Tuesday, 22 December 2009

My Christmas Perspective

Well the Christmas season is here. Actually…I’m fairly sure it arrived several weeks ago, I’ve just had my head too far up my behind to realize it.

The trouble is, I’m not really in the Christmas spirit. Back in November had I grand plans to put up decorations (including the tree) and make a pretty picture of what we perceive Christmas to be. As the weeks passed me by, this task never really made it to the top of the “To Do” list. My other-half moved away from the Bay in early December, and in the weeks leading up to his departure, there were other things that required my attention. Since his departure…well…I just don’t really feel like it. I’m not one of those girls who needs their other half to be “complete” – but having someone by your side constantly for a substantial duration…it’s kind of an adjustment to be alone again.

So…back to my original point. No spirit.

The interesting thing – I know it’s not just me. During my outings to stores and restaurants, I have only heard “Merry Christmas” uttered twice. Where is it this year? Does anybody care? Has the additional burden of the ‘holidays’ finally broken the camel’s back? Has the enjoyment of Christmas been ruined by commercialism? Has the economy killed the spirit?

What is Christmas? I view it as one of the most stressful times of the year. Run, run, run. Shop, shop, shop. I don’t understand it. Was this really the purpose? I panic over the amount of money that I spend every Christmas. And this year, I refuse to do it. Oh yes, the whole supposed premise of Christmas is to give. But I do not understand why we have to spend copious amounts of money to prove our adoration of one another.

Why does Christmas need to be picture perfect? The perfect decorations, perfect gift-wrapping, perfect food…it is ONE FREAKING DAY OF THE YEAR.

Fine, call me Scrooge. Bah Humbug.

Here is my idea of Christmas...forget the gifts (really, kids like gifts; adults don’t need them)…go out with your friends and enjoy a nice dinner, and a couple of drinks and spend some real time together. Enjoy the moment, the company, the end of a year and the beginning of new possibilities. If you need to buy gifts - donate time, money, material possessions, to an organization/individual in dire need.

Nope, I haven’t bought a single present this year and I refuse to. I will not feel guilty about not partaking in the commercialistic nature of this ‘Holiday’. Instead, I will spend time with people who I want to see, sit back, hug my wallet, and enjoy the moment.

Happy Holidays.

Best Wishes...

Merry Christmas & Best Wishes for a safe, happy & healthy 2010 :)

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Step by Step Necessity

Ahh technology, how you failed me so! I’ve lost my best friend (my laptop) and potentially all of the information it contained. Being wonderfully complacent (it won’t happen to me!) and lacking motivation I failed to back up my most important documents, pictures, etc. Stupid me – I should have known better.

My week has been filled with planning and letting go. Maybe part of planning is the ability to let go – I had forgotten how easily I can disassociate myself with the unseen – if I can’t see it, it never existed. What a wonderful defense mechanism.

Stage one of this little endeavor has involved ripping apart my life – literally. Going through all of my possessions and throwing out. True to my background in archaeology, I am a pack rat; unfortunately pack ratting is a packing nightmare. My goal is that if the day should ever arrive that I want to leave here, I can just open my drawers and easily transfer all of the items into boxes. The challenge has been in turning up my nose to previously cherished items. Oh yes, and to maintain my motivation along the way.

One moment – I’m listening to a high school student complain about teachers – “he wants his students to fail. He expects me to be on time.” Oh my goodness! On time??!?! What a concept! Little a**holes here don’t know how lucky they have it. They would perish in an English school. I also love that comment “He wants his students to fail.” Yes, because that is how teachers get their kicks. Especially the additional paperwork that failing a student creates. WOOT WOOT…

Stage two – is to purposely put myself into employment peril. I have been at one of my jobs for nearly eleven years (January 15, 2010 = eleven…eeks…). Another one of my wonderful jobs *sarcasm* is an astonishing bust. Apparently I am committed to this job for another seven months. I am giving my notice to two of my bosses. Risky…a little…but I need to upheave my stability. Even so, I still have my regular fulltime job to look forward to in April…hmmm...

Stage three is the escape plan. I can move (I’ve been told – apparently my Mother is in the “Failure to Launch” mode; good movie), but I need the back up plan. Option one – try it for six months and move back here for the summer (if I must). Option two – move and keep moving until I find the life I want. Option two makes it necessary to keep downsizing my possession load.

It’s the reality that makes this a problem. There is no other place in Ontario (that I would move to) offering jobs that are any better than the ones I can get here. So the conundrum – move to a place I like, and work in a job I dislike…or stay in place I dislike, and do a job I dislike because it is easier.

Habit always wins out, doesn’t it?

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

In the moment of solace & realization

15 days left in 2009, and I am left wondering where it went. All I see is a blur (or maybe the frenzied haze that this blog is named for).

Last year I did my year end review (teacher…reflection, you’ve heard it before). Not today…maybe not ever.

I could say that I am exactly back to where I was last year – sitting at Starbucks, basically unemployed, not sure where to go, how to get there, grasping at miniscule straws, mourning decisions that became mistakes (those are life lessons, aren’t they?). I could say that I have NOW gone full circle…but you’ve heard that too…

A year ago I returned to leave. It was temporary – I recognized the necessity to change my life. I bought the plane ticket, packed my bags, and twelve hours before I was supposed to board that plane, I stopped myself. Maybe it was too soon – it had only been eight weeks since I had returned. Maybe I will never know, and will spend the rest of my time theorizing over it. The mystery that will always baffle me.

That moment was supposed to be temporary.

It has taken me a year to finally give up on my pursuit of England. In recent weeks I have finally let go of the connections that kept me bound to that experience. I closed my UK bank account – a little saddening, considering I needed permission to open that account. Finally, yesterday, I cashed in my plane ticket. That hurts a little more – it is finally my acceptance of failure, of my inability to control the situation. I should have gone back last January. Life is too short to have regrets, but I made the wrong decision, and I will regret it. One more for the “coulda, woulda, shoulda” file.

Cashing in that ticket also changes the balance of power. I had an escape – the final link between my old life (the travel, adventure, experience) and my present life (undecided, uninspired, unsure - anymore un-prefixes that I can find?). Now that scale is tipped, and I have my present life, and I’m not particularly sure I like that. I came home to leave, but instead of leaving, I am still here, stagnating in my mind.

The longer you sit here the more jaded you become. I hate being jaded – I would love to be eternally optimistic, and na├»ve; but I will settle for realistic. Why hasn’t the redo button been created for real-life?

What does it all mean? What are these increasingly depressing moments of reflection leading towards?

I know now – I used to leave it up to fate, and hoped that a magic wand would make it better. That’s not how it works though – change can only occur when we take the individual onus to create that change (yes Confucius, that is how it works). Along the way we are forced to take individual responsibility for our failures, and that is a righteous kick in the ass. You can try and leave it up to someone else to be the one to point out your failures to you, but that never truly works. By the way, do you know how many attempts it took me to spell “onus?” - who knew it was only a four letter word?!

So now what?

Maybe the last year was the obstacle I needed. From every experience something should be learned, and learn I have. I would love to be among the few who want to see this city take a positive direction, to help exact a change. The only problem with this city is its own negative self image. Desperation, bitterness and more jadedness. It is hard to be in a location that has given up on itself. And maybe one day I can be that force –but not today. Too much time spent in the shadows of negativity causes you to give up as well – I have too much of a mind to give up. I will leave, but not because I want to. Home will always be here, and one day I will return to it. Unless I fall in love with a warmer climate, and no longer to feel the need to subject myself to polar temperatures (let’s be realistic here, I do not love the cold).

I will always return to England – every time I hear “Warwick Avenue”, I find myself running through Victoria Station. It is my constant reminder that London isn’t that far.

I need to experience again – I find humour in experience, and this blog is lacking the humour it once had – mainly because I am lacking the humour…

And maybe this time I am ready to leap without looking. I have a plan, but not a formal one – formal plans never unfold as they should, and ultimately lead to disappointment. Today I am tired of disappointment. I have a path I plan on taking, and surely that is better than where I was at this time last year.