriends. Who knew reading could lead to a thriving life? But it does!
An upcoming book selected is by Canadian author Tanis Rideout. This idea spring up from a girlfriend who is actually in the literature industry. Catherine keeps us abreast of all of the Canadian industry hot topics, and right now ‘Above All Things’ is earning all kinds of critical acclaim. This book choice comes as a very personal victory for me, as Tanis and I were colleagues a decade ago and became very dear friends.
At the time of my accident, we were so close in fact that post accident Tanis was inspired to write “Velocity“, a series of short poems about me, my accident, and the affect it had on our lives. Velocity is defined as the speed of an object and a specification of its direction of motion. While speed describes how fast an object is moving, velocity gives both how fast and in what direction the object is moving. Tanis was alluding to the fact that pre-accident I had a brilliant tragectory moving forward and because of the accident I was prone to moving backwards or at least stagnate, but because of my positivity and tenacity to forge ahead Tanis repeats throughout the seventeen poems that “You have never been still to me, even now”. Moving forward, trudging ahead, remaining positive: these are all characteristics of thriving. And for me, so is reading–and reading with my girlfriends.