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Unanticipated joy-starters. What are yours?

On Nov. 12, it will be a year since emigrating from South Africa. Presumably, it's natural that I'd become nostalgic at this juncture. Melancholy for the familiarity of my 'old’ life still hits, however Kelowna feels like home now – thanks to the continued warm welcome of its residents.

<who> Photo Credit: Keryn Delaney </who>

I am fortunate that a lot of the writing work I do is positive in content. When I’m overwhelmed by the changes, it refocuses me to look at the GOOD rather than the trials. For example, this article was inspired by the work one of my clients is doing.

Celynn Morin is a Wellness Professional and her latest drive is 100 days of celebration. Each day in the countdown to the new year you do or observe something that inspires personal curiosity, connection and celebration. Also, check out this powerful Ted Talk: Where Joy Hides and How to Find it.

Due to my emigration milestone, I chose to take a retrospective stance on her concept. I went back and plucked out 8 key joy-starter moments of the past year. It’s been a cathartic, powerful exercise and one that I highly recommend. You may well find that there is more good than bad that has come your way this year.

1. Snow

  • Arriving at Kelowna International Airport to a winter wonderland. I had never been in snow and felt honoured that snowflakes had chosen to fall early in the season, touching our upturned faces in gentle ‘welcoming’ gesture.
  • Our first drive to Big White when I became entranced by snow’s monochromatic artistry.
  • The first squeak of fresh powder beneath my snow boots and the toffee-apple crack of ice underfoot.
  • Standing atop a ski slope for the first time and marvelling at this land of magical, sparkly glitter.

<who> Photo Credit: Keryn Delaney </who>

2. Flowers

  • The showy vibrancy of picture-perfect springtime tulips dotted around Kelowna and the burst of flowers in well-tended gardens.

<who> Photo Credit: Keryn Delaney </who>

  • Being handed a frail sunflower clipping by a wizened old man, then watching with joy as this slip unexpectedly grew to well over 7-foot when replanted in our flower bed. In turn it gave us great joy to cut off fresh flowers and hand them to delighted, passer-by toddlers.

<who> Photo Credit: Keryn Delaney </who>

3. Canadian kindness

  • My first and SO thoughtful Canadian friend, Amy, bought me Marmite to remind me of South Africa and Cherry Syrup and Cedar Creek wine to welcome me to Canada. It lifted my spirits after just having arrived. We met by chance when her parcel was delivered to our door in error.

<who> Photo Credit: Keryn Delaney </who>

4. Birds

  • Watching the variety of birds at our bird feeder bought endless joy. Moms feeding their highly demanding chicks amused me, and the innocent trust of these babies felt like a gift from heaven.
  • Standing atop Knox Mountain and watching the Bald Eagles soar.

<who> Photo Credit: Keryn Delaney </who>

5. Lakes

  • Diving into THE most beautiful lake I have ever seen near Whistler.
  • Swimming in a lake for the first time at Bear Creek National Park.

<who> Photo Credit: Keryn Delaney </who>

  • Spontaneously dancing on a jetty to music booming from boats on the lake.
  • Playing on a jet-ski at Okanagan Beach Club

<who> Photo Credit: Keryn Delaney </who>

6. Toby

  • Receiving the email that my Great Dane pup, Toby has made it to the next assessment round of the UBC BARK program (Building Academic Retention Through K9s). The therapy dog dream is beginning to take shape.

<who> Photo Credit: Keryn Delaney </who>

7. Doc Martins

  • Having the excuse to wear them again thanks to a cooler climate.

<who> Photo Credit: Keryn Delaney </who>

8. Freedom

  • Walking and cycling in and around Kelowna and feeling safe doing so.

<who> Photo Credit: Keryn Delaney </who>

As I witness the summer blossoms begin to close and the gentle red, brown and orange ‘bruising’ begin to appear on leaf tips, I feel grateful to live in Kelowna. Here, life is always bursting with little, underground fountains of joy that burst through the sometimes tough surface of life. We are lucky. All of us are lucky. Every season brings fresh opportunity to experience moments of unanticipated joy – and be mindful of them!

<who> Photo Credit: Keryn Delaney </who>

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