100. My favourite day of the year

Last year, on July 17, 2010 I posted my 50th blog (50. Nothing rules our lives).

It began this way;

Today is my 50th.

My fiftieth blog.

And the nagging suspicions I had borne for many months were instantly confirmed. My legions of loyal readers glance briefly at the opening sentence of each posting before heading off in search of more interesting and salient reading matter and within a few short hours of posting this masterpiece I had received several dozen responses wishing me a happy 50th birthday.

As I had passed that milestone several years earlier I was somewhat flattered by the response and attributed much of it to my youthful and vibrant appearance which is the result of a lifetime commitment to healthy eating, rigorous exercise, abundant sleep and always thinking happy thoughts.

Those of you who know me will, undoubtedly, attest to the truthfulness of the above.

Or not.

I was tempted to begin today’s posting with the words Today is my 100th but I’m not sure if I’m ready to accept the inevitable birthday greetings that such a statement would generate.

When I began this blog writing odyssey I was not sure how long this would continue. I have the attention span of a gnat and so my initial commitment to myself was to post a few blogs and then switch to a new hobby (perhaps macramé) and my early postings were sporadic with the first appearing on August 24, 2009 and others following at varying intervals until sometime around January 2010 I began to settle into my existing pattern of subjecting my readers to the agony of a new blog each Saturday.

Ever since shifting my posting date to Saturdays I have established a weekly ritual which begins at dinner each Thursday when I sadly inform my long suffering wife, Gimalle, that I have no thoughts regarding a topic for that Saturday and can she help?

This would continue through Friday and I would wake up each Saturday in a panic and frantically write something that morning that I would then post around noon.

This tradition has continued right up until last Saturday although I have noticed lately – the last 18 months or so – that Gimalle seems to roll her eyes and then change the subject whenever I mention the word blog during Thursday dinners.

This posting is different. I am writing this on a Friday. Today is Friday, July 1, 2011. A day of happiness for all Canadians as we celebrate the 144th birthday of our magnificent nation.

And for me Canada Day, July 1st will always have extra special significance for it was on this day two years ago that I wrote a few paragraphs in an email to a friend explaining why I had not responded to her voice mail and email.

I had spent the previous two days in hospital and had returned home on the evening of June 30th.  I had not been feeling well and had gone to a medi-clinic which resulted in the above mentioned hospital stay.

The following morning, July 1, 2009, I checked my email to find several messages of concern from her. In my haste I had forgotten to call her to cancel a scheduled meeting.

I decided to reply to her most recent email as I only had her office number, and wrote what later became blog #9. I’m all heart.   October 7, 2009.

She replied almost immediately to my email, commented that she thought it was really funny  and asked my permission to forward it to several of friends.

Naturally I consented and within a week I had received more than 25 emails from people as far away as Australia, South Africa, Cairo and Israel writing to say how much they had enjoyed reading of my hospital experience.

Up to this point in my life I had been reluctant to write anything. My discomfort in writing anything was as close to a phobia as is possible and I frequently walked away from business opportunities rather than write a proposal when asked to do so.

I’m not sure where this fear of writing came from but the feelings of panic and despair that presented themselves whenever I thought of writing were palpable and numbing.

So as I read those emails I realized that the only way I would ever overcome this fear was to commit myself to a regimen of regular writing – hence my blog.

I committed to posting 25 blogs with the intention of then hanging up my keyboard as I believed that 25 postings would be more than enough for me to have overcome a lifelong fear.

And so I wrote the first one.

And then the second one.

And then the third one.

And the evening after I posted blog number three I began writing a story. And I added a piece to that story here and another piece to that story there over several months and I finally finished writing that story on Christmas Eve 2009.

And I then spent the better part of two months trying to come up with a name for that story. I began a list and kept adding to it whenever a thought struck me. By the end of January 2010 my list had more that 300 possibilities and not a single one that I liked.

One day in February 2010 as I was looking to find something I had written in an earlier posting, I found myself drawn to the subtitle of my blog which states that “life sinks or soars to the beat of our thoughts” and a name popped into my head.

I decided to call my story “Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours” and create a book out of it.

Two dear and talented friends, Debbie Middleton-Hope and Peter Colnett, working independently (they have never met) produced a delightful cover and I self published the book.

For those of you unfamiliar with the publishing industry, “self published” is a grandiose term for printing something you have written. Generally this is accomplished by paying a printing company to print your work for you. The term is used to boost the delicate and fragile ego’s of people like me who are unable to persuade a real publishing company to publish their books.

Arguably, if you have ever designed your own business card and then printed a few of them, you can lay claim to the title of being a published author.

I placed an initial order for 100 books as at that time I truly believed I could sell perhaps twenty copies, give away another twenty and place the remaining 60 in a box in the storage room.

And, of course, tell the world I am now a published author.

To my absolute surprise and delight I have now sold over 3,000 copies of the book and continue to ship books from my office every day.

What has surprised me are the many organizations that have called and ordered several dozen copies of the book.

And none of this would have happened were it not for Canada Day.

Had I returned from hospital on an ordinary week day I would have called my friend at her office.

But it was Canada Day and I did not have her home or cell phone number so I explained my strange disappearance in an email.

And because I wrote that email she forwarded it to several friends who forwarded it to several friends. And so on.

And because the email was forwarded around the world many people were exposed to its content.

And because many people were exposed to its content more than twenty-five of them chose to send me their comments.

And because their comments were flattering I was encouraged to make one final attempt to overcome a lifelong fear.

And because of their encouragement I was inspired to begin writing a blog.

And because so many of you sent me emails praising my early postings I began writing a story.

And because your encouraging emails kept coming in each week my story became a book.

And because of your continuing support I am now writing my 100th blog.

And I am so very grateful to all of you for all your support and encouragement. Those emails you send each week mean everything to me.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I love all of you.

And I love Canada.

And I love being a Canadian.

And I particularly love Canada Day.

Till we read again.

P.S. Click here and enjoy a free chapter of Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours. If you would like to purchase your own copy you can email me at rael@raelkalley.com or you can click here and Mike at Self Connection will instantly ship a copy to you.

4 thoughts on “100. My favourite day of the year

  1. John Middleton-Hope Reply

    This is as close to 100 anything you’ll get so enjoy it. As you know I have been in Armenia for the past 2 1/2 months (I return this weekend). This is my 6th international mission with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and I (and on occasion my wife) have been to places in the world I would not have imagined; all former Soviet or post conflict countries. And so I hosted a Canada Day celebration complete with balloons and flags and pins (courtesy of the Canadian Consulate) and I had a large cake baked in the shape of a Canadian flag. I found ‘O Canada’s’ various versions on You Tube and let the people here see and sense just a little of what Canada is all about. It is always a special day and one to celebrate achievement and pride. You my friend should celebrate too. 100 anything is a milestone, congratulations! JMH

  2. Michael Girard Reply

    Dear Rael,

    Congrats on your 100th blog.
    I have truly enjoyed reading every one of them. Your insightful and humourous way of looking at life’s personnal and professional challenges and opportunities is wonderfully refreshing.
    Also enjoyed reading your book again.
    Please keep them coming!!

    Your friend,


  3. Verna Bowen Reply

    Happy 100th! (big grin) Oh, and I too have fallen into the grandiose illusion of being a “published” author. Man! It feels great! Huge! So BIG that Doug and I are taking a balloon ride tomorrow!

    Seriously now, congratulations on Blog Number 100! That truly IS huge, Rael.

    Keep writing. Your book is one of those amazing, quick reads that gets right to the point of what everyone who is struggling needs to hear.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *