Heather’s blog: What do you do when you’ve realized your dreams?January 19, 2016
By Heather Bonynge
I have never been one for making New Year’s resolutions. I am someone, though, who finds myself reflecting on the year passed, and plotting the year to come each time the new year approaches.
A lot happened in 2015. It was one of the biggest years of my life! I rang in 2015 by telling my current employer that I would no longer be working with them in the optical industry, and that I had been given the opportunity to pursue a new career path in financial planning. This was a huge relief!
I had been so unhappy for so long in a job I had worked hard at for 13 years, but I had been unable to find any joy in it for over six years. My move into financial planning made me feel like I had new objectives, motivation, drive, and a sense of purpose again. It was change, and with change I have always found the opportunity for growth and renewal. I was stoked!
My work as a YACCtivist continued to thrive as well. I was invited to speak in more schools, I had the opportunity to return as emcee at the Survivor Conference in Toronto, and my story helped to inspire Sutherland School to host the first ever Shave for the Brave in Saskatchewan!
I have been a YACCtivist for two years now, and the goal I set for myself right from the beginning was that I wanted to share my story with a gymnasium full of students someday. In fact, if I’m being honest, I figured that is what I would be doing right from the start! (P.S., it’s not quite that easy.)
I had to start out small, develop my speaking skills, and build my reputation and relationships within the community. Then, at the beginning of October, it happened! I was invited to speak to the entire student body at Forest Grove School. I gave a number of presentations at the school, and during one of them, I found myself standing in front of a gymnasium full of students from grades four to eight. I don’t know how the students felt, but I was in absolute awe. My presentation had somehow erased itself just as the classes were filing into the gym, and I was quickly browsing through my past presentations seeing which one I could use to just “wing it” for the 200 expectant students looking at me from their seats. Somehow, even amongst the unwelcome chaos and mishaps, I remember just being able to stop and give my attention to the picture in front of me.
This is what I had waited and worked so hard for. I am living my dream. I had this overwhelming feeling of emotion suddenly come over me, and this little voice in my head whisper, “This is it. You made it!”
My role as a YACCtivist lead to another dream being achieved in 2015. Since I was 17 years old, I had wanted a career in media, communications, and event planning. Life happened, and for a long time I pushed that ambition aside. I pursued different options and tried to create alternative paths, but the drive and desire to follow that road never died.
Shortly after my work with Sutherland School’s Shave for the Brave in June, I received an email from the program director of Saskatoon’s largest radio group asking me to meet him for coffee to discuss a position that had opened up with their company. Well, four “coffees” later, they offered me the job!
So here we are, three weeks into 2016 and over the past few weeks, I have found myself thinking, “What do I do now that I seem to have accomplished all of my goals, and I am living the life I love?” All of these things may have lined up and fallen into place, and at first when I started reflecting on them, it seemed that maybe I had nothing left to work towards. I have realized that there are no limits to growth, renewal, and discovery! The possibilities are infinite!
By being diagnosed with cancer at the young age of 27, and through my subsequent role as a YACCtivist, I have gained incredible insight into the core of who I am as a person, the way I aspire to live, and the values that drive me there each day. At no point — goals, dreams, or otherwise — does that essence ever diminish, and at no point will the possibilities of what I can do with it ever come to an end.
One thing I have learned as I have written and re-written 100 versions of my story, and shared my blogs with so many of you, is that so many of the aspirations and the qualities I had as a child and as a teenager still pertain to the person I am today.
Children live without restraint or fear. They are honest, and always express genuine enthusiasm and joy. So much of who we are at our core comes from the way we lived and the dreams we had as children. These characteristics are still present in me today, and they define a large part on how I choose to live my life every day moving forward.
That means that although it seemed like I had accomplished everything when I reflected back on 2015, there is still so much more I can do with those values that define me as a person. My mission statement is:
Love. CONNECTION. Life.
Those three things in my life are continuous, so the possibilities of what I can do with them are neverending. How can I love someone more today? What can I do to share a connection with people or more greatly connect with myself? What will I do today to live life to the fullest?
One thing I have always wanted to do since I was a child was be a singer on Broadway! I can’t predict what 2016 will have in store, and it may not be Broadway, but you just may see me singing and dancing on a stage near you (possibly not very well)!
Here’s to 2016 being unleashed, taking risks, and embracing our inner child living with honesty, enthusiasm and joy!
Live life on purpose,