Archive for the 'Random thoughts' Category

On Growing Up…

Twenty-nine.

two… nine

29

That’s how old I am now.  When did that happen? I am acutely aware of how fast a decade can go, because it feels like I just barely got used to being an official adult like, yesterday.   I’m not going to lie, I don’t think I like it very much.  Because next year I will sit down, potentially in this exact spot, and blog about turning 30.  And i am not ready to be 30 yet.  People who are 29 going on 30 are different than me. For example, they own a house, or a condo.  They also generally have a pet. They own furniture…that they picked out and bought themselves.  Many of them have children.  They know what they want to be when they grow up.

They are someTHING. They are Doctors, Lawyers, Teacher’s, Accountants, Managers, Electricians, Hair Dressers, Insurance Agents, Therapists, Nurses, Designers, Chefs, Wives, Husbands, Mothers, Fathers, Owners, etc. They can define themselves by these things.  So if they are at a cocktail party and someone says “tell me about yourself,” they can say, “Well, i am a mother of two and I work part time as a nurse in the oncology unit.”  Or they can talk about  the current state of the economy and the housing market and how their stocks have taken a hit.

They talk about the woes of pregnancy, or leaking roofs, or their upcoming vacation to Cancun, Mexico. Some of them are married, some are already divorced. Some have 3 degrees. Some have a decade of experience in their jobs.  I have none of these things.

But I do know that identity isn’t determined by what we DO. I swear I do. It’s just that being 29 going on 30 means a lot more than just getting a year older. It’s loaded with all sorts of expectations.  I’m not old. I don’t feel old and it would be insulting to people who are older than me if I called myself old.  But I am, as it turns out, a grown up. I think i need to figure out what that looks like for me. So that I will, at the very least, have something to say at cocktail parties.

On a side note, for some reason the past few weeks, with the perspective of turning 29, I have become obsessed with people’s ages (mainly celebrities). I google everyone to find out how old they are. Why? I have no idea. I guess to get some perspective on my own age. Am i older or younger than the people I see in the news all the time?  It’s very strange, I know. But, just in case you were wondering… Madonna is 51, Kate Hudson is 29,  Owen Wilson is 40, Michelle Pfeiffer is 50, Patrick Dempsey is 43,  Rihanna is 21, John Mayer is 31, Katie Holmes is 31, Katherine Heigl is 31, Brad Pitt is 44, Angelina Jolie is 34, and Meryl Streep is 60.

sad. i know.

Red Friday

blackheart

Is it just me, or is it kind of funny that Friday the 13th, the day horror movies are based on, falls right before Valentine’s day this year?  I didn’t realize until this morning that this was the case and it made me chuckle.  Kristi has affectionately decided to title it “Red Friday.”

I figure Love owes me this year.  In the past few week I’ve been asked by 4  couples to help orchestrate romantic events…which I did happily. It’s quite funny actually.  Oddly, matchmaking is one of the things I really enjoy doing. Just ask my friends;  I’m always scheming to hook people up.

(Side note: despite my enthusiasm to help love along whenever I can, I personally hate over-the-top romantic gestures if I am the target. I have actually broken up with guys because of this. )

A single gal on Valentine’s Day, it seems, has only two choices. The first is to embrace the day and her current state of single-hood. This includes wearing pink and red all day, watching romantic movies with other single girls while giving each other spa treatments, and showing the world that “I love ME and am secure in my oneness”. This generally involves cocktails and chocolate fondues.

The second is to boycott it completely. In doing this it becomes not Valentine’s Day, the Day of Love, but rather Black Saturday–the Day of Death to All Things Romantic. This includes wearing black all day, staying in and watching depressing movies where one or more of the main characters (preferably the man) dies in the end, and not communicating with the outside world—particularly happy couples–whatsoever, while consuming copious amounts of vodka. In essence, giving Love the finger and pretending not to give a **** about such a ridiculous “holiday.”

Now I am not a dark person, nor am I very romantic, but something about Valentine’s Day mocks my aloneness, and brings out the deeply disillusioned romantic in me. After all who is this holiday really for anyway? Well clearly not for those of us who are without a better (or worse) half. But it’s also not really for those who have been together, or married for a long time and barely mark the day on their calendar. So actually this not-so-nice February holiday (really February? There’s nothing romantic about the month) caters only to a select group of people. People who still have butterflies in their stomach when he phones. For that the rest of us suffer.

But there is a 3rd option–throw the term “holiday” around loosely and use it as an excuse to live it up (any excuse!!). Tomorrow night, one of my absolute favorite bands, The Family Band (www.sonicbids.com/familyband) is playing and I shall spend the evening with my friends–male, female, single, married, and in between–listening to FANTASTIC music.   And sure, it might end up being a guise for romance for some people, but I can accept that because, hey, Love owes me, right?

Mr. Vulnerability

It’s a new year and already only 3 and a half weeks in, I can tell it’s going to be a transforming one.  Why?  You ask. How do you know what is coming? I know these things for the reasons we all know in part, what our future holds…we look at the past. One of my favorite writers, Henri Nouwen, holds firmly that our past is the biggest indicator of our future. I agree– being a student of history I think I have to. But nonetheless I have always believed that we cannot  safely move forward in our future until we have understood our past.  I believe that sociologically and personally.
But that’s for another blog. All that is to say that I know what is coming because I have had this experience before.  2008 began with a deep conviction that we were all severely lacking hope. Hope that though so many things go bad, someday something will go right. Hope that love will overcome hate. Hope that miracles and good do exist. This year began in a similar way. I felt that familiar conviction again, only this time that 2009 would be for me a year of trust–learning to trust myself, others, and God once again. But you must learn to crawl before you walk.

A very wise man told me just a couple weeks ago that I MUST learn to be vulnerable with others–that it would the very hardest lesson I have ever learned but it would also be the most rewarding.  I know, for me, this will be a life-long learning process, but I am in the beginning stages and since i want to become a person of trust, I think that I must also become a person of vulnerability.

Just typing the word scares the crap out of me.

But what does that even mean?? It really is like the blind leading the blind (both blind people in this scenario are me).  The Miss Independent that I am wants to figure this out on my own, which, as it turns out is the very opposite of the meaning of the word.

Well actually, the meaning of the word is a bit precarious. I looked it up, because, well, I have no idea what I am doing and I figured that would be a good place to start.

The dictionary defines Vulnerability as: Susceptible to physical or emotional injury.

Oh goody.

Why do we think this is a good thing?  I don’t know. But I have a feeling I am going to find out.  I hate this very much to be quite honest. And Honesty, incidentally, is Mr. Vulnerability’s sidekick.  I have always done everything by myself. I figure things out by myself. I know how to be on my own and I am good at it.  But as soon as we are unwilling to change and grow then we put ourselves in a box and miss out on the Goodness that Life is offering us.  So, as scared as I am, I am willing to go forward and do what I have to do to learn to be Vulnerable with others.

Another sidekick of Mr. Vulnerability’s is Wisdom. Being vulnerable, I am learning, is not about being stupid.  It is about making conscious choices every day that give others the power to hurt you.  But not everyone deserves that power so these choices need to be made with wisdom.

So you see, it’s not so easy. And being a vulnerability amateur, I have a long road ahead of me. Right now it just feels like being in front of your 8th grade class totally naked.   I am not even sure what the reward in learning all of this is yet, but I have trust that I will understand someday.

I’ll keep you posted on the journey.

And in case you are wondering…NO, i will not be posting all the details of my personal life online as an act of vulnerability.  That would take us back to the aforementioned stupidity point.

A Decade in Review…

I reached a milestone this week–a day that I never actually imagined would come, and yet it is here and gone already. I had my ten year high school reunion (gasp! gag!). I know what you are thinking…aren’t you too young to have been out of high school so long? YES! That’s what I thought too!! But it turns out that ten years is, in fact, a decade, no matter how much you try and rework the numbers. I figure this is as good a topic as I will ever get to blog about so I might as well take advantage of it.

Rightly so, I have been spending a great deal of time lately in reflection. What have i learned? Where am I going? What the heck have I been doing for ten years? I think it’s actually really great to have these moments in life…these milestones that keep us in check and encourage us to go forward. My reunion was actually (to my surprise) quite poorly attended. I figured Facebook would have come through for us, but I suppose even Facebook isn’t strong enough to overcome the utter dread that some people would have felt in attending such an event. Fortunately (or stupidly) I am not one of those people. Sure, I approached it with some anxiety, that is to be expected, but I found I was really looking forward to seeing old friends, acquaintances, and strangers. Those who know me have probably figured out by now that I love social events. I figure I don’t have many marketable skills, but one is that I love to socialize so I might as do it to the best of my ability. In fact, in my graduating year i was even voted “Friendliest Girl.” …and no not in the way YOU’RE thinking. I think many people are insecure in their life status, which, I would like to say right now is completely silly. One thing I realized this weekend is that we are all at totally different places in life and no one is better or worse than another. Some people are married with three kids, while others have just started post-secondary school. Some have been in school since they left, while others settled into a career straight away. Some have travelled, others still live in Summerside. Some are married to their careers, while others still have no idea what they want to do. I cannot stress enough that there is NO MEASURING STICK! Who makes up these ideals anyway? My philosophy is “screw them!” (…and no, not in the way YOU’RE thinking…).

O.k…that is my rant to those who did not come to the reunion because they felt inadequate. For those who did not come because they are bitter, I say, “get over it. Life is too short.” To those who could not come but wanted to, I am sorry we missed one another. The truth is that I had a great time! I did not know what to expect but what I found were adults (when did THAT happen?) who were genuinely happy to see an old friend. Nothing beats that. We watched our grad video (YIKES) which was probably the most painful portion of the weekend. We read the prophesy that predicted where we would all be in ten years, which was humorous. I fell short of mine which predicted a nobel peace prize for international development in Africa. Give me another ten years…

So, that being said, upon reflection, here are the things I have learned in ten years of adulthood…

1. Everyone is better looking at 28 than at 18. WITHOUT EXCEPTION. It’s actually quite bizarre. I doubt I will say the same in another ten years, but hey, it makes me happy to be 28 right now which is a reason to celebrate and not give in to feeling old.

2. Bitterness is a poison you drink and expect the other person to die. A good friend who has had more than her share of suffering told me this and it has stuck with me. Hanging onto grudges is something that only hurts yourself. It might be the cruelest jokes of God…or life’s hardest lesson–that we have to love other people when they hurt us, but I firmly believe this is the secret to joy. My new motto is “I will do whatever it takes to let go of bitterness.” It’s hard, trust me, but the truth is I don’t want to look back on my life and realize I spent a huge percentage of it being miserable.

3. I am the luckiest girl alive. Every so often, I am completely dumbfounded by this simple fact. It’s true. I have amazing friends, and a family that loves and supports me. Am I rich? HELL NO. Not even close. But i love my job. I love my poverty-stricken town. I love my two bedroom apartment in a run down building. Last month I got to see John Mayer live in Boston. He has been my #1 favorite artist for about 6 years (judge me, it’s o.k.) and I finally decided that it was time to make one of my small dreams come true. How many people in the world get to see their icons? The fact that I am able to make that possible is astounding to me. I have been to 3rd world countries and I do not take the fulfillment of my dreams lightly because i know that so many people do not get to experience a fraction of the things I do. Going to the dentist is another thing that causes me to realize I am the luckiest girl alive. What percentage of the world’s population can afford to pay someone to clean their mouths? I suspect less than 1%.

4. Get Over It. Things don’t always work out the way you want…hope…expect, but there is no use dwelling on that which you have no control over. This goes back to the bitterness thing. I am learning that it’s important to find the support you need (however you need to do it) and to role with it. No one said that we would get everything we ever wanted. No one said that life OWED us anything. It does not. But hope for the best and deal with the worst when it comes. My colleague has cancer and she’s had to lose her breasts and her hair, but she teaches me all the time to tackle life’s blows with flexibility and joy.

5. The purpose of life is…to live. I think it’s that simple. My personal goal is to be good at living. When I die I want people to say “she lived and loved well.” I know i have A LOT to learn and I fall very short but I am working on it. I think joy and hope are also big factors in this one. My 2nd motto is “Do whatever you have to do to hang on to hope and joy.”

6. Friends are the family you get to choose. The point here is that we get to choose them. Your family, you are stuck with so make the best of it, but friends…you get to decide so choose wisely! My friends are like a big cusion that catches me every time life throws me off a building (life is mean). I am so grateful because i know without a shadow of a doubt that I would not be the person I am now without them. They have brought SO MUCH healing into my life…so much wisdom…so much support. I have seen other people whose friends are backstabbing and gossipy and suck the life out of them. This is not friendship but some twisted co-dependent relationship that they should run like hell away from. Once again…life is WAY TOO SHORT for this. I think this is the one lesson we should have learned in high school. I have somehow lucked out and found people that I can be real with which has been more important than even I will ever realize. In return I want to be a good friend.

7. It feels good to break the rules. I grew up Catholic and then was pretty Evangelical for awhile so I know a lot about guilt. Now I believe that God is a God of freedom and it’s a privilege to exercise that. There is freedom to try and fail; freedom to choose what we WANT. Shockingly, it turns out that I cannot fit myself so easily into a box. It is only by stepping outside the lines that I began to discover myself and God and you know what? I love it. It turns out that God hangs out past the lines we created to keep him in. He’s way more flexible than us. I spent far too much time afraid of doing the wrong thing. Now I figure I spend way more time doing the wrong thing but also way more time experiencing the goodness that God gave us in this life. Some people need to learn how to break those preconceived ideas of what their lives were going to look like in order to be happy.

8. Marriage is worth waiting for. I already know several people who have been married and divorced in a decade. Sure, I want to get married, but i haven’t met someone worth marrying yet…and to be honest, I was not worth marrying for a long time (it took me a long time to figure out what I wanted). There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. There is also nothing wrong with those who found the right person at age 20. I thought i would be self-conscious about this at the reunion. So many people starting families, and there is me who is on my own. But i wasn’t. I have no reason to be ashamed of that and neither does anyone else. Sure, some family members are starting to ask if I’ve ever thought of becoming a nun (I’m really not good with rules), and I wonder how it’s possible that i have 500 Facebook friends of which none are more than just friends (i need to meet MORE people?), but i’ll figure it out eventually. I am not worried. That’s a generational thing, i know. We are unconventional these days, but we can’t help it. We don’t know how else to be.

So those are my top “8”…i realize 10 would be a better number but I can’t think of 2 more things so this will have to suffice. I know it’s a bit sentimental and mid-life crisis-ish…but that’s just who I am. I don’t want to wait another 20 years to figure this stuff out. For now I will concentrate on the fact that my big sister just got engaged!! I am beyond excited for her and her fiance, Brian and they deserve a beautiful wedding (next September). I think it is time our family of four expanded and I couldn’t think of a better guy to invite in.

…and I will try not to wait until my next high school reunion to blog again!

The Pieces of Me

the view from the driver's seat of my car

I fully admit that I have been a terrible blogger. I know, i know…i keep saying I’ll change but have i? no. You’re right, i’m sorry. Please forgive me.

I guess it just seems like i have nothing to say. This tends to happen to me every so often. I would call it writer’s block, but the truth is i don’t have anything to say because I haven’t taken the time to think about anything very important. I will attribute that to brain-overload with work, school, and social life. I have always been anti-journal blogging.–as in, making your blog like a personal journal–HOWEVER, in an attempt to write a new post, I just might have to resort to such measures so that you know what I have occupying my time with the past month (isn’t that what facebook is for?). I’ll try to be entertaining by providing pictures.

me and my guitar

1. END OF TERM!! This is very exciting for me for two reasons: A.) I am a student B.) I work at a school. Both of these reasons give me cause to be excited about the end of term. I love students and I love being a student but there are reasons that it’s an eight-months-of-the-year thing. After many long late nights INew River Beach finally finished my online Gaelic class. Let me just say that “no”, i do not recommend taking a language online (if you say “i told you so” i will slap you). I am still doing some school work throughout the summer, but the workload is far less. Highlights of our famous SSU convocation week included campfires, beach days, and of course, pub night which featured three very awesome SSU student bands and a packed house. I also got to play at convocation (accompanied by good friends Raymond Funk and Shannon-May Pringle) and performed the song “When it Don’t Come Easy” by Patty Griffin, a personal favorite of mine.

Didgedeguash Lake 2. Bye bye Europe-bound friends..

SSU once again saw another travel-study term leave this spring for Wester Europe (Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Austria, and England). Some of my very best friends are on this eight week trip and although I am so very very happy for them (and not at all jealous), it is hard to see them go (o.k. like 90% happy and 10% jealous). I spent most of May sucking up all their free time in my needy fashion, trying to make up for the rest of the summer without them. Dear friends, Shelley and Kendall, won a Nintendo Wii. Enough said. That, in a nutshell, explains where most of my spare time went (and might I add, I am AWESOME at Wii boxing).

Shelley and Kristi drinking beer3. Boston…AGAIN!
Simply because i absolutely cannot get enough of this city! Kristi and I wentShannon and Kristi at EarthFest ventured south to visit my sister and Future-Fiancee. As usual, we had a smashing time and even attend EarthFest…which is basically an excuse for an all-day outdoor concert under the guise of loving the earth. It was a vegan hippy’s dream day!

4. L’Isle de Prince Edward!Melanie and Baby Aiden close up

Last weekend took me back to the motherland for my friend Christina’s wedding. Christina used to be a consecrated sister of Regnum Christi, but about a year felt her calling was to the sacrament of marriage instead. Sure enough, she met Thomas and they are now happily wedded! I had a great time at the reception dancing everything from the Salsa to the Polka, eating yummy maritime seafood, and seeing old friends. It was a short weekend but fun. I plan to be back for a longer period around the end of June which I am very much looking forward to.Christina and Thomas at the reception

Christina and Thomas Black and White close up

The happy couple, Christina and Thomas Yep!! Aren’t they cute?

Shelley Kadatz walking on the St. Andrews BeachShelley laughing5. The rest of my time?? A mixture of family stuff (a funeral, a sick aunt, and time at home), wine-tasting nights on a friend’s patio, essay writing, reading, and some great live music….

Kristi drinking wine by candlelight

(sigh) I am SO glad it’s summer.

Whispers of Change

“I don’t know nothing except change will come…” -Patty Griffin, “When it Don’t Come Easy”

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. As much as I would like to, i can’t seem to get away from it. Change is in the air, and I have come to realize that change may be the only constant thing in life. The only thing that you can really count on happening. I have never been one to embrace change but I am finding that there is comfort to be found in that thought.

We had our 30th convocation ceremony this weekend here at SSU. It’s a season of change in the SSU community and in some ways it feels representative of things to come in my own life. I just wish I knew what those things were. It is a bizarre thing to be walking down a road that is clearly going somewhere but have no idea where, exactly, it’s taking you. Part of me feels like I have never had so much direction in all my life, and part of me has never felt so very lost.

Change is coming.

I am scared.

But I have faith.

It has occurred to me that security lies not in knowing where you are going, but rather in knowing who you are. It means that the road may take you anywhere it likes and but your confidence is found in the knowledge that whatever happens, you will be just fine.

I will be just fine. I am telling myself that as much as I am telling you. Perhaps more. I cannot get away from who I am and it looks like I am finally giving in. This is both good news and bad news. The bad news is that I am quite sure that my life is not going to end up looking the way I thought it might…or the way you thought it would for that matter. The good news is that the possibilities are endless and I can breathe a sigh of relief–relief to know that it will be my own choice that takes me this way or that, rather than following someone else’s lead or push because I am too insecure in my own ability to decide what is good for me.

Confidence is a tricky thing. It comes and goes with complete unpredictability and you are never quite sure if it’s going to be there to back you up. I’ve been working hard at not losing it. It’s not an easy thing to do. It means not compromising when I normally would, and not listening to all those voices in my head trying to tell me that i just can’t do it (no, i don’t mean literal voices, i’m not THAT crazy…yet). It also means looking at people and saying, “thanks for the input/advice/direction, but I choose not to follow it.” It feels bad to let people down, but it feels good find my voice. Being all things to all people has, for me, meant losing myself–a price I have realized is no longer worth paying.

So bring on the change. I am afraid, but i will be just fine.

The Bits in My Brain

the-facts.gifI have these random facts that just float around in my head that I have picked up in my 27 years of existence. I have come to realize they are completely useless, but still interesting…so I will share them with you. Here are all the useless things I know:

  • Giraffes sleep only 5-30 minutes per day but eat from 16-20 hours per day!
  • Iceland consumes the most Coca Cola per capita
  • The Czech Republic consumes the most beer per capita
  • Elephants can laugh and they also mourn
  • Coffee helps prevent the following diseases: diabetes, colon cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease
  • China has more English speakers than the United States
  • Panda bears often abandon their babies because they are afraid of them
  • Horses cannot puke
  • Camels have three eye lids
  • Elephants can’t jump (but every other mammal can)
  • The square root of 5 is: 2.236067978…(I memorized this is the 11th grade and never forgot it)
  • One language dies out approximately every two weeks
  • The skin on your elbow is called your “wenus” and you can pinch it as hard as you can and it won’t hurt
  • A Goldfish has the memory span of 3 seconds
  • Canada consumes the most macaroni and cheese per capita
  • A leopard can drag a zebra up a tree and hang it there
  • King James was gay (as in the King James bible guy)
  • Okinawa Island, Japan has the healthiest people in the world
  • Malta is the fattest country in the world (followed by Britain, then US, then Canada)

o.k. now that i have that off my chest i feel much better. I don’t know why I remember random things like this–I think my many trips to wildlife parks and zoos explain my animal references–everything else is a mystery.


Good Advice

"Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things"

Currently reading…

"'Tis" by Frank McCourt

a

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