Category Archives: Risk

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not…(well maybe during sex)

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he-loves-me-notI cannot wait until the day that I tell you, “I understand dating, I understand love”. Because, to be brutally honest, I don’t! I am terrible at casual dating. Correction, I am terrible at casual sex.

Casual dating…you know, a date or three with a guy I’m feeling out, well I’m actually not too bad at. I’ve had many a friend point out how I have the ability to try once or twice with a Mr. Unsure and end it once I am Ms. Sure. You see, many never take that first step at all or continue seeing people who just aren’t…quite…there. But, when it comes to casual sex, I know I am in the minority who doesn’t seem to properly understand the concept.

Anytime that no strings attached is on the table, I’m not overly forward and I seem to have some sort of need to still be special, you know, to still matter. I want them to know my name, my face, my story and realize that in no way am I being charmed into anything I don’t want to do. The thing with that is, by the time I have primed somebody to be a friend with benefit, they truly see me as a friend and no longer want to benefit. What fun is getting tipsy and taking advantage of somebody once you start to actually respect them? Phhffftt.

There seems to be a limbo to dating categories as well. Sure, we all know what falling feels like, we all know what detached feels like, we know what dates versus hook-ups feels like…but what happens when you land yourself in the inevitable void? More than casual, less than together, more than friends, less than feelings. What happens when you like somebody’s company, time, affection and you are attracted to them, but there is no clear goal in sight? That time it takes to figure out whether you are in fact serious, or side-fodder is a mighty confusing one and to be honest, as we get older, time we do not have to spare.

When I was young, I found myself in a lot of situations where I knew the outcome may not be good, the guy may not be trusted and the meaning behind things was either incredibly complex or ridiculously simple, but I could not wrap my head around it because sometimes my feelings outweighed my facts. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten better at identifying these situations. I know how I deserve to be treated and I know what I want in different phases of my own life. The problem with that is over the years there have been the ones where you just know it’s happening, the ones who won’t commit, the ones who you would never want to commit and the ones who come at you like a freight train only to slam on the brakes the moment you board. For some reason in my teen years I lived in the word of won’t committers. They didn’t want to let me go, but they didn’t want to let their independence go either. In my 20’s I seemed to be on board some slow-moving, somewhat reliable modes of transport and in my 30’s I seem to keep meeting the inevitable detached box car. They think they are running out of track and race after you like there is no tomorrow only to realize there was a reason that they went solo afterall.

But, that limbo world, that not knowing what is going to happen or what I want out of it world? That is one that I rarely choose to visit anymore because frankly I don’t have the energy or the time. Trying to decipher what something means or somebody feels is incredibly hard and if you feel you aren’t getting the appreciation you deserve, is it reality, perception, overly high standards or honestly maybe you aren’t getting what you actually deserve. In a world so filled with unknowns, wouldn’t it be nice to have your worth known?

The Ginga Ninja

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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

Can Unemployed Be Enjoyed?

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Unemployment is a scary word. I mean, I’ve gone through periods where it was my choice (taking a month or two with family prior to or after living overseas), but the moment it stops being your choice….well, basically, you feel like you are failing.

Unemployed people are lazy, they are not as talented, or they are poor at Marketing their abilities, right?  Not always right. The world is many shades of grey, sometimes you need to look for eggshell before you find white or the charcoal before you hit black.  Sometimes EMPLOYED people can be lazy, less talented or poor at Marketing their abilities, but a friend of the family, or 20 years in a job keeps them in the green.  If you think really hard, often the brightest minds were the least stable and taking the most risks.

So, recently we met a group of people who never went to post-secondary school, only worked half the year and did door-to-door sales. I think our initial reaction was that these people were kind of lazy and didn’t have real jobs.  I mean, geeze man, grow up.  If you make such good money, why not work more and save up?  Well, let’s be honest, if you could only work 5 hours a day, 5 months a year and make enough to just dick around the rest of the time, wouldn’t you?

We’ve all had stressful jobs and chaotic periods of time where we would just like a break.  A break from work, from family obligation, from responsibilities and frankly from our life. When you get this much needed break, but it isn’t your choice, suddenly there is a perception of pity and worry around you.  But, sometimes a break gives you the perspective you need to figure out what really matters to you.

I know that shockingly, once I got over the first month of full-time unemployment, I stopped worrying.  I am probably going to be working for the next 35 years, so what’s 6 months off?  The market isn’t what it used to be and taking the wrong job can affect more than you think.  So, when you are working part-time and still have creative outlets, suddenly it doesn’t seem so bad.  I’m a diligent worker, but not a great 9-5er; my health suffers, I’m constantly running late and I am horrible at keeping work at work.  As it turns out, I am best when I am my own boss and make my own hours. I’ve needed to let go of the stigma that I am failing or not living “regular life” and figure out how the hell to create financial stability with my new found enlightenment.

Everybody is different and once we let go of the expectations of others, we can better understand the expectations of self. Not everybody is the same, so we need to remember what works for one may not work for another. I just know that with each new person I meet, my opinions change and each new experience I have, my expectations lower. My dad once said, figure out what you love and the money will come.  I like to think that reigns true for most things – so figure out the money and it leaves time for the things you love.

“I get it now; I didn’t get it then. That life is about losing and about doing it as gracefully as possible…and enjoying everything in between.” – Mia Farrow

The Ginga Ninja

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Show Me the Money

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rmoneyWhen it comes to finances and life; is there a right way and a wrong way to handle money?  I used to think so.  I don’t think so much anymore.

I always came from the school of thought that you work your ass off, save as much as you can, minimize debt, try to squeeze as much fun as you can out of every last dime and always save for a rainy day.  In more recent years, despite the fact that I still have loads of debt, I also have more liquidity.  If I were smart I would be squirreling away what I do have and making some sort of investment, yet I find myself throwing caution (and money) to the wind in an effort to get back all those wasted years of worrying about money all the time.

This is not to say I never worry about money anymore.  I do, everyone does.  Even my brother who makes the value of his house every year in wages worries about money, but I must admit I don’t worry the same.  On a recent drunken escapade I mentioned to a friend that if it’s $60 and under I no longer worry, I just buy.  The stupidity of that theory is spend $60 too many times and it adds up.  At one point in my 20’s I actually had to count my takeout coffees to decide whether or not I could hit up the bar on the weekend, or afford that new 50% off coat.  How quickly we forget where we came from.

But, when are finances black and white?  We all know people who spend like there is no tomorrow and can’t help but tsk them in the back corner, but we also know people who are cheap bastards and ask for money to pitch into meat.  There has to be a happy medium.

And what happens to your finances when you are suddenly single? All those fantastic savings plans, RRFPs, mortgages, and education bonds sort of fly right out the window.  Does the heart become more important than the head when it comes to money?  Well, I think this area has shades of grey as well.

A good friend of mine did the decent thing in a breakup and walked away with nothing.  He gave up the house, the savings and all earthly belongings just to have a clean break.  Now, a year or two later, he finds himself in a financial pickle.  The head has caught up to the heart and clarity reigns once more.  However, I have another friend who was so intent on getting return from his investment, he attempted to stay in the mortgage with his ex for the long haul, inevitably tying them together for years to come.  So, when do you cut your losses?

I think I can say there isn’t a real right or wrong when it comes to finances…or feelings.  Everybody will have opinions, many will be wrong and somewhere deep in the middle is the fine line we are all searching for.  All I can say is that the last two years have rocked me financially and yet I am more loosey goosey with my funds then ever before.  Call it carefree, call it crazy, but I know I can call it life right now.  And my friend, since I don’t know where that is heading, all I can do is pray for my next keeper to be a multi-billion dollar investment banker living off the coast of Costa Rica in his beachfront home with a yacht parked out front…kidding, sort of.piggybank-red

“When I was young, I thought money was the most important thing in the world.  Now that I am older, I know it is.”  – Oscar Wilde

The Ginga Ninja

He Got on the Plane

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say-anything-john-cusackWhatever happened to chivalry? Does it only exist in 80’s movies? I want John Cusack holding a boombox outside my window. I want to ride off on a lawnmower with Patrick Dempsey. I want Jake from Sixteen Candles waiting outside the church for me. I want Judd Nelson thrusting his fist into the air because he knows he got me. Just once I want my life to be like an 80’s movie, preferably one with a really awesome musical number for no apparent reason. But no, no, John Hughes did not direct my life. – Olive Penderghast, Easy A.

And isn’t it too bad that he didn’t?  I wish that movie love scenes were real and that boys really did do these things.  I also really wish my life was set to a soundtrack or had a really awesome choreographed dance scene.  Music makes everything better.  I mean, it can also make things sadder and nobody wants that, but it makes the good moments a little more good and the memorable ones a lot more memorable.  But, back to the point, where is the romance?

Is romance the little gestures or the big ones?

Do you think planning 25 gifts for a 25th birthday, or just simply getting somebody a coffee when they are tired the real gesture?  Is looking at somebody with love in your eyes worth more than a fist-fight in the street?  Is having the decency to text someone back more meaningful than a cross-continent flight?  Is remembering your fourth anniversary better than a private jet to Paris?  You tell me.  Don’t get me wrong, nobody I have ever dated could afford a private jet to Paris, but is love in the big things or the little ones?

I know that I have tried in my own guarded way to show love.  Through thoughtful gifts, gestures, words, personalized breakfasts and daily hugs I have tried my best.  I may not always be perfect, but goddammit, I have tried.  And so have a few others along the way, even jaded old me can admit that.

I once dated a boy who lit a hallway with candles and scattered rose petals to my bed.  I was hand-delivered the ultimate girl-romance moment (cue the song “Kiss Me” now), but I was only 22.  The whole thing seemed a little overdone and awkward if I’m honest.  I have also had the long-awaited regret email, love poetry sent by letter and most shockingly, the vacation fling turned real.  And recently?  I had a young man continually try to put his arm around me 50’s style while walking along a boardwalk…he took deep, satisfying sighs and stared dreamily up into the moonlight.  You know what?  The whole thing was annoying…and FAKE.

But, love, real love should be making a sacrifice, no matter how small.  For years I begged a partner to turn to me and look at me as he sang the Proclaimers 6 simple words “…And I would walk 500 miles…” and he never would…in all our years together he never would.  That small, miniscule act would have meant the John-Hughes-chivalry-loving moments of 80’s movies could come true more than any over-the-top widely inappropriate gesture ever would.

In today’s day and age a text is not enough.  An e-birthday card, a facebook profile pic, a comment on a status update…these things are not romance.  Romance is waiting on somebody’s porch for them to come home – not texting them at 3 am.  Romance is telling somebody they look stunning, not sending a booty call message spelling “come” with only 3 letters and a “u”.  Romance is buying every single lemon baked good you find because it’s somebody’s favourite, not adding them to your circles on Google+.

But, like in the movies, (even the highly realistic ones that know life is not a musical and romance is not a John Hughes movie)….it comes now and again.  You still hear about beautiful proposal stories, men giving up gluten for their intolerant wives and ladies moving across the world to be with their man.  Just the other day a male friend of mine admitted that once he ordered flowers from his florist girlfriend under a false name and showed up to give them to her in person.  Oh, and a tiny sidenote, she lived in another country.  He made me smirk, but he proved chivalry is in fact not dead.  Now, I just need to work on getting him to follow me around with a boombox and start flash mobs often…totally not kidding.

At least that girl got what most of us movie-loving wannabes can only dream about.  But, let’s just say it does give me a reason to still dream.  I don’t expect my life or my love to be perfect.  I don’t expect in today’s busy day and age that I will be on somebody’s mind at all times, but at least a story or two (even sometimes my own) make me realize I can still dream for Prince Charming, even if he is only Charming for a Moment.

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The Ginga Ninja

Maybe the Deadly Sins aren’t so Deadly after all…

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Pride-w-bckgrnd-580x250Over the past year and a half, despite ups and downs, I keep finding myself both proud and amazed of the little things I figure out.  By nature, I like to have projects on the go.  Painting somebody’s toy trunk, updating an old piece of furniture, creating party playlists…I’m a doer.  Now, I’m less of a doer than I used to be and I’m definitely less of doer than I was (sometimes) forced to be, but that’s only because I had to learn to focus on me, not just tasks at hand.

That being said, last summer I could’ve used a lot more tasks.  This summer there simply weren’t enough hours in the day.  It’s so interesting how 1 year later your problems can be completely different.  Last year I was stressed at work, this year I was borderline bored.  Last year I was melting away in my new apartment wishing for things to do, and there were moments this year I wished I took on a little less!

Either way, I have accomplished a lot on my own.  This doesn’t negate that friends, family, and neighbours have helped me of course, but I mean…living on my own.  No roommates, no boyfriends.  The crap your dad or husband does?  Well, I have had to learn to do it.manicure-set

This has included things both large and small – from learning to use spray sunscreen on my own back to things pretty darn large – like learning how to redneck tie my muffler with a coat hanger.  Throughout the last year I have learned how to fix my own internet, call around for car quotes, sand, fill and stain wood, putty in holes, install air conditioners, use a nail gun, relight pilots, silicon my sink, research alloy rim bolt patterns and possibly most impressive for me…..a month or so ago I spent an hour fixing my own brakes on my new bike.  This is almost a freaking miracle as I haven’t owned a bike since I was about 15.

But, I used to think I had a pretty decent list even before that.  My dad taught me to be somewhat self-sufficient.  I could hang my own pictures, paint my own furniture, hook up my own VCR, check my oil and even know how to detail a car…rust and all.  Each time my mom and I debate about how busy we are (or how little she thinks my dad does), I have to remind her that those things she takes for granted – my dad cooking, doing registration on her car, filling her gas, fixing the internet, installing the DVD Player, fixing her birdhouse…well, me and a lot of other women don’t necessarily have that luxury.  There are more ways to be successful in life and frankly, handling your own life is probably number one.  Funnily enough, making another $10,000 or visiting a far away land now seem like less of an accomplishment than learning to clean out the air conditioner filter.

Think long and hard.  If you had to name what you were proudest of…what would it be?

I know a lot of strong women, so whether it be emotionally or otherwise – I’m so proud of everyone for all they have accomplished.  So, though there are women out there probably a lot handier than me – I have a feeling there are a lot that are less too.  Not too long ago I had two boys both tell me how sexy my self-reliance actually was.   Just yesterday I had an old friend say, “Well, aren’t you a handy little girl.”  It was interesting to think, but I guess an independent women can be both intimidating as well as appealing – I guess it just depends on how secure the lad is.  However, I don’t want to be sexist, so if you are a single guy, you can be proud of yourself too.  A good friend of mine actually learned about wiring just so he didn’t have to pay somebody to install his chandelier.  Even that is a challenge I’m not quite ready to undertake yet…maybe next year.

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If there is only one thing in my life that I am proud of, it’s that I’ve never been a kept woman.                                                                                                                                                    – Marilyn Monroe

The Ginga Ninja

Caught in a Life Triangle

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redhead, love triangle, archieHow many times has broken telephone stepped in to complicate your life?  He said that she said that her sister’s mother’s friend’s babysitter’s cat saw you talking to your neighbour’s teacher’s principle’s daughter and heard that you said…..And then somehow gossip starts, accusations fly and you are caught in the middle of a crossfire of words.  Every innocent thing you said or open-minded thought you had gets twisted and you are meant to defend your opinion, or worse yet, defend your defense of a situation, conversation, or person.  I guess they say Defense is the best Offence. I don’t think they have a clue.

I try really hard to play devil’s advocate when I can.  Everybody has a side, a heart, a story and a point of view.  Every single situation needs a grain of salt to measure it.  Wouldn’t I love to be an ant on the wall when things went down in the first place – sure, but history, hurt feelings and ultimately egos get involved and suddenly you are caught in a triangle.  Whether with an old friend, an arch nemesis, a new romance, or a family member…when your name gets pulled into something, there is nowhere to run from the war of words.

Now, don’t even get me started on Love Triangles.  Most people have never successfully avoided them – no matter how minor.  Somebody’s boyfriend flirts with their friend, somebody lies, somebody hides, somebody cowers and somebody yearns. Without them we would’t have such wonderful films as Something Borrowed, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Made of Honor, Bridget Jones Diary...or an actual good movie, Legends of the Fall.  I seem to somehow be that girl that attracts boys in almost-dead relationships.  I don’t step outside of the lines once I’m aware of what’s going on, but either I have “she’s a friendly soul, bare your heart to her” or “good in bed” stamped on my forehead, because let me tell you… I attract em like flies.  And if I’m completely honest, I’ve had a friends’ ex or two come to me after the fact to say they always liked me and were too scared to admit it.  Thankfully I have the good sense to say no thank you kind sir, but often the mere fact that it came out causes a new and awful moral dilemma. To tell or not to tell?  And all these things? Frankly, make me feel sick.

I don’t like drama, I don’t like having to defend myself, my actions, or my beliefs and I definitely don’t like the awkward position that two people’s history can put other people in.  My advice?  Don’t be a devil’s advocate in a world full of individual lives – people look out for themselves and not all people like looking at all sides.  One side suits them just fine.  But, being too passionate about any one topic will see you get in almost as much trouble; maybe you just feel more passionate about that wall you are leaning on.  I guess the only way to avoid this is to avoid people, avoid feelings, avoid circumstance, avoid speaking and become a fingerless mute who can neither say, (nor text) anything that could ever get them in trouble. I’ll work on that because no matter who is right and who is wrong…there are usually shades of grey somewhere in there between those solid colours of black and white.

The funny part of this is while I’m writing this post; I’m watching the all-time classic movie Grease and sitting riveted as all those triangles unfold.  If only Danny admitted to the guys he cared about the girl and didn’t “summer love” her on the beach…all would have been fine.  He wouldn’t act non-nonchalant in front of her at the bonfire, she wouldn’t date the dumb jock, he wouldn’t join the track team, Cha Cha wouldn’t be a problem and don’t even get me started on Kenickie and Rizzo.  But, then again…had all these triangles and misinterpreted events NOT occurred, there would be no plot.  No Summer Lovin, no scenes under the stars, we wouldn’t learn the hand jive and we definitely would never get the dictionary updated with “shoo bop shoo wada wada yippity boom da boom”.

So.  Did I just teach myself a lesson?  Each time life hands you lemons, grab the tequila, because goddammit, alcohol helps you through drama. Oops, wait, that’s another lesson.

There is no avoidance of being involved from time to time in petty misunderstandings and relationships woes.  Want to know why?  Because then you would be perfect.  And I don’t know about you my friend, but I’m only perfectly flawed.

Gossip is the Devil’s Radio – George Harrison

The Ginga Ninja