Saying Yes to Life

When it comes to surprises, I love when something completely blows me away and changes how I see myself, who I am, and my worldview.

It’s never something I can predict, and whatever I have known up until that time changes forever – a turnaround that alters my mindset, beliefs and prejudices.

Take, for example, machinists.

Engine Hoist - Engineered, fabricated, welded & owned by Donald

Engine Hoist – Engineered, fabricated, welded & owned by Donald

I met one at a dance class.

Donald was one of several crew members who volunteered helping the owner-teacher of CEROC Canada with her two weekly modern jive classes.

He had worked for over 22 years at UBC, in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, teaching students how to make their inventions and supporting PhD research.

What he built and modified – robotics, medical probes, motors, anechoic chambers – were another world to me.

So, being the intellectual knowledge worker (snob) that I was, I had never dated a blue-collar technician.

What I found was a gentle, loving and responsible man caring for his two 90-year old parents, both with dementia, in his childhood home. 

He had refused to abandon these two people who had had him late, had cared for him extensively, and had done so with great determination during his challenging and sickly first 17 years. 

With some trepidation (what would Miriam think?), he brought me home.

His mom was tickled for him and within months left this earth happy.

His dad couldn’t get over Donald’s unexpected find.

After selling the house, two of the three other siblings took their dad to live with them until his death, and Donald, at 48, moved out.

A year later I moved in with him and Jackie, his male cat.

[Tweet “When it comes to surprises, I love when something completely blows me away.”]

The Unexpected

SURPRISEDIn the last 4½ years, I surprised myself at least three times.

First, I said yes to going out for coffee with Donald, and I’m so grateful that I stayed long enough to see who he was. 

Second, I surprised myself by welcoming love at 56.

And finally, the deep love I felt for our cat Jackie was completely unexpected. He nestled into my soul as if I’d known him forever.

You see, I had never even noticed animals before. As our connection grew, I couldn’t recognize myself. Suddenly every animal cracked me open.

Last summer Jackie, fiercely loved, died of cancer at 16. Magically, during the most distressing grieving for Jackie, we rescued 2½ year old Simon 10 days later.

Though Simon likes Donald better (who wouldn’t?), most days I’m okay with that.

And just to surprise you, Donald comes with me to C.G. Jung Society lectures and almost never falls asleep. If he does, you can be assured that I am nodding off, too.

Over To You

Is there something in your life that if you were to do it today would turn life as you know it on its head?

What would truly blow your mind or even mildly surprise you?

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© Miriam Linderman 2015

Bottom photo credit: Orin Zebest / Foter / CC BY

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  1. Very sweet story, Miriam. Give our love to Donald.

    Nice that you have a new feline member in your family again.



  2. Thank you for reading and being there supporting me always. Love to you.

  3. Beautiful! Saying “yes” can result in some pretty amazing things.
    Thank you for sharing this….I adore you both — and Simon by proxy!

  4. Hi Miriam

    How lovely to find out how you and Donald met. I admire you for taking the time to look beyond first impressions and find out who your partner really is.

    Kate x

  5. Kate, the one reason I looked beyond first impressions is because I had learned the hard way that sometimes the ones that look good are most unfortunate partners. I highly suggest keeping an open mind and heart. Always. We put people in boxes and they become objects. This time, with help, I saw what was so obvious. I am SO lucky.

  6. Thanks Barb. Maybe that’s the whole point, to keep an open mind and warm heart!

  7. Love how you invite us to laugh with you at your unexpected discoveries and capture our imagination so that we will pay more attention to the unexpected around us.

  8. Thanks Mo for sharing here. And yes, it sure helps when don’t take ourselves so seriously because actually our humanity is quite funny.

  9. Love your honesty Miriam, and it’s great to read more about you and what makes you tick.
    It’s great advice to look beyond first impressions. I am quite decisive (sometimes too much) and I’m learning to slow down and hold on to my impression/ decision for a while and this serves me so much better.
    Thank you

  10. Yes lovely post Miriam. It’s the magic in every day isn’t it. If you keep your eyes open there is magic everywhere but it’s subtle and so often we are too busy to notice and brush on by. What lovely things happen when we take a moment to stop and look 🙂

  11. Lesley, it took a lifetime of unconscious choices to come to this understanding and wisdom. I’m also quite aware that what I see and notice on first encounter has a lot to do with my state of mind and level of openness and if I have some fear associated with the encounter. Warm and observant is a good way for me. Thanks.

  12. Thanks Rosemarie. You are so right. It takes but a second to slow down and feel what’s good about the day and what’s beautiful to our eyes. Then, savour it. So yummy.

  13. “He nestled into my soul as if I’d known him forever.” oh how that sentence rings true of my experience of falling completely in love with a partner for (probably) the first time at the age of 41. Once you experience that type of love…nothing else will ever do x Lovely story!

  14. Lisa, anytime in life, love is a gift to receive. Sometimes people think it’s late, and it’s never too late if you are still alive! xo

  15. You are such a beautiful writer – thank you!!!!! I am inspired.

  16. Julie, I am so grateful that you are in my life. From the day I arrived in Vancouver almost 7 years ago until, look at how we have transformed our lives. Who could have anticipated it? The miracle of courage and saying YES! xo

  17. Linda Reynolds June 25, 2015 — 7:16 am

    I knew you met Donald at Ceroc but was happy to hear your thoughts on the process. Ceroc changed my life. When I started I was recovering from a heart attack and knew that I needed to get more exercise. I never liked going to the gym or jogging but had always enjoyed dancing so I joined. I got more than I bargained for. Increased activity = better physical health, but more importantly Increased sociability = better mental health. What a great group of people I met at Ceroc, including Donald, who started at the same time as me and of course, you. Love to you both.

  18. Linda, isn’t it amazing what we don’t know about people? Who could have known about what brought you dancing? Wow. Someone remarked on that post yesterday which is why I put it back up. There is something freeing about naming the truth and “outing” myself. I remember writing the piece with humour about the judgments I had had.

    Last night, I spoke with a friend who is recently dating again. I explained how patient Donald had been with me. Out of a traumatic divorce, I was terrified of him – or rather – of dating and men and my history. He was/is the last man on earth one would worry about fearing. So happy he stuck it out.

    Thanks for your comment. You are in my heart.

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