Tag Archives: motivational

A Life Less Extraordinary

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Does normal exist anymore?  In fact, did it ever?  I once heard a good quote, “Normal people are just people you don’t know very well yet”.  Once upon a time, the world existed in the mindset that everybody was normal, lived a normal life, wore normal clothes, and only hippies, radicals, and the like stood out from this crowd.  I think nowadays the message to be unique and be yourself has people wondering what that self is.  If we are all trying to find ourselves, and stand out with our unique talents and beliefs…isn’t trying to be unique now the new normal, and trying to be normal, the new stand out?

I come from a family of four kids.  Four very successful and very different kids…but, when young we all strived to have the same goals, same achievements, same wealth, and same standards of life. And now as adults, none of us are living identical lives.  Not all good, not all bad, not all of our choices are the right ones in hindsight, but we are all living within today’s standards of “normal”, which are frankly, well… none.

I had a recent discussion with my brother, where I said, “You know, in the eyes of what is considered traditionally normal, you are the only one of us living that life”.  He has 3 kids, 2 cats and dog, an addition on his house, has been married to the same woman for 10 years, loves golfing, going to cottages, planning vacations, and having backyard barbecues.  In the eyes of what my parents dreamed for us, he is living that dream.  Well, unless you count the Tiki Bar and Jimmy Buffet obsession…

I, on the other hand, have lived another life that though many people envy, has been frought with ups and downs, mainly based on my own fears of perpetually striving to improve, or having false assumptions that I was meant for something more than all those ‘normal’ kids.  That I, of all people, truly was special.  My measures of failure have been unrealistic, and my hopes and dreams have at times been abnormally big.  However, look at my photos, hear my stories, and imagine you are living my life….and you too will think I’ve lived the dream.  At least an interesting version of it.

Though I don’t have regrets (most of the time), I do have a newfound respect and love for my brother and his happiness in the simple things.  As I get older I want to remember life how I did when I was younger. I strive to have quiet nights, joy in the small stuff and an appreciation of the people and things in my life.  Not to mention that I sort of now love who I am more for my failures and epiphanies than my quote-on-quote “successes”.  I’m tired of struggling and striving and trying to be who I thought I should be…and am just excited to be who I am.  Or at a minimum continuing to figure out who that is.  I’m tired of making big plans, and ready to make little ones…because life is marathon, not a sprint my friend.

It’s amazing what ordinary people can do if they set out without preconceived notions. – Ben Stein

The Ginga Ninja

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If You Want the Rainbow, You’ve Got To Put Up With The Rain

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So, for anybody who has ever heard Blue Rodeo’s Till I am Myself Again, I guess there is truth in this title because after having gone through a major change they will yearn to (for lack of any better way to restate it) feel like themself again.  You just want to wake up one day and feel like the person you used to be, because sometimes, you just aren’t entirely sure where they went or why they even left.

“I want to know where my confidence went, one day it all disappeared…daytime’s a drag, nightime’s worse…I feel like a stranger from another world, but at least I am living again.  I don’t need a doctor to figure it out, I know what’s passing me by, when I look in the mirror sometimes I see traces of some other guy”….

I think this reigns true for most, minus of course that you don’t always have to be a guy to understand this feeling, but let’s face it – girl just wouldn’t rhyme…(tee hee). Either way, I think this is our very basic human flaw, but sometimes, just sometimes you have a moment where without meaning to, or even knowing when it changed…things just start feeling normal for you again.

For me, I guess this was the moment that I was out doing errands, watching storm clouds roll in and couldn’t wait to get home and crank up the tunes, unpack my groceries, dance around my apartment, and wait for the sky to explode. I can’t explain it, but it’s a feeling I have felt so many times in my life…the race to beat it, the thrill of running through the pouring rain, the safety of your inviting place and then the anticipation of hearing the thunder roll and watching the torrential downpour begin. The moment I feel this way, I know I’m getting back to me.

They say there is something cleansing about the rain.  It’s why people sing in it, dance in it, cry in it, and in Hollywood…well, anything goes. Nobody can forget the rain scene in The Notebook, Shawshank Redemption, Singing in the Rain, or that kiss in Spiderman…now if only real life emulated the movies our lives would all be a little bit better.  But, I think the rain does for a fleeting moment in time give us this freedom.  I for one love a good storm.  It gives you a reason to cuddle, to watch, to listen, to cry, and to contemplate.  There is no wrong way to watch a storm.  As a child I sat out on my front porch with my parents for every major downpour and a small piece of me will forever associate the rain to feeling young at heart and truly free.  Afterall…after the storm comes the calm.

So, to keep the clichés coming, in every life a little rain must fall and when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down…because without the rain, there would be no rainbow.

The Ginga Ninja

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When My Dad Didn’t Have My Hand….He Had My Back

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So, today is Father’s Day (at least in North America).  It’s a day to celebrate those (mainly) wonderful people we call Dad…or Pop, or Daddy, or in my case Brina….really whatever floats your boat.

But, for most little girls, their Dad is the one man who will love them forever, good and bad.  More often than not a girl knows the song she wants to dance with her father at her wedding, lloonnngg before there is a wedding to even plan.  Don’t get me wrong, not every man is meant to be a father and not every father is a good man, but if you were lucky like me…then up and down, approving or disapproving, over the years I still believe my Dad (aside from my elderly male cat) is the longest love I’ve had.

I recently sat on a plane with a very successful and divorced older man; the divorce caused him to re-evaluate his life and dedicate much of it to his daughters.  He was around my Dad’s age and I was around his daughter’s age. We had a very interesting discussion about career, life romance and love.  I felt like I was talking to my dad….and in all honesty, I think he felt like he was talking to his daughter.  He pointed out that he hoped, hoped that his eldest would eventually find a partner, but that he honestly thinks he raised her so well that men are intimidated by her.

It’s funny because that is a statement I have heard over and over throughout the years. It will take a secure man to love me.  If you were raised to be successful and you excelled at many things, your standards are high and you were told not to settle, but that in turn means you very well may…actually not settle.  However, I very recently came up with a new vantage point on this.  If you have a wonderful father – warm, communicative, successful career, handy around the house, likes to cook, cleans, does laundry…and  knows music trivia….wouldn’t you measure every man by him?  In essence, maybe the fact that I haven’t settled down yet is actually because I am measuring other men by the one man I value most.

So, as a Daddy’s girl I have to say, seriously Dad…I now believe it’s your fault I haven’t settled down.  Kidding…well, sort of.  But, actually more seriously, thank you for being my Dad.  I knew that when I had my first glass of red wine in Paris with my father, I was having it with a man who would love me forever.

Happy Father’s Day to all Dad’s out there, and happy daughters day to all those lucky enough to have a Dad like mine.

The Ginga Ninja

 

Oh Fortuna

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So, for all the times I whine, moan, cry, vent, dream, analyze and philosophize (and how much probably depends on who you are asking); I need to remind myself how LUCKY I am.  I may not remember this tomorrow, or when the phone company has charged me $193 in additional fees, or when I’m complaining about how it took THREE sets of movers to actually move a freaking piece of furniture…but, I am lucky.  I’m lucky because I’m here.

Good and bad, heartache or happiness, poor health and wealth, I need to remember that I’m lucky because I have tomorrow.  That alone means that everything in my future is still to come…that we don’t really know how things will end up.  A tragedy in the life of a co-worker reminded me of that today. There is no point obsessing about the possibilities of what could happen because let’s be honest, there just may be no someday.  No good…or bad.  Try your hardest to make someday today, and be thankful for the good things, no matter how simple.

We can picture the bad – a life of debt, your ex moving on, a future of boring Friday nights, crazy cat lady-isms and all, but really, truly, it’s all still open-ended.  Life is still an adventure.  Maybe our reality won’t be the blissful movie we envision, but it probably also won’t be the dark and dingy horror we fear.  In every sunset, hot bath, cuddle with your pet, good movie…is a little piece of why we should be grateful to be here.

If I stop to truly, honestly, think about the worst that can happen in every situation…most end up with me moving back in with my parents, who would (probably) reluctantly take me.  Pretty much none of them end up with me being homeless or in a psychiatric ward, so I guess that alone means that my life cannot be that bad.  So, even with imperfect skin, joints shot to hell, a cat that licks my armpit to wake me up (eww), and always wishing to lose that last 10 pounds….I guess it could always be worse.

This post is in respect to that lovely lady whose entire world just changed and who reminds me that some people have real problems.  I can’t promise I’ll never contemplate again, but I can promise I’ll try.

The Ginga Ninja