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It was easy to suggest Free Things To Do in Vancouver.
Yellowknife’s harder. There ain’t no Stanley Park or Starbucks here!

Thankfully, Yellowknife has a thriving citizen-engagement culture, so I’ve found a couple free activities that I really enjoy:

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1. Cinema Politica shows films that are eye-opening and informative, at least once a month. It’s by donation, and includes popcorn! To date I’ve viewed Blue Gold which has significant implications for the NWT, and Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai, the story of a Nobel Prize Winner who has started replanting trees in Africa. You’d be hard pressed not to leave inspired, awestruck by some of the activist work done, and much better informed.

2. I’ve also joined , for a dollar, AlternativesNorth, a social justice/green kinda group. We meet for lunch every Wednesday. It’s a crowd of well-informed, creative thinkers who hold out an worthy and exciting vision for the NWT. During those meetings, I’ve met the Minister of Finance, a woman documenting the effect of toxics on people in the North, a man writing a position paper on the Green Economy (or potential of) in the NWT – you get the picture! I mean, just imagine discussions about how to develop local-food initiatives in the frozen north. That takes chutzpah!

Well these freebies may not leave me as fit as a Seawall walk, my capacity as a citizen is growing by the week. I feel good about that!

Readers: over to you! What does your community have to offer, that’s free, or nearly? It doesn’t have to be political – just something interesting or fun or healthy, that’s free. You know, true north, strong, and FREE!

Photo Credit: Peretzpup

nancy_small2Folks, I’m middle aged. Despite the Norwegian dna which keeps me looking thirty-something, I am not.
I’m a fourty-something.

I recently had a birthday up here in Yellowknife. Because I scarcely know anyone, there were not the usual celebrations, but there was time to reflect on the cost/benefits of my aging. Happily, by my analysis, it’s a massive win on the benefits side: I’d far rather be my age with my experiences than any younger age.

Here are some things I have now which I didn’t have even in my thirties:

  • A hard-won inner sense of security. Some people (can I call them “kids” yet?) seem grounded in their twenties but most of us have insecurities and uncertainties that can send us into real tailspins. That hasn’t happened to me in years, thank God. Having weathered enough of life, there’s not much that causes me self-doubt. Life feels a lot better being grounded, and confident! It gives me a place from which to venture forth, and to risk. Yes to security!
  • Perspective. This can only be attained with the passing of years. For example, as a former conservative it took some life experience of my own to change my point of view – and so now, I hold positions a little less tenaciously, knowing I could again see things differently. It enables me to dialogue and seek creative solutions rather than be choked with frustration and discouragement. Yes to perspective.
  • Hope. I grew up during the cold war, when it was a very real possibility that we’d blow entire countries up and kill the planet. Remember The Day After? Like many of my cohort I understood that annihilation was imminent. Yet here I am. And the Berlin Wall is gone (remember the Pepsi advert that year?). On less catastrophic levels, I’ve seen political change for the better, I’ve seen the green movement really take hold, I’ve seen Apple take market share 🙂 Seriously – hope born of experiencing turn-arounds is energizing and keeps life full of good possibility. Yes to hope!
  • Tried, tested and true friendships. By now I have a handful of friends with whom I have a long history. They’ve seen me through break-ups, through career dramas, and through the vagaries of life. These are friendships with depth, honesty and strong support when needed. This is not to downplay my more recently developed friendships, but it’s those 15-20 year friendships that enabled me to move to Yellowknife, knowing they’ll be there when I return. Yes to long-term friends!
  • A fierce love of life. There’s nothing like shattered dreams and taking a series of personal hits to help you discover that life its very self is worth the living. When I was younger I kept hoping for the life on the commercials – financial security, romance, and some measure of success that would put me somehow in the spotlight. As a middle-aged woman, I’m much more interested in a life deeply lived than externally pleasing circumstances. Yes to life!
  • None of this is to diminish my life in my twenties and thirties. But with these wrinkles (Norwegian dna notwithstanding), and with my mildly arthritic fingers, and knowing I’ll soon lose the ability to have kids, with those costs, comes an ongoing engagement with life, and people, and politics, and love, and learning that has become richer and deeper with the years.

    Can’t wait to turn 50.

    -nancy

    Only the Aussies!  I love it!

    If Franke James can do it, so can I! (and we’re both saving money, too)

    What Franke James did was, The Hardest Thing First.   In her case as an urban dweller in Toronto, the hardest thing was

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    Photo Credit: Franke James,  creative commons

    My hardest thing?   I’m going to dry my laundry on a clothesline.

    Given I live in Yellowknife this can only occur until October, but I’ll be hanging up my stuff (I’ll use some discretion) on a clothesline I have in the backyard.

    When I was young, I thought of this as entirely gauche.  I hope other people don’t think that about me.   There’s something a tiny bit eco-chic in this, right?  Right?  Regardless, this will be my summer:

    2430043983_5843daf5c8Photo Credit: brockvicky Creative Commons

    @frankejames I reckon I’ll save myself about $40 or so.   Obviously your savings a much greater (ie. sans suv).  (hey, sans suv has a great slogan kinda feel, non?).   How much do you reckon you’ve saved since waving goodbye to your suv?

    Javaroma is now hiring:
    General Manager
    We are looking for someone with restaurant management experience and an entrepreneurial streak to take the reins of our very busy coffee shop. Our GM must be a hard working individual who can both lead by example and take a step back to analyze and optimize our operation. Compensation will include a competitive base salary and a significant bonus based on daily sales targets.
    If you think you can improve Javaroma, we need you and we will reward you for your results.
    E-mail resume and cover letter to adrianbell AT theedge  DOT ca or call 873-5047. In your cover letter, please tell us how you would help Javaroma reach its potential.

    Nancy’s note @danebro  you *know* you want to  🙂

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