Category Archives: Lower Expecations

Life in a Nutshell or Nuthouse?

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squirrel_600__18845-1431804042-190-250When oh when will the day come where I become that person I always wanted to be? I won’t second guess, I won’t make decisions for the wrong reasons, well better yet, I’ll only make the right decisions and I’ll always put myself first. When will my pride outweigh my humiliation, when will my choices always make me feel good, when will my decisiveness outweigh my doubts? No falters, no fear, no regret and certainly no embarrassment.

The problem is, that is the version of life I was very stupidly trying to attain, hell, I think many people were. You think if you follow a certain series of steps, benchmarks, events, milestones and mentors that you won’t question your outcomes, avenues, wealth or worth.

Unfortunately being human means being imperfect and being imperfect means you will never ever make the right decision or have the right reaction in every situation. In a bad mood you may yell at your cat, when feeling ansy you may have one beer to many, you may text back too fast, you may call back too slow, you may talk to the wrong boy, you may marry the wrong girl. You may make a poor financial decision, find yourself let go from a job, burn the lawn, burn your mind, overdo narcotics, hell, overdo sports, alienate your friends, lose your dog, lose your mind. People aren’t perfect, plain and simple, people screw up.

So, each time I think “why did I do that?” or think that if only I had done something differently, or hell could have crazy-alarm-clockchanged the outcome…I have to realize that life is full of twists and turns. And you know what…it’s not where you land that make it life, it’s those windy passages along the way. The learning of a new lesson, finding a new bar, making a new friend, discovering a new passion, removing burdens, discarding demons, realizing that you can mess up and still stand…that, in a nutshell my friend, is life.

The only road to happiness is to realize there is no Road to Happiness – Robin Williams, A Merry Friggen Christmas

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There’s no crying in adulthood…no wait, that’s baseball

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blood_red_thunderstorm_by_mystical_designs-d5622onWhen’s the last time you had a good therapeutic cry?  I don’t mean a little tear rolling down your check during “Step Up 3” or the commercial with the broken Ikea lamp, but I mean a leave it all on the floor, nervous breakdown, bawl to the point your lungs hurt cry?  If are a child, probably yesterday, but let’s be honest…how many adults have these emotional outbursts nowadays…and how many have them in public?

When you were a kid you were allowed to act however you felt at the time. Tired, grumpy, angry, sad, frightened, silly and to a point…well, you were actually allowed to. The world of rules, of disappointment, of fear and of limitations was new to you. Each and every time you had these emotions you were beginning to navigate your way into adulthood. But, as an adult…well, you are supposed to have your shit together. If you saw a woman bawling hysterically in the subway, I doubt you would think, “hmm…I bet she just had a tough day and really needed to get some angst out”, no, you would think, “Suck it up buttercup, get offa my platform because I’ve had a bad day too and you don’t see me crying about it…”

Our empathy gets pretty sparce as we get older and whether we mean to or not, we compare that sad person’s situation against our own. We think that they should be tougher, they should see more silver linings and frankly they should keep their crazies private. But, do you think we might actually have a more balanced society if everybody got to react the way they actually wanted to when they wanted to, better yet, when they needed to?  Would we have a lot more level-headed, sane people out there because they were allowed to have the emotions they were allowed to have when they were allowed to have them?

I know that I for one have had many years of “chin up, there are starving people out there, crying is for weaklings” and a million and one other “isms” told to me. I was told it as a child, I was told it as a teenager and I was told it as an adult. I was raised like a boy and somewhere along the way I created a walled demeanour like a boy…where I looked down on people’s emotional outbursts. However, I can say with possible pride, between the ages of 22 and 28 my opinions completely changed about what everybody was and was not allowed to be sad about. We don’t live eachother’s lives so we don’t get to make eachother’s rules, nor the hell should we.

So, when I found myself huddled on the floor bawling hysterically  for no good reason other than a piling up of life’s little problems and a shaking-level of frustration mounting, I just had to let it happen. I rarely break down in tears.  No matter how bad things get, I tend to try to rationalize them (even when my feelings aren’t rational) or hold those tears in. I rarely actually say or act out my crazy the way I would love to (if my sanity wouldn’t be questioned) and continually try to take the higher road because I’d rather not cross karma’s vindictive little path one time too often.  But, what I can say is following this…well, let’s just call it a therapeutic meltdown… was nothing short of clarity, relief, calmess and peace. Not to push this lesson too far, but I can honestly say that after I cried unapologetically and uncontrollably….the clouds outside actually parted and the sun came out. I want to say metaphorically, but even, literally the rain stopped and the sun shone bright.when_tears_turn_red__by_raynehale-d3knw0b

So, in every life a little rain must fall and after the storm comes the calm – not just metaphorically, but sometimes literally. Have your storm. Yell in your car, write angry letters to nobody and cry. If you can cry whenever you want to, well, be my guest, but if like me you can only cry when your body physically can no longer hold it in…well, then do that too. Trust me, the world would rather you have a downpour of tears than bullets.

The Ginga Ninja

Tight Ropes and True Love

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Relationships are a delicate balance. Not too long ago, I was texting with a friend and we both realized just HOW MUCH goes into whether or not you and another person will work out.  Geography, Religion, Politics, Education, Finances, Family, Values, Looks, Friends, Interests, Sex Life and maybe most important of all, that bitch called Timing.

There are just so many things that can make a relationship unwork itself. And often that is after it’s already started. Don’t even get me started (see that?) on dating in general. It is so easy to rule somebody out early on for a fault, or let’s be more accurate a perceived fault. It takes years to get to know someone and technology has made dating harder. If you have different text rules, don’t use the right punctuation or seem to be too endearing too quickly, well, you are out. This doesn’t even include those who were already discluded for poor grammar, salary, height, the wrong education or wrong town. Hell, this definitely doesn’t include those who just fell out of the ugly tree. True love, or true tolerance, you be the judge.

Dating is a fragile tightrope that more often ends before it has even begun, even if you can stay balanced, you may just run out of rope…particularly as we get older and more set in our ways. That intricate interwoven security can unravel in an instant – seamlessly, effortlessly, carelessly, pointlessly. (I’m surprised that’s even a word, go me). So, every time you feel frustrated, unloved, uncertain, unfulfilled – just remember, there is a lot that goes into relationships, and life, and you. And when you feel a loss of control, just focus on that last one, because, really, it’s all you can do.

Be careful with alterations.  Pull the wrong thread and the whole thing comes undone.                                                       Samantha, Sex and the City

The Ginga Ninja

The Weight of the World

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driben-peter-pin-up-girl-on-scaleFor a number of years now I haven’t really had to watch my weight. As long as I was gearing my diet more towards the food that made me feel physically better, well, the scale was watching itself. I could eat until I was full, drink when I wanted and really there wasn’t much to monitor. I had mainly cut out soda pop, limited sugar, minimized wheat…all in all it seemed like the diet modifications I had made had made me! Until recently…

In the last few months, I’m not sure if I can blame Christmas parties and boys, excess beers, or some new medication I’m on, but I gained. I gained what (to me) feels like a lot in a short amount of time and let me tell you, it’s not a good feeling. Now, I’m aware what water weight, pre menstrual weight, scales at night versus morning, naked versus clothed is all about. I can usually tell you my “real weight” within a pound or two just from how my clothes are fitting and know full well to ignore a lot of what the scale says, trust me, I’m a motivational scale guru for many.

That is, until today. Over the last few weeks I’ve actively been a little better. I did a cleanse (oh dear god, why we purposely give ourselves straight up diarrhea is beyond me), I’ve cut back my drinking, I’ve tried to minimize portions and go back to healthy snacking and less meals out. I’ve minimized that bread and returned to my sparkling waters and almond milks. And god bless the current boy as either he is blind and hasn’t noticed those increasingly-tight jeans, or he really just does love big boobs, but I could honestly say I think a pound or two has slid off and I’m feeling just a little sexier, but then again, what do I know, right?

Today the scale lied to me, or truthed me and I’m lying to myself. But, it had me up 3 lbs from a number I already was less than pleased with. And then 2 minutes later down 11lbs from that. And then 30 seconds after I had dropped another 7, and then regained 14 and then went back to the original weight. In a 4 minute window I was an 18 lb size difference, which is a lot when you just wanna know if a little less beer payed off!  I decided you know what? If I (think) I’m doing better, well, that’s step 1 and if my scale can bounce me from mental breakdown to win the lottery weight in a 4 minute window something must be wrong. I can assume that I am probably somewhere in the middle of all that and the most important thing is really the weight off my mind. So, I’m going to ignore it entirely, assume it’s broken and re-assess things base on how I’m feeling and things are fitting, not on a machine that can’t even make up its own mind (oh wait, that’s right – machines don’t have minds).

I guess that’s the best way to handle life. It’s about how you feel, not what you hear, not what you see, not numbers on a contract, things in a house, vacations in a scrapbook. At the end of the day, how you feel about you and your decisions is the only thing that really matters…you are just made up of matter anyway.

You gotta ask yourself this question. Am I gonna believe all those bad things those fools say about me today? Am I gonna to believe all those bad things those fools say about me… – Constantine, The Help

The Ginga Ninja

 

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Pretend to Practice Patience

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red-potHave you ever waited for something? A parcel, proposal, promotion, unanswered text message or wait…let’s go old school and throw in waiting for a pot to boil? What I can tell you, is that it can be maddening.

For some reason, those hours, minutes even seconds while standing there in limbo can last an eternity. The outcome you need, it just can’t come soon enough and it is oh so hard to concentrate on things outside of that outcome. Do another activity? Get sidetracked. Talk to somebody else, mind wanders away. Decide to relax, might as well be in a bed of scorpions. Life is a little like that, when we are expecting something and we know what we are expecting, we get impatient. We just want it to hurry up and be there already.

So, truth be told, not too long ago I saw my first ever psychic. I know, a psychic you say, do tell…

Well, as expected a lot of it can be debunked pretty quickly. Tell me your birthday? Age with no ring, chiStock_000004009819XSmalleck. You are here on Christmas Day with your brother while on holiday? Sad, lonely and sense of something missing, check. You are a certain age and live in a big city? You must work too much and are finally able to rest assured financially, check. Anyhow, all joking aside, she did seem to hit some things on the head, whether by chance or by certain. I was told I was open, both in terms of the world and spiritually (funnily enough, the “gifted” ones have thrown this tidbit my way before), I was also told I had a lot of worries in my past, that I have carried around other people’s expectations, baggage, fears and guilts as my own and that it wasn’t my future that had any issue, it’s my painful past. It will all be okay, if only I can practice patience…I guess I’ll have to wait and see.

Well, I have been trying to practice patience for quite sometime. Every once in awhile I give up on goals and creating new plans, visions or ideas…and I just sit. Sit in my life, in my couch, in my job, with my friends, my family. And then something unexpected puts you ass over tea kettle. Your brother knocks up his fiancée 9 months to the day of the wedding, you are still dating a manchild that you met 6 months earlier at a bar and completely unannounced or unknown, well, David Bowie dies!

Most of those things don’t totally affect my life, but you know what I mean. Patience, once you’ve decided you want something is incredibly hard to practice. Let’s create a new saying, “Practice Takes Patience”, or even more appropriately – Practice makes perfect, patience makes practice?

Pretty sure nobody is letting me rewrite well-known clichés as much as I may prefer my own versions.

Either way, I guess my best advice is find a way around the problem that doesn’t require patience – go directly to the source, support your position, text that fucker first, better yet, propose if you have to. Either you need to negate the need for patience, or damn, just gotta stop watching that pot.

Self-doubt may help my writing, but it won’t help my living. Just because you want something doesn’t mean you’ll get it. – The Carrie Diaries

The Ginga Ninja

The Best Things in Life Aren’t Free

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x354Money makes the world go round. It’s sad, but hell, it’s true. Truer than true in fact. There are so many old sayings about money that it’s not even funny (maybe I should go back to sad), but that’s because it is so integral to our everyday life. Long gone are the days where you forage the land for food, trade services for survival or even when just having one income, one car in the garage and a roof over your head were the definition of success.

No, today success comes in many forms. Unfortunately the most obvious being vacations, wealth and things. Do we really need so many things? Should there really be at a minimum THREE television shows about hoarding?  And since when did “likes” on Facebook mean more than actually liking your own life? Who cares if somebody else likes that you went to a concert or how you set up your new coffee table, isn’t all that matters that you do?

I’m as guilty as the rest of them. I’ve had periods of being pretty “modern-day” poor and I can worry like a champ. I can splurge and spend as well as I can save and thrift.  The funny thing when it comes to wealth is it’s all about liquidity. How much do you have access to at any one time? For some reason that integral point seems to be the defining factor between perceived wealth and actual.

I am as poor as I’ve probably ever been – don’t own a house, still have loans to pay, yet for some reason have started handing out dolla bills as though I’m a big deal. I think it’s because suddenly that money is in my hand and it is my choice as to whether it goes to debt, vacation, entertainment, stuff or savings. It is up to me what percentage goes where and for some reason, this empowering feeling is a misconception of being successful. In reality, I am no better off than when I made less money and spent less on things, food and “stuff” – but it’s all about quality of life, all about how much it feels like I have, not actually about how much I have on paper (well, online statement, let’s be green here).

It got me thinking. I have a very wealthy family member…remarried and up to his eyeballs in debt, yet the fact that he has an enviable yearly income makes him seem untouchable beyond compare. On a daily basis I also see homeless vagabonds – holes in their mittens, scuffs on their shoes, pride on their signs; begging with their coffee cups. That hobo, that scruffy bum with $10 in hand is in truth wealthier than that lawyer, doctor, entertainer or dentist with debt. It’s not about what you have on paper, but in theory, right?

Well, once upon a time credit wasn’t accessible, credit cards didn’t exist and people didn’t need so much space or so many things. Toys were baseballs and ragdolls, cardboard swords, tree forts and old bicycles. Once upon a time there was no social media – nobody cared about your boring trip to see your grandparents in Florida, or the time you went camping. Vacations for me were roadtrips, summer jaunts, campgrounds and cabins. There was no European cruise, or South American jungle tour. There was no credit card for kids or even education funds to prep us for the all important (and expensive) education we are now forced to obtain.

That brings me back around to where we started – money makes the world go round. Whether you are happy or sad often depends on money, which is too bad. But, all those things that make you happy – books, gaming stations, vacations in the sun, hell, even heat for your house – well, they all cost money. So, though money can’t buy you happiness, it can buy you the things that make you happy.

Oh the sad, sad irony.

“While money can’t buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.”   – Groucho Marx

The Ginga Ninja

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That’s Why They Call it the Blues…The Winter Blues

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winter-bluesI’ve been extremely, overwhelmingly sick in my (well we’ll call it short) lifetime. Sometimes more than others and probably for different reasons. At the end of the day, normally I end up fatigued in the winter, get a respiratory infection, land myself on antibiotics and eventually get really ill with stomach problems and bacterial overgrowth. But, even hospital-inducing illness aside, the one thing I’ve always been known to struggle with is SAD. No, not just a big old frown on my face, but Seasonal Affective Disorder (otherwise funnily enough known as SAD, which is exactly what it makes you).

In changing a fair bit of my lifestyle and diet, I was able to somewhat escape it. Heaven forbid I live like a normal sucker and just get the winter blues instead of sweating, fainting and illness. This year however, well a flu led to a cold, let to lethargy…led to…and that’s where it ends goddammit. We’ll call mine, the Winter Reds.

It’s a cold, dark winter and I’m in the heart of the most depressing month. But, I’m doing my best to stay above water. Stay positive, accept that a basic “not giving a crap” attitude may come out of this and I will probably survive. Probably. Maybe with too many headaches, cramping muscles and bad moods, but probably still at least a step away from death’s door.

Well, I’m not alone in this battle. Cold cultures have a higher rate of suicide and divorce in January. People struggle with lethargy, lack of motivation, fatigue and a general depressing state in colder months. It’s why vacation hot spots peak and prices skyrocket. It’s why cold month babies are created and love handles exist. The winter months have our basic instinct bodies reverting to a sense of hibernation. Deep down, all we need is to stay warm, feed and save our energy. If we don’t, we just may not make it through alive.

So, this year I’m celebrating my SAD. That’s right, I said it, I’m HAPPY to celebrate my SAD.

A sad soul can kill quicker than a germ. – John Steinbeck

The Ginga Ninja

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