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How full is your GAS (Gives A Shit) tank?



This little lovely traveling companion of mine recently turned fourteen. This post is for her.

As I am on the other side of the world currently this song has reminded me of my daughter with her fiery spirit, her empathetic heart, her love of adventure and life.. I couldn’t be more proud of her graciousness or her complex rhythm.

One of the things I am most proud of in my daughters spirit is her attitude. This measure which I stole and fully intend to adapt into my curriculum, this past week from an ex athlete that we were traveling with ~ simply put, the analogy is GAS. Her GAS (Gives A Shit) meter is running hot. That is so vastly important in creating a life LIVED.

Oscar Wilde said it best;

To live is the rarest thing in the world, most people exist – that is all.

About a month before I committed to traveling to S. Africa I was booked in to hike the Inca Trail in Peru this coming June. I was reverse engineering a timeline so that I would summit the peak of Maccu Pitchu on the Summer solstice. In order to fully prepare to hike 13000+ feet, a period of altitude climitization is necessary. While puzzling this out – I realized that my departure date from Canada would fall on my daughters opening night for her year end dance recital.

After spending the following night working out a path to cancelation; “will I get my trip deposit back, my flights, can they be transferred, my group, can they fill my spot..” I’m a Virgo, so I worry about the details. (A LOT)

Needless to say, I dealt with it & obviously worked this out, as I am writing from 30000 feet on my way to the Serengeti – & NOT from the steps of Cusco, Peru.

You may be asking the question – “Its an amateur recital, why not just have someone record it, maybe go to the next one..?

To be full disclosure for a moment, I am about 4.5 years into a divorce – if you have walked this road you know this is a complicated and most often delicate process. It’s a precarious balance of trying to do the right thing, hoping you are navigating the correct path, loving generously enough, guiding consistently & then trying to carve out time to do the carefree bits on top of all your new found extra necessities.

My daughter has been dancing since she was a little girl.
Dance is one of those ‘carefree bits’ and the extra thing that goes on in our world, it’s a joy to witness young passion. I think capturing it is becoming rare.

Dance is my daughters favorite thing, shes in the studio several days a week for hours on some of them and she is brilliant. The love and passion she brings, it brings, is so positive. Her studio is filled with a plethora of like minded giving souls. They intensionally work on bringing out the very best in one another. It’s such a beautiful environment.

You know as a working Mother that has rather complex travel schedule I actually value the fact that I can trust part of her esteem development into the hands of this place, they take her as seriously as I do. Thats a beautiful thing.

Since she began as a child, dance has been our thing. Despite divorce, the extra time demands of being a single working parent, I’m her quiet cheerleader.

I don’t need to help her with her stage make up anymore, nor do I need to help keep her costumes straight, it’s not that at all these days but there is this pace during performance time that is bonding.

I love that she still wants me to walk this walk with her. As those of you know with growing young adults, there is a time to say good bye and trust that they are strong enough to fly – thats not easy. I don’t think that’s easy.

I remember a year or so ago after a week of intense rehearsals and late nights we were driving home together.

We were talking about the pressures she had been facing through that week. She decided right then and there that she would not get caught into the superficial drama that tends to follow the ‘dance crowd’ & we made a pact. That night on the car ride home we laughed and took pride in simply being silly. We created our own form of therapy, scream therapy. As we drove we took turns, sometimes in unison & and screamed, simply screamed at the top of our lungs again & again.

Do you realize how liberating and stress relieving it can be to simply let loose and scream?! It feels great.

It’s kinda become a thing. Our thing.

I’ll never put unmeasurable superficial pressure on my kids to perform. I hope I can help them develop their own personal drive. I hope they have learned the importance of goal setting and aiming high but that it won’t ever be an imposition from me as a parent.

K was shocked that I post-poned Peru, I think that girl of mine has been bitten by the travel bug, her list is long and deliberate already, I love it.

In Peru; Its ruins. They are essentially unchanging – probably another year isn’t going to hurt and as for her, she is changing every day. I wouldn’t miss it, those are the pieces I am not willing to miss.

I think when you have a full GAS* tank, the perls of life wisdom are abundant. Being a life long learner is so very important.


In Action: I had a very cool opportunity a few days ago to attend a luncheon with Jennifer Botterill. Multiple gold medalist in woman’s Olympic hockey, Havard honours graduate, sports corospondant and seriously hilarious fantastic all around Rad lady.

The group that I am traveling with currently, began the day hiking on the backside of Table Mountain – we sumitted up a route called Skeleton Gorge & while I hiked I was thinking about many things, I belive one of the wonders of a good hike is mental relaxation & the ability to process.

At our lunch Jennifer shared her story to success, and I think if everything else in this post gets skimmed this is the place to slow down. A message to the young people in my world, but in the same breath – a message to all of us.


1. Why not me. (From Jennifer’s father, a challenge. The very sentence that may have singly contributed to the first steps in Jennifer’s path to success) When you choose your dream, confidently ask this question. Why not Me??
2. I never want to say; I wish I would have.
3. I always want to make those around me better. (This is a beautiful joy filled practice, I saw it in Jennifer in practice even in my short week that we spent together)
4. Focus on what you can control.
5. Set your standard, then reach just a little bit higher.
6. With every challenge there is a CHOICE.
7. You can’t always control what happens but you CAN control how you respond.
8. You can’t always choose your role – but you can choose how you play it.
9. Best way to play: Free mind and an unburdened heart.
10. Understanding the difference between perfection and excellence. Excellence is attainable.

The very last piece of advice; and as a life hacker myself – I believe in with my whole heart..

Today on a sheet of paper make three columns.

On the left side of the paper draw a small column. Title it: Past
On the right side of the paper draw another small column. Title it: Future
The remaining space in the middle, the widest column on the sheet… Title it: Present.

Trust your self.

Every person has a different path to success.

Enjoy the process, obviously it takes huge dedication and hard work but love the game, what ever YOUR game happens to be.


To my favorite new fourteen year old, Love your game, be present and remember to always keep your GAS tank full.

xo ~ Miss D.

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