Tag Archives: risk

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

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

Can Unemployed Be Enjoyed?

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24167437-grunge-rubber-stamp-with-word-unemployed-vector-illustration

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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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

Going on a Manhunt

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red puma logoOkay, I’m not.  But, it is the main chorus of a kick ass song from the Flashdance soundtrack.

“I’m goin’ on a manhunt, turn it around
Women have been hunted, now they’re huntin’ around
Manhunt, we all got the need
The one that’s been waitin’ has taken the lead”

I’m a Cougar.  Nay, I’m a Puma.  Or at least that’s what I’ve been told.  I guess technically there needs to be at least a 9 year age gap to be considered a Cougar, or some garbage like that.  Either way, the point is that I’ve dated younger guys.  This isn’t something I planned, and once upon a time in my youth I actually dated substantially older guys, but either way, I have found my last two serious relationships were with younger men.  Seriously folks, last two…

A drunk homeopath who believes in astrology once told me that her sister was also a Virgo and kept dating younger men to feel perpetually youthful.  (A crystal ball would be nice right about now).  Last I checked that wasn’t my reason why, but who knows. Maybe my obsession with Disneyworld runs a little deeper than even I know.

But, seriously…what is the acceptable standard on dating nowadays?  It seems as though anything goes.  I was recently told that 4 years either side is most compatible and I’ve often heard of the “Rule of 7”…this means that you can date anybody within 7 years either side of your current age.  This very useful math equation means I can date as young as 24!  Even I begin to shy away at the 25 and under mark.  Though, I must admit, I really love Zac Efron.  Like, really love. Like would have his beautiful babies love…..

Aside from my love for that condom-dropping Highschool Musical star…for awhile there I was loud and proud with my kitten-nabbing skills.  This was however, when I naively believed they may be flings, or was around the time when Demi and Ashton first got together and showed the world how amazing an older woman can be.  But, he has since hooked up with Mila Kunis, she has landed herself in rehab, and me?

Well, I have found out that the tide just keeps washing away my line in the sand and things aren’t quite as clear as I once believed them to be.  I’m more forgiving of my friends than I am of myself, but I’ll keep looking at that horizon and watch the sun set on each and every day (in this analogy it’s the ocean….get it?)  Though I guess I should have gone with Serengeti or something very safari-ish…cougar…puma…nevermind, you get it. Either way, I’m trying my best to look forward to the next sunrise and the next adventure that unbeknownst to me is out there….older…or dare I say it…younger again.

red cougars“I was so much older then, I’m much younger than that now” – The Traveling Wilburys

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

Heroine or Heroin, They’ll Both Make you Crazy

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joan of arc, redheadIt’s strange.  You sort of wake up one day, after a period of transition, a period of loss, a period of uncertainty and realize…you are okay….as just you.  You are okay alone and you are okay in your own skin.  You don’t know how it happened and you don’t know what was the tipping point – did you need a certain amount of time alone, did you need a certain number of failed dates, did you need a period of loneliness, of grief, of illness or depression to get you here? But, you wake up one day and not only are you okay on your own, but you feel the most secure you have in awhile.  Heck, maybe you feel the most secure you have in …well, ever.

That my friends is where I am.  I felt secure when I was in a functioning relationship and knew that I wanted a different end to my life.  I felt secure when I was getting high grades and receiving compliments for getting in shape.  I feel secure when people are praising my calm demeanor at work or my ability to handle uncertain vacations, car repairs and health problems, but why now?  I actually got told the other week by 4 different people that I was so positive; they couldn’t believe how positive I was.  ME?  Positive?  Say it ain’t so.

I mean, life hasn’t exactly gotten any easier.  If anything I’m making less money and have less love prospects than ever before – the future is uncertain, my job is a mess and my health is only so-so, but for some reason, I feel more ME than…well, than I can remember.

I have always hung onto this little picture in the back of my mind of my happily ever after.  My  version of life that would kick ass.  I have spent countless hours working hard, playing hard and worrying needlessly to achieve this end goal. There wouldn’t be too much hardship, there would be financial freedom, there would be a doting, yet charmingly badass husband who was a lovable, yet stern father and I would find the relationship with my mother I always dreamed of.  I would live in a world where there were no petty differences or misunderstandings, I would have perfect pets that didn’t vomit on my rug,  I would wake up magically a morning person everyday, my job would transition into something that I not only liked, but I excelled at…and all flawlessly, without a stressful moment in sight.

Well, I can tell you my life is nothing like that.  My life is not picture perfect, my finances are not secure, my cat DID in fact vomit on my rug, I’m debating hiring a cleaning lady for a one-bedroom apartment and I don’t know if and when I will ever transition into a money-making venture that lets me act as an entrepreneur and doesn’t provide daily heart arrhythmia.  But, what I do know, is that for the first time in a very long time…not only am I living in the present, but I’m not really worrying that much about it either.

I have a pretty cool gig when you stop to think about how hard life can be and how much I have accomplished on my own.  My loft is pretty kick-ass for my own place in a big city, my 13 year old car keeps trucking like a friend that won’t let me down and somehow I keep stumbling into decent career opportunities whether they spell long-term or not.  My health is on the rise, my problems are often self-induced (aren’t everyone’s) and even though I thought I was finally ready to let love back into my life, for the first time in my life…I don’t know if I need to.

I’m honestly, truly, at least for today…okay with me.  Just plain, simple, little, boring (yet quirky) me.  As sad as it is, that may go down as one of my all time greatest accomplishments.  The day I could genuinely say I was good enough…or let’s simplify that…I am good, or better yet, I am enough.

Sometimes your knight in shining armour is just a douchebag in tinfoil anyways. If Prince Charming is coming, well, he’s running pretty late and Juliet let me in on a little secret, her light at the end of the tunnel?  Well, he turned out to be nothing but a deadend. Maybe life’s greatest love is learning to love yourself.  Or maybe life’s greatest achievement is learning to live with yourself.  She may have died at the stake, but I guess I would take Joan of Arc over Juliet any day. Oh, my girl Joan?  That’s right bitches, she’s a ginger.  So, maybe, just maybe your fairytale ending is….you.

“My life has turned into a giant pumpkin and Prince Charming is very, very late.” –  Brooke Freeman, Shortland Street

The Ginga Ninja