Thu, 05/03/2012 - 11:35am



Rita Holowenko

Being forty has brought to me moments of revelation, nostalgia, and sometimes what-if’s.

Becoming forty is a time we reflect on our life, the path we have taken, and the paths we haven't.  Many times, we realize that we have had enough of the negative influences and decide to leave them behind -- be it a bad marriage, bad habits, or negative influences. Of course, many are fortunate to be blessed with the good things - be it home and family, career, friends.

It’s a time to take stock of what our wishes and dreams were when we were twenty, and how we might have wandered away. Either we take steps to fulfill them for ourselves, or we assess what we’ve accomplished and keep going in the same direction.

For me, my dream was to become a teacher ever since I was a little girl.  I went to university, intending to fill out my destiny I had planned for myself. I loved university, so much that I convocated with two majors and a minor because I enjoyed learning. I intended to follow my first degree with a Bachelor of Education degree. That didn’t happen. I used to say life interrupted, but I know now that it was life interrupting life. I met my husband, got a job that I loved, and had a family.

Seventeen years later, I have started a new endeavour I enjoy with a passion. I have no regrets about the paths I have taken, I sometimes just wonder where I could have gone or what I could have done. But that is it, because had I followed the other journey, I would not have what I have now. I didn’t trade one in for the other. I simply lived my life.

I admire my friends and their successes in education and career, and sometimes I do feel wistful about the additional degrees and letters I don’t have to follow my name. But is that what makes me a better person, is that what proves my worth?

For me, it’s the people around me, and how I take part in their life and they in mine that shows what I am worth.  It’s not just family, I prove and challenge myself everyday with my family. It’s friendship, it’s people I encounter daily, it’s interactions and letting others know they are valuable. It’s kindness, and not judging. We don’t always have the time to maintain our close friendships every day, it’s about the time we do have with our friends that maintain us.

I lost my one of my best friends a couple of years ago, and as I sat beside his hospital bed he managed to pull his mask away slightly from his mouth and whispered “you’re a good friend”. Those were the last words he said to me. In those two seconds, with his last breaths, he gave me more than any designation could. And really, that’s all that matters. How have you treated others, and yourself? I know the letters I want behind my name to be f-r-i-e-n-d.


This blog is dedicated to E.E.