In the 22 years that I’ve lived in the Fraser Valley, I don’t think there’s ever been an occasion when the snow and cold has lasted this long.
If I remember correctly, the first big dump that stayed came December 5, five weeks ago today.
We’ve heard a lot of complaining about it: Icy streets, fender-benders, shortages of salt (if you’re in Vancouver), Christmas parties cancelled, New Year’s Eve parties spoiled.
But life must go on. We find ways to adapt and overcome the challenges. And most of us do alright, despite the circumstances. Our goals are big enough to meet the occasional challenge.
Some of us even find delight in them. We got a white Christmas. The news was filled with stories of people skating and playing hockey on Trout Lake in Vancouver. Here in Abbotsford, the same occurred on Willband Slough (and, it was likely the same in every community). For once, we could identify with the stereotypes of a Canadian winter, maybe even feel “truly Canadian.”
Growing up on the prairies where the dumps of snow tended to be larger and last longer, we would take advantage of them by building snow forts and tunnels, even the occasional igloo. I remember spending one entire Christmas break shovelling snow off the outdoor rink—again, and again, and again– for a game of shinny. When we finally got it all cleared, it was almost New Year’s.
This whole winter episode reminds me more generally of life, and how we tend to react to it.
Some people always blame their situation in life on circumstances. Things just don’t seem to go their way. Every time they try to get ahead, something comes along to derail their efforts: an economic downturn, layoffs, an illness, a family circumstance. You name it, people have an excuse for why they can’t get ahead. And why they’re (naturally) miserable.
It’s a convenient way of deflecting personal responsibility for our situation in life.
The fact is, it’s the attitude, not the circumstances that keep them in their miserable situation.
There are others who find a way to make the most of every circumstance, whether good or bad. They plan for success, and when circumstances come along that threaten the plan, they find a detour around, or a path through, the circumstances.
There are basically three ways that we can react to challenges that threaten us.
1. Accept them as inevitable and succumb to their burden. The result will keep us unhappy.
2. Ask ourself: Can I overcome the challenges? The result will occasionally lead to success.
3. Ask ourself: How can I overcome the challenges? The result will almost always lead to success.
If our goals are big enough, then the circumstances will not derail them because we will be creative in finding our way to a happy place coming out of them. Successful people are the ones who find ways to creatively make the most of every opportunity, good or bad.
At least, that’s how I see it . . .
Rent 2 Own tip
Homeowners got their property tax assessments this past week, and most were probably shocked. Both Abbotsford and Mission, for example, saw an average 33% increase in assessed values. It was similar in other municipalities. If you’re a renter, it may make you glad that you’re not a home-owner facing a 33% increase in taxes. Or it might worry you that your rent will be radically raised to cover the increased costs your landlord has.
Well, the good news is that you can relax. Everything is relative when it comes to municipal taxes. If the City budget remains the same and everyone’s assessment goes up 33%, then no one’s actual taxes will go up. Your taxes only go up if a) the municipality increases its budget (which is likely, but only by a modest amount of a couple percent) or b) your/your landlord’s assessment goes up more than average. If your assessment went up less than the average amount, the taxes may actually come down.
The fact that assessments rose so much in the past year should therefore have no impact whatsoever on potential rent 2 own options. They should not dissuade anyone from choosing this path to home ownership.