Happily Ever Never

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coverIf life never got any better than today, would you be okay with that?  That also means that life would never get any worse.  Your today would be your everyday, nobody would die, nobody would move, if you are married you will always be married, if you are single you will always be single.  If you were told that this was your lot in life, TODAY, would you be okay with that?

It’s an interesting question because we are hardwired to create plans, goals and visions.  We are educated and told about all the things we should seek from our parents.  As we get older that pressure mounts because friends, teachers and society gets involved.  We all want the latest gadgets, trendy clothes and haircuts because frankly, we are brainwashed to want them.  Keeping up with the Joneses you know?

I once read that unhappiness is not an issue with what you do have, but a desire for what you don’t.  So, if you could turn that around and stop craving the things that you don’t have…would you be okay?

That’s the funny thing about life.  When it’s good, we don’t want it to change.  When it’s bad, well we can’t wait for tomorrow to come soon enough.  But, life is ever-evolving, ever-changing…so even if you never gained a pound, never ate new foods, never left your apartment, never sought a full-time job, never tried to date…things would still change outside of your control.  Your parents will age, your plants may wither, your neighbours may move, and your precious ipad could break.  Nothing really ever stays the same.

So, I guess the key is not to look at the big things as your life all the time.  Don’t focus on your failed romance, your fight with a friend or your unknown career path as whether you do or don’t have a good life.  Try to focus on the tedious day-in-day-out and look at the little changes that take place everyday.  If you look long and hard at your day, everyday….maybe you didn’t change your job, your boyfriend or your apartment…but hopefully you did change your underwear.

Focus on the good you have in your life today…the ability to sleep in, choose your own TV shows, cook your own food, spend money on vacations, knick-knacks and your cats and KNOW, know that even if you found your dream job, could afford your dream home or met the love of your life…some things would change for the worse.  Some of the things that you think of trivial in your mundane little life would be the very things you missed greatly once all your dreams came true.

The grass is always greener my friend, so maybe accept that your life is a washed our Polaroid and just look carefully at your background.  Maybe there isn’t a picket fence, but at least there is a lawn.  Couldn’t say it better myself…http://tinybuddha.com/blog/why-the-grass-is-never-greener-and-how-to-be-happy-today/

People think life is short.  Nah, life is long.  The next great thing will come to you.  Just be ready and let it.  – George, Go On

The Ginga Ninja

Chris itsnevertoolate-redM

You can’t spell FEAR without EAR…oops, FAR.

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red-riding-hood-woods-476Every now and again I question the choices I have made. I question whether I chose the right career or the right career could still choose me. I question if my belief in what I want is actually what I want and I often question what tomorrow brings. Every now and again I wonder what would have occurred if I had just made different choices, had different thoughts, walked a different path and essentially was just a different person….well, you know what they say.…you might as well be yourself because everybody else is already taken.

But, seriously, I wish I could take back all the wasted hours of worry, the pointless hours of fear and teach myself what really mattered. You know, the things that are truly important, what you will regret when your end is near and what really deserves your sleepless nights. I can assure you that many times, if only I had a crystal ball in hand, I may have felt differently. But, I didn’t and still don’t.

When you’re young, you have an endless list of goals, aspirations and benchmarks for what you think life is all about. But, the thing is, life isn’t about reaching those goals and benchmarks…life is what happens while you are trying. When you are a teenager you can’t wait for “real life” to begin, when you are in university you can’t stall it long enough.  When you are in your 20’s it’s a bittersweet mix of excitement and fear at every step and in your 30’s, it’s an acceptance of a few things that you cannot change and many you still might….mayyybbeebe when you’re less tired.

But, what happens to all that fear and worry? Well, it doesn’t go away entirely, I can assure you that, but it does evolve. Tomorrow will never be just like today no matter how much you want it to, or how much you fear it might. We don’t always know what tomorrow brings. Life can be hard. Life can be scary. Life can be challenging. Life can be tricky. But, what I know now…is that life can be surprising.  One day you just may wake up and decide that this is all there ever was and this is all there ever will be. The rising of your body, the sleeping of your soul, the foods you try, the strangers you meet, the classes you fail, the promotions you earn…all of this, day-in, day-out…the good, the bad, the mundane and the ugly…this is your life.

Years ago I told a friend that I thought I ruined my life. I was scared to commit, I was scared not to commit. I was scared to live on my own, I was scared to settle. I was scared to go into more debt, I was scared to spend my money in the wrong place. I was scared to go back to school, I was scared to follow the wrong career. I was scared of losing myself, I was scared to be myself. Most of all, I was scared, so  unbelievably scared to admit that I was scared. I had a very misguided life plan that assumed figuring out the answers to these fears would make me happy and fearless, but it was these fears that were actually running my life. And it took time…so much time to figure out that all of this is all I have. As my friend said, you can’t ruin your life, you can only live it.

If I could undo all the fear and the worry I would. But, what journey never had a bump in the road, what novel was ever written after the first swipe of the pen, what soufflé finished after the first crack of an egg? No, it’s these hiccups, these mistakes and these stories that make my life just that…MY life. And you know what? I have from this day forward to remember that the past is the past, the future but a dream and you can only live in your here and now. My new worry can be to worry about how much I used to worry. But, more seriously, my new fear can be how I’m ever going to live enough hours to experience all the things I need to experience in order to say I truly lived.

When I was younger I had a roadmap for my life.  But, turns out that getting lost, it brought me where redscared_400I want to be. – Michael J Fox Show

The Ginga Ninja

Nostalgia or Nutstalgia?

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When you were an eager little youngster, you watched all genres of movies and listened to countless songs without really understanding what it is you were listening for.  Most Disney movies have sexual inuendos, adult jokes and hidden plot lines that kids just don’t seem to get.  You think your family puts the FUN in DYSFUNCTION?  If you want to talk about family drama, well Snow White, Cinderella and Lion King are filled to the brim.  Children don’t stop to think about what is actually happening and what it means when your stepmother or brother tries to kill you – you know, brotherly love & murder very seldom mesh well.  Just my opinion, but hey.

What I’ve noticed more than ever is how many poems and songs I just didn’t understand.  We danced to the beat, we recited the poetry; we sang those nonsensical lyrics and didn’t have a damn idea why.  I mean, sure, we all don’t like Mondays, but it takes being an adult to truly grasp that reality.  And the first time you really listen, I mean REALLY listen to a song about suicide or rape as an adult, you suddenly realize this is no longer just a lyric or plot line, but something you have (in some degree) probably lived through.  Most of us by a certain age have either gone through some psychological issues or shouldered a friend (or seven) through depression.  It’s not funny, it’ not fun…it’s touching, it’s hard and the lyrics are most likely written by somebody who has actually gone through it too.

That got me thinking. All of those songs put out by angst-ridden female artists of the 1990’s, Natalie Imbruglia, Sarah Mclachlan, Jewel….they finally make sense.  All those dilemmas they had about love lost, starting over, being out of tears, staring at their eggs or aimlessly walking into movie theatres alone finally make sense.  You don’t do these things in your childhood, you don’t really do them in your teens, you don’t understand them in you 20’s, but by your 30’s you’ve finally lived and learned from similar scenarios.  You do realize dreams only last for so long, people can leave you torn and there is a chance you have gone down on someone in a movie theatre.  Graphic maybe…but, possible?

I don’t want to say being an adult is sadder; I just want to say that some of the farcical nonsense of those lyrics finally make sense.  Most songs and movies finally make sense.  Like when my girl Alanis Morisette said she had one hand in her pocket and the other giving a high five…I had no damn idea what the hell she was talking about.  The entire song just seemed like a list of opposites and non-rhyming words…a bit of a scattered attempt at songwriting in my opinion.  I didn’t get it back then, but now I do. It’s about being many things at once, trying to make it all fit together and finally understanding that you do everything a little half-assed…you are a little bit of many things, but you accept it.  You CAN be two exactly opposite things at the same time and funnily enough, be perfectly okay with it. Like my girl Alanis says, everything’s gonna be fine, fine, fine1460-cherry

The Ginga Ninja

 

Who wins the Human Race?

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20120223-024mI haven’t been blogging as much lately because well, I haven’t been writing as much lately. And, to be honest, even if I were…I wouldn’t have time to post. So, yesterday I started mentally formulating a post about being too busy to post, but as I was too busy to write it down, I’m stuck with this one.

I have spent days, months, weeks, even years being (too) busy. It was a feeling that I was used to. I could insert some cliché statement here, like Idle Hands are the Devil’s Work or You can sleep when you’re dead, but what I have learned recently is that busy doesn’t make you important. Productive doesn’t make you successful. And being organized doesn’t always make you happy. Somewhere in the past few years I learned there was a whole different version of life out there. One where you weren’t always dreaming of that someday when you’re life reaalllyy started and you weren’t filling your hours with things that you (might not) have time to do when your “real life” finally began.

I have learned now that being less busy is underrated. Less busy people take more time to complete their tasks at hand, most likely have more time to do the things they enjoy, and can pick and choose what task to tackle that day, not make a to-do list a mile long about all the things that they are neglecting. Well, lately, trust me, I’ve been neglecting a lot of things. I feel like I’ve taken on a million and one projects, all of which are suddenly being done a little half-assed, because frankly I have no time to do them whole-assed (seriously, who came up with that term).

This led me to the inevitable decision that something has got to give, because dammit I have learned that productive and happy aren’t always one and the same. My hardworking Dutch grandparents may have felt otherwise, but this girl? This girl likes naps, and books, and painting and watching classic movies.  When you are trying to toss in an additional 40+ hours a month of work over top of your existing load, well, you hit a cracking point pretty quickly. Particularly if you have learned that the best version of you may live somewhere between introvert and extrovert, flexible and stubborn, and successful…even with a little less success. If being busy is being successful, I’ll take failure any day.

http://www.tylerwardis.com/busy-isnt-respectable-anymore

Look at us, running around, always rushed, always late, I guess that’s why they call it the human race. But, sometimes it slows down just enough for all the pieces to fall into place. Fate works its magic and you are connected. Every once in awhile, in all the randomness – something unexpected happens and it pushes us all forward. The truth is…what I’m starting to think, what I’m starting to feel, is maybe the human race isn’t a race at all.  - The Switch

The Ginga NinjaOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

If You’re Happy and You Know it, Lose Your Phone

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Did you know that the internet and cellphones, these wonderful, amazing, technological advances have actually added to people’s general unhappiness with what they have? We have all the information we ever wanted at our fingertips, a way to not lose somebody at the mall and a way to keep in touch with all the pen pals we ever met. Yet, often we feel empty…unfulfilled and unloved, why?

Well, the thing is…once upon a time, if you were out for dinner with your friends, you were only out for dinner with your friends. If you were unhappy with your job, your spouse knew it…if you were unhappy with your house, well, frankly, only your close friends, neighbours and family might know. Nobody cared what you ate for dinner, how many geraniums you planted, or how angry the old lady at the crosswalk made you. Nobody cared whether you threw a crappy birthday party, and lord knows, nobody wanted to sit through your boring vacation photos.

Photos were limited and carefully chosen. Ads were a novelty, correspondence a gift, houses were probably cleaner and more time was spent on passionate hobbies. When we broke up, we might have heard a rumour or two or bumped into them and their wonderful new girlfriend 5 years later, but we didn’t get the never-ending barrage of new haircuts, trips, weddings, birthday parties and flavours of the month like we do now. No, now we are all glued to our devices to one up another, see who is thinking about us, what’s going on, and to have 24/7 validation for the meaningless life we really lead.

Social media is a very dangerous tool. A tool that makes mothers feel bad about the birthday parties they didn’t throw, the cakes they didn’t bake, the vacations they can’t afford and the divorces they lived through. A tool that makes children feel less popular if they aren’t on it and pressured to do things when they are. A tool that makes single people sit through never-ending baby photos, stare into the eyes of happy couples and families and constantly be reminded of the ruins they didn’t visit or condo they can’t afford.

With so many more things than we ever had…and so much more access to friends, family and information than ever before…why have we created a society that is more discontent than ever?  Well, life is now just a big, public game of keeping up with the Joneses. Except the Joneses are now your elementary, highschool and university friends, co-workers, exes, some guy you met on vacation, some neighbour you haven’t seen in 10 years and some girl you talked to twice online. The pool of people to compare from is larger than it ever was and the access we have into people’s lives is overwhelming.

http://news.discovery.com/human/psychology/facebook-can-make-you-unhappy-130814.htm

And I’ve had this very conversation with a loved one. A successful, but incredibly frustrated loved one.  Very seldom do people post photos of their children telling them they hate them, the moment they sign the divorce papers, the visit to the ER, the funeral of their father, or the day they were handed their pink slip. She made sure to tell me that behind many of these beautiful family pictures and smiling photos are bad marriages, financial woes and a general feeling of despair. But, would you show that publicly? Of course not, because that wouldn’t get you many “likes” now would it? And that would be too real.

No, we now live in a world of trying to convince everyone how great our life is, when in reality the people sitting on their front porches reading a book without an instagram account are most likely the happiest there are. They are living in the present, in their own life and don’t give a damn what anybody else is doing. They are the ones who despite being called dinosaurs are indifferent to Bobby’s barbecued ribs, Sonja’s newest marathon, Alex’s latest trip to Japan, or Tommy’s favourite beer. They don’t give a damn that they have less quote-on-quote “friends” and they don’t give a damn if their selfie was unliked or their slippers are uncool. No, on a Saturday, all they want to do is turn up the music, clean their house and remember what it was like to be a kid…and maybe, just maybe…pick up that cellphone…and call their mom.

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. ~Confucius

The Ginga Ninja

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I’m Just Trying to Hang Up My Coat

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Everyone has their own song to sing, own bell to ring and own dragon to slay.  How big or bad your challenges are can be impacted by many things and a challenge is a challenge, whether it is big or small.    images

For many, their battles are difficult – finding a new job, going back to school, raising children, losing weight, learning to accept or learning to forgive. Nobody knows what somebody else is going through and nobody knows how big and bad your demons are.

Well, sometimes life, and change are not about the big things.  Sometimes you can be happy with all the big things and realize that all you can work on day in, day out are the small ones.  So, for anybody that doesn’t have a life-changing goal in mind, remember that a day-changing one is good too.  For me, I’m focusing on my bad habits and the little things that will make my organized chaos a little more organized.  As a friend put it, I’m not trying to lose weight, re-direct my career, or gain a diploma…I’m just trying to hang up my coat”.  A lot can be said for that one little statement and what it means in regards to life.

With age comes wisdom and with time comes less opportunities to change your world.  Small steps are still steps and if you think about it carefully, you can get a lot more small steps into a lifetime than you can big ones.

There’s going to be a time when you don’t want people to know how old you are.  Because you will realize that you haven’t accomplished any of your goals. – George, Go On

The Ginga Ninja

Full of Love, or Flu of Love?

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slapDating is hard.  Let me repeat, dating is hard.  So are bricks.  And sometimes dating makes you want to bang your head on bricks.  Correlated?  I think so.

I’ve never been a big fan.  I like the feeling of a crush when it seems to be going well, but dear god I hate it when it starts going badly.  That racing brain, those obsessive thoughts, the “why” of what you did, could have done different, or didn’t do to make it turn out the way it finally did.  And the funny thing is, we are all like this.  Well…if we have the ability to feel, think and crush we are.  There is a reason it is called “falling” – it hurts, and you can definitely get “crushed”.  However, if you are a detached cool mamma like a good friend of mine, well, off is off.  Most of us are not blessed with this skill though, so I will assume that when you start talking to a promising keeper, this is probably what you are going through (cue hair pulling now).

Read on:  www.today.com/id/44010532/ns/today-today_health/t/truly-madly-deeply-how-love-makes-you-sick/#.UyESyvldXt8

But, for me dating is no different than any relationship, with any new person – friend, foe or lover.  You don’t really know them, their story, who they are and why they are, or, sometimes, are not talking to you.  We get a snippet of somebody and then when they bail without a word, we are left holding the bag of empty dreams and broken conversations.  Of course we don’t know these people and we will live.  Of course they do not change the path of our life, affect our friendships or fix our health issues.  But, for that moment…for that fleeting moment…you let yourself dream.  You let yourself dream it was going well and this little future of massages, hot tubs, endless hugs and trivia nights could actually happen.  All these things they said while flirting with you, could maybe, inevitably, come true.

The worst is, we all feel just like this when it doesn’t go our way.  But, what about the ones we don’t care to answer, chock up to being drunk, or just don’t have time in our schedule for?  We don’t obsess over those, we barely feel bad.  In recent years, I have tried to make a point of being accountable for my own actions.  If I go any more than 5 days continuous contact, I feel I owe it to them to tell them I am out, no matter the stage.  They could very well be on the other end of this starting to make their fake little plans…and the rollercoaster of feelings that is a new romance could be screwing with their day.  Maybe it isn’t screwing with mine and I could care less, but knowing how bad it feels when I do care more, I think I owe it to them to say it’s just not for me.

Sadly (and uncontrollably) though, I get upset when somebody doesn’t give me the same common courtesy.  I’m meant to think they are an insensitive jerk, an immature ass, a fake future talker, or they don’t have any emotional depth.  However, I’ve done the same and I don’t think I’m a jerk.  I think the problem is, we can all ACT like jerks because we live in a self-serving world where the moment somebody fucks with your schedule or pre-existing plan…the moment they are an unnecessary obligation…we are out.

So, why don’t I let it roll off my back, decide I’m better and move on?  I eventually do.  But, only after going through a gamut of emotions over a 5 day period.  The “will I hear from him” phase, the “maybe something happened to him” phase, the “I can’t believe I didn’t hear from him” phase and finally the “it’s his loss” phase.  But, here’s the thing.  We aren’t 19 anymore.  We shouldn’t let somebody else decide our worth, but we also shouldn’t just ignore somebody that we had interest in and we shouldn’t decide their feelings don’t matter.  Maybe they aren’t for you, (well, that’s obvious that not everyone is), but why leave people hanging?  Why not just say you are out, when you are out?  It would save a whole lot of people from self-doubt and wondering if the person lost their phone, their charger, or their mind.

Read on: www.thoughtcatalog.com/carrie-wittmer/2013/08/psycho-thoughts-girls-have-when-a-guy-does-not-respond-to-a-text-message-for-days/

Funnily enough, I did have an ex who constantly had his battery die (I witnessed it), and a friend who left her cell in her hometown for three weeks.  It does happen.  And I do have the friend of a friend of a friend who was so angry she googled…and the poor bastard had actually died.  But, let’s be clear…for the most part when you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras.  If you don’t hear from them, you eventually get the message, but wouldn’t be easier if you ACTUALLY GOT THE MESSAGE.

I keep approaching life with the new mantra of no games and being accountable for my actions and hoping the same from others.  Three times back-to-back I haven’t gotten it, but what I did get across is a point.  A good friend of mine actually decided to tell a girl he had been stalling with that he wasn’t feeling it.  Know what?  She took is surprisingly well and stopped contacting him.  So, after all of this, we decided, maybe this wasn’t my lesson to learn at all, but his.

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The Ginga Ninja