Tag Archives: Life

The Unfillable Void

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Void stampI’ve written posts here and there pointing out the occasional desire or maybe more appropriately put…emptiness we have filled with goals, aspirations, big dreams and pointless tasks. Somewhere along the way we are all taught there are certain benchmarks to hit in order to lead a “successful and fulfilling” life. Each and everytime we feel an uneasiness creeping up we try to tick off the next box on that list of fulfilling life moments and achievements, yet for some reason we are still left wanting.

I never understood this void. And better yet, I thought it was just me.

In our own little myopic worlds, we don’t seem to understand that everyone, and I mean everyone, suffers. But, to what extent and what emphasis is put on which wrong syllable is often measured by wealth, education and the basic hierarchy of needs. The saddest part of this is that no matter how much you achieve, how many things you attain and how much money you make…you may still have a little emptiness sitting in your stomach that you just can’t explain.

And this, my friends, is called the human condition.

For some reason our brains are hardwired to want to reach some sort of next step, next need, next want. If we don’t know what that is, sometimes we try to shake things up with a new degree, new career, new spouse, new car or even a new country. But, the bottom line is that no matter how many times we change it up, we can’t outrun it. The best version of ourselves is always just out of reach.

There are too many articles out there about happiness, anxiety, the meaning of life, self-help and self-worth for this epiphany to come to me and me alone. When are people happy?  Well, if we look at the study of psychology, this is all people have been talking about for centuries. The world’s greatest minds have been trying to decipher the meaning of life since the beginning of time, so what made any one of us think we were so special?

I finally understand, I’m not.Red_Void_by_Gaurdian

But, I also understand that this feeling most likely isn’t going away. When it creeps up after a big night of drinking, a breakup, looking at bank statements or being bored at your job…you need to accept it’s part of you, it’s part of life and there will always be more to have, to be, to want. All you can do is try your best to dull the ache, soften the voice, follow your dreams and realize that you are exactly the same as everyone else. The human condition is a condition indeed.

Mark Manson, a favourite of mine, explains it and explains it well. Stop trying to attain happiness and just try to learn acceptance. Pleasure is mistaken for happiness, and achievements mistaken for worth. Trust me when I say, it’s not always worth it. http://markmanson.net/stop-trying-to-be-happy#sxjbVV:6Q9y

The Ginga Ninja

 

 

Learn from your Success, Live for your Failure

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Fail BetterTry, try and try again. That’s what they say, right? Get back up on that horse. Climb every mountain? But, seriously when is enough, enough.

Well, in dating, at least casual dating… it doesn’t take much. One unanswered text can equal the end of something new and promising. And why? Well, because somebody hotter or funnier messaged or maybe a drink or two led to an inevitable makeout at the bar. Hell, maybe it was as simple as a bad day at work or the dislike of parking garages. We all want something until the moment it is inconvenient to us. Inconvenience is inconvenient, to put it in the simplest of terms. Maybe I can get even simpler – a pain in the arse.

But, when you think back to a lot of good things in your life, weren’t some of the most memorable ones awfully inconvenient? Your condo taking three times as long as it should, chipping away at a person to finally gain a friend, or maybe even continuing to ask the elusive one who rejected you out. I always wondered what those people must feel. How do they not get down? How do they keep getting up in the face of rejection, frustration and adversity to not feel bad about themselves, unworthy, unwanted, unwarranted. Well, the last one doesn’t make sense – but for most of us, pride is a nasty sin.

If something is hard, move on right? Wrong. Sometimes.

Most of the people who have ever become successes in their life failed and failed again. Happily married couples. Multi-millionaires. John Travolta. But, it was the trying again that got them where they were. So, I’ve been encouraged to (and have been trying to) make some mistakes. Honestly, what’s the worst that can happen?

As children we are taught not to talk to strangers, not to run into the street, not to play with fire. But, as we get older, always staying safe can prevent us from experiencing all that life has to offer.  If you never take risks, you don’t really get a chance to live at all. And what’s the fun in that? – The Carrie Diaries

The Ginga Ninja

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

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

broken-phone

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

Trivial Pursuit or Love? Both are just Games.

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dice-02-1024x787I have been dating for about…17 years now.  When I was younger, I don’t think I handled the crushes, maybes and what ifs too bad, but handled the big ones like a teenage drama queen.  Now, I can say the opposite seems to reign true.  The big ones?  Well, I do my best not to come undone, though the transition from being part of a twosome to creating your own identity is a hard one, so I may still unravel from time to time.  But, those maybes, what ifs, booty calls, whatsits and whosits?  Well, there are probably just as many of them as when I was younger, but they feel so much worse now. Perhaps it’s my societal clock ticking and the feeling that another one bites the dust, but sometimes I try to figure out why they feel so much worse, so heart-wrenchingly, sweat-inducingly horrific.  I mean, many, many times it is me pulling the chute, so why when somebody else leaves me hanging does it feel so bad?

I think that part of it has to do with having some piece of your newfound identity associated to loving yourself unconditionally and refusing to play games with your life, or your love.  But, what happens when you live by your rules and the other party doesn’t?  It brings us right back to the same old lesson.  You can’t control others, you can’t control the unknown and ultimately you can’t control life.  All you can control is your reaction to it.  So, sometimes I wonder why my reaction is so strong.  How can I actually question if I’m unloveable or whether I did something wrong because somebody else decided they didn’t want to be mine afterall?

That sounds harsh, but it’s true.  Of course we aren’t a match for everyone.  And of course sometimes somebody is using me as a distraction or timing really is everything.  The road to hell was paved with good intentions so they say.  But, how can somebody not fully chasing after you leave you feeling just a little bit less worthwhile?  Don’t you ultimately want to be with somebody who wants to be with you?  Yes. Yes.  And let me repeat…Yes.

We forget our worth when we are in it.  When we are in it, we think if only I hadn’t sent that picture, that extra text, lost my temper that one time, made that stupid joke, waited so long to get back to them…it would all be okay.  But, maybe sometimes it isn’t about us at all, but about the types of people we are willing to put our time into.  We love the idea of someone, even if not the right someone.  It explains why we can feel like something is missing…when it was never ours in the first place.  It is the idea of that ever elusive happily ever after, and all your dreams coming true that make you question if it is in fact YOU.  Deep down is it you, but not necessarily for the reasons you think.

It’s time to retrain ourselves.  Don’t lower your standards.  Don’t think you are too picky.  Don’t play hard to get.  Don’t play games.  Don’t change your values to win over the wrong person.  And don’t, please don’t (because I do) question whether you could have changed the outcome if only you had done something differently.  Maybe you could have.  But, do you want to be with a person who will end it because you sent one text too many, or admitted you were insecure from time to time?  Trust me, you can be good at playing the game, and still wish there wasn’t a game to play.

So, read this fantastical post (yes, I know it’s not a word, but put fantastic & wonderful together and the world becomes a better place) by fellow blogger, Aaron Westera and take all that it says to heart.  And I mean literally to heart – to YOUR heart.  You are not to be toyed with, you are not to be under-appreciated.  If you have to play games to get somebody, well, then you don’t have them to begin with and if they make you feel any less than the best version of you…run.  Run fast and run far.  But, run baby, run.

http://aaronwestera.tumblr.com/post/22917411339/it-all-starts-at-hello#.Ux0gyvldXt8

The Ginga Ninja

I Coulda been Somebody, I Coulda been a Contender

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On_the_Waterfront_posterI have a friend who tells me I’m really bad with perspective because I compare.  The funny thing is the other day she also said the same of herself.  I walk around and say “most people are…” or “I should be…” which in all reality makes no sense for me because I commonly break all these rules anyways.  You should date people you’re own age, you should settle down and get a respectable job after school; you should stay at home to save money.  Maybe I say these things because deep down my good little girl inner-child who (secretly) wants to please my parents and play with the good kids believes them…yet… I never ever actually do these things.  Does this instead just make me a contemplating badass?  A rebel with a cause?

I know that normal doesn’t exist.  In fact, as mentioned already, I heard that normal people are only people you don’t know yet.  I have enough experience and baggage to know life isn’t always easy.  I also fought damn hard to get others to accept the things I was finally accepting about myself.  I’m perfectly flawed and I know it.  Imperfectly balanced you might even say.  I have finally accepted that certain quirks and traits aren’t going away no matter how much I want them too or how much I try…no matter how much I sometimes wish I could pull some magic movie stunt and live someone else’s life for awhile just to see how it feels.

But, I guess even in that scenario I would still want to be me…you know, be aware that I’m now somebody else…which makes no sense at all.  In fact, in all the switcheroo movies I could think of, there is no plot that evolves this way…well, because it’s impossible.  Freaky Friday, Big, The Change Up, 17 Again…these characters merely swap bodies or have the wrong-aged mind in a different-aged body.

So, I guess I’m actually not that great at comparing after all, as I even when trying to come up with a good movie comparison, I can’t.

If that were the case I might swap my body for the one I had at 25, or maybe spend a day in one of Hefner’s Playboy Bunnies, but who are we kidding.  For as many things that I wish weren’t parts of me, there are just as many that I am happy that are.  I have to hope that those who love me – love me for the good…and not-so good traits too.  So for anybody that gets a little too competitive at Jeopardy, is obsessed with finding the best sugarless chocolate, puts the toilet paper roll on backwards, uses Kleenex to the bitter end, or thinks too much about what they should be doing instead of what they actually do…remember that should be doing and actually doing are 2 very different things and both are probably wrong…because frankly, no right exists.

Like the famous Marlon Brando scene in “On the Waterfront” there are people out there with expectations of how they could or should act, or in this case who they could or should be.  His character states, “You don’t understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it.”

Coulda, woulda, shoulda…..maybe some people really believe they can go back and undo things to make it different….me, I just believe that maybe as far as society goes there are things I “should” do….(and unfortunately may always reference them when I believe I’ve taken a gamble outside the secure and successful), but…I won’t.

Because frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn – Rhett Butler.  images

The Ginga Ninja