World Cup-itis

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or don’t have access to any form of communication at all, you will know that the 2014 World Cup is in full swing.

For those of you who are not sports fans, I’ll sum up this work-stopping, life-stopping quadrennial event briefly.  32 national teams will compete for the title. There are three stages of play: group play, playoffs and the final. The 32 teams are split into 8 groups of 4, one or two of which are almost always titled the “Group of Death”, meaning that all 4 teams have a strong chance of advancing to the next stage, thus, all games are crucial. The top 2 teams from each group advance to sudden death playoffs, until we reach our final. Tricksy stuff ensues when you advance from the group stage to playoffs. Teams are awarded points for wins, and ties. If you have the same point total as another team, tiebreakers determine seeding. Ultimately, the more goals you score, the bigger buffer you have in the event of a tiebreaker.

It’s fairly straightforward, but for true non-soccer fans, I say this: take up a hobby for 30 days, because the rest of the planet will be watching the World Cup.

Group play is awesome. There are a generous amount of games (3 daily) for two straight weeks. You get to see powerhouses crash out in a ball of flames, (Yes, I am referring to Spain disappointing everyone, including most sports pundits), little engines that could, (Uruguay! USA! Switzerland!) and perennial heartbreak (England) unfold before our eyes. Even the most passive soccer fans will throw their support behind a national team, based on absolutely nothing more than “I liked their jerseys” or “well, I’m part *blank* nationality, I think?”

In any case, the beautiful game is firmly in the spotlight, and it is glorious. Now, obviously, I am a fan of soccer, I follow the English Premier League and a smattering of club teams throughout the normal year. We should, also note that I am a woman. And as such, World Cup is the female equivalent of the Victoria Secret Fashion Show for us. Listen, I know what you’re thinking, this girl talks about hockey as being her first love and blah blah blah. It is, and always will be. Let’s get real here for a moment though, there are very few, and I mean very few good looking hockey players (who have all of their teeth) in the NHL. Occasionally, pure superficialities beat out superior athleticism.

Now, World Cup-itis as I like to put it, has firmly stuck in my household. I have an American brother in law who was rather crushed at the USMNT defeat last week. (I was not). The real joy though has been reconnecting with friends abroad and near and all having the same topic of discussion. Take, for example, an acquaintance I met in Germany in 2009. He’s Swedish, we met in line at Oktoberfest. Until this summer, we touched base only now and then to see how the other was doing. For some reason, this year, that acquaintance has moved up in rank to good friend, and we have spoken everyday for almost a month now. He is not the only case of this happening. I can guarantee, if it weren’t for the World Cup and a healthy dose of technology, this would not be the case.

I’ve had an on-going argument with an American lately, (not the brother in law), about which sport is more popular on the world stage. Usually I would argue it would be hockey. For a few reasons: more nations than Canada play, it’s gained notoriety in the last few years and it has tournaments on the World level- the World Championships and the Olympics.

At the root of it

I am wrong. Take note of these three words, I will never utter them again. But I am so very wrong. It’s soccer (or football). One-hundred percent it is. It is global, you just need a ball, or something that will move like a ball, and find something to use as a net or goal posts. Bam, you have your equipment if you can move your feet. Sure, it’s not perfect, there is a lot of drama, corruption and diving. At the root of it though, no other sport is played by over half our planet. No other sport can be the harbinger of doom or sheer joy as this. I’m not even Spanish and I was shocked at their ousting. I’ve had a love-affair with Italy and my heart broke a little when they didn’t advance.

World Cup-itis has absolutely settled in. There is no known treatment, we just have to embrace it. Now please excuse me. Half time is over between Netherlands and Argentina, and a team in orange needs my attention.

Attack of the Intimidating Woman

About a week ago, I had a great coffee date to catch up with one of my friends from high school. He’s one of those people whom I was little worried about for a while in our early twenties. We had been very close in high school, and immediately following. But, as with life, we fell out of touch after I moved across the country for university. Of course, the advent of social media let me keep track of him so I knew the bare basics of what his life looked like.

Since university, he’s been on this one-man tear to follow his dreams. Moving to New York to pursue a career as an actor, and having the opportunity to study at the Lee Strasbourg School. He’s back home in Vancouver visiting for the holidays and our schedules serendipitously aligned for us to grab some coffee, and embark on an ambitious 2 hour catch up of approximately the last decade of our lives. Challenge accepted. During this conversation, he referred to me as being “intimidating” more than once. And after the third time, I had to ask him to clarify his definition of the word. Was my being an intimidating woman a good thing, or a bad thing? Turns out, it was great.

As he so eloquently described, an intimidating woman:

  • Has her shit together
  • She has drive and determination, personally and professionally
  • Is a grown woman (she has no time for the “trivial shit other girls obsess over”)
  • Doesn’t need to impress you with make up, and clothes, she let’s her wit win you over
  • She is comfortable in her own skin, and doesn’t feel the need to apologize for how you think she looks
  • Has self confidence, (apparently this is the #1 attractor) and as a result is both beautiful and smart

Needless to say, I asked him to stick around and continue to whisper sweet nothings to me all day long. It did get me thinking though, why the choice of “intimidating” as the main descriptor? Why not strong, driven, or a plethora of other options? His answer: because you’re the type of woman every guy wants, but is scared shitless when they actually get you. They don’t know what to do with you, because you’re equally as happy with or without us. The only difference here is that by needing us, you show vulnerability, giving us a glimmer of hope.

Obviously, this was a lot to take in at 10AM in the morning. I always thought there was something about me that I couldn’t put my finger on. How I managed to end up surrounding myself with some really great people, in particular, strong women and driven personalities. He summed it up in the laws of attraction- that you get back what you put out into the universe.

So what was this all supposed to mean? Did I give off some signal that screamed “Caution, intimidating woman, be afraid”? (This may explain portions of my dating life.) According to my source of male insight, this was quite the opposite, the only thing that “screamed” off me, and those like me, is that you better bring your best self to the table before approaching, because otherwise you will not be given the time of day. Sure, this sounds fairly bitchy and discriminatory, when it fact, it just means that you are self-aware and do not have time for those who are not.

Of course hearing this from an old, but close friend was a pleasant surprise. It also was reassuring to hear this coming from someone who also knew me “back when”, so they have a reference point. The moral of the story here is that yes, I am and can be a lot to handle, but I have equally the same to offer. I am, in fact, a unicorn. There are more of us popping up here and there across the land. Be ready friends, the attack of intimidating women is coming, and in the word’s of Beyoncé, “you’re not ready for this jelly”.

The One Where Her Guard Fell

I’ve been meaning to write something like this for a while, but never really had the cajones to do it. This last year has been tough, amazing, but tough, in all aspects of life. So I figure doing some cathartic writing therapy, before charging into 2014 was as good a time as any. This is going to get personal fast, but we all know I wear my heart on my sleeve. For better or worse.

The best way to attack this is to break it down, categorically. We’ll briefly touch on friendships, career(s), and love. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Friendship:
About a year ago, it became clear to me that someone I thought would be in my life forever, as my best friend, would not in fact be that person. I’ve been told time and again that people are in our lives sometimes for a certain length of time to teach us about ourselves, and move on. I firmly believe this was what she was to me now. We’ll call her AB. We had a great ride, I mean, I can honestly say that I have never, and likely will never pick up a girl at a bar again on St. Patrick’s Day, by offering to swap our dates for each other, and then end up leaving together without either of them. Upon moving back to Ottawa last year, she and I tried to dive right back in. Big mistake. A lot had changed for both of us, and we were not the same university students anymore. She decided to pull the rip cord, and I, though completely disapproving of her actions, did not push her. It is now a year later, and we have not spoken. Not to sound ungrateful, but her absence, though known,  has not necessarily been missed. Sure, I recall fondly our time together, memories and conversations. But my life has not suffered for it, there is no void. When I realized this, about 6 months into my imposed friendship exile, I knew I was at peace with it. I wish her only the best in life, hold no ill will, and thank her for everything she has taught me. This is not a conclusion that would have come so easily to me in the past. I would sit and over analyze it, pick apart everything said and figure out how to fix it. I fight for people I love, and friendships sometimes to a fault, and I know now that it’s ok to let someone step back if they need to, they’ll come back if they are meant to be in your life. Frankly, if I had gone into past-Meera-psycho-mode, I think this situation would be a lot more miserable than it was, and I don’t think either of us would have been OK with that.

Career(s):
If I can say one thing about 2013, it is that I have legitimately worked my ass off. (No, seriously, my ass is smaller than it used to be, I’m pissed). I have held down, at any given time, anywhere between one to four jobs, and at full steam put in 70-80 work weeks. Everything about my life at that time was amazing and miserable simultaneously. You know when people say that they really value work-life balance? Let’s just say I didn’t believe in it. While working these crazy hours, I sacrificed my health, my sanity, friends wondered who the zombie-like brown girl was in the room, and the person in my life took matters into their own hands, and turned off my cellphone, and laptop to just get me to watch a football game with him. This job consumed me. It came to a bit of an abrupt end, which absolutely caught me off guard, but also gave me a healthy dose of reality. I knew what I wanted out of a mentor, a boss, and this person did not fit the bill. Losing that job got me back to BC, (the place of my last missing mojo crisis) but this time I was coming back with my tail between my legs, but my head held high. Part of that mojo loss was placing expectations others had for me, above those of my own. I can’t function that way, especially when those people (the closest to me), do it out of love. I understand their concern, but them worrying about me, and constantly voicing their opinion on the matter became suffocating the last time. I knew that coming in, and asked for my space. Lo and behold, it took a while, but employment came in a tidal wave, and I am glad to say I am finishing off the year in a good place, and in Vancouver, somewhat permanently.*

Love:
Love is a fickle, unforgiving bitch. OK, maybe not totally true, but I have a point! I can honestly say that this past couple of years, I was in love, in lust, and just plain bored. Let’s begin with bored. You know when friends tell you that you should take up a hobby? Maybe actually take up a hobby, and don’t do what I did- date someone as a social experiment, realize you do like them a bit, but not as much as they you, and then brutally dump them hastily before a party because that wasn’t part of the plan. No one likes a bitch, let me tell you. Boy A, let’s call him, met me at a time where someone I like to refer to as “bored-Meera” showed up. She’s got a job, got a good group of friends, and decides to bring in some companionship to boot. Nothing serious, a dalliance, someone to go out with, spend some time with and then say thank you and move along. All-in-all a solid plan, until it blows up in your face. Boy A ended up falling for me a bit, this was a no-no. Not in the plans, and not what I wanted. I chose him for external factors that seemed to be ideally suited for where I was mentally at the time, and then he went and threw the caring wrench into it. Sorry to say, that relationship ended (on relatively good terms), we went our separate ways, and I fell in lust.

Enter #2, Hulk. Here was someone who was smart, funny, loved football (and played it too!), and seemingly loved a lot about me. The duper became the duped here. This is a situation where I thoroughly thought there was something substantial going on with us, assumed the feeling was mutual and never sought to clarify. This went on eight months. Note to future Meera: always clarify, it saves you a lot of time, and a lot of looking like a ass. Had I clarified, this could have been a mutually beneficial situation, instead, I was a little surly and a little upset for a time, but I got over it. I can say, looking back on my time with Hulk, I regret nothing, we were great fun while it lasted, it was nice to feel like a real woman, (my girls know what I mean), and I harbour no grudges. If anything, I thank him for making me realize the massive douche-nozzle (real term, I said so) I was to Boy A up there, and I am better for it.

The final chapter, #3. The one where her guard fell down. Hulk up there, he taught me to not be a jerk, but he also taught me to have my guard up, and not drop it so easily any more. Enter the Magnet. Something about this person has always kept me interested for the greater part of a decade. Be that on a mental, physical, spiritual level. He is the type of person that makes me so furious when we talk because he constantly challenges me on everything, but that can say one word or phrase and I give up. He had said, repeatedly since we had been together that we were going to change each other, whether we intended to or not. The Magnet was 100% correct. My constant questioning of his carefree nature and live in the moment attitude balanced out his lack of observation for the rules of relationships that I adhere to. I fell hard, fast, and absolutely was in denial of it, until it was too late. Magnet is the type of person who says whatever is on his mind about you, and “we” and does not question it. That’s a scary thing, to be presented with someone who cares for you so fiercely that they say, honestly so, they see a future with you. And when in my sarcastic nature challenge them to paint it out, the illustration is so realistic is scares the shit out of you. As we know, I am the take what you say with a grain of salt type person, and Magnet managed to beat that side out of me. I began to believe him, and eventually I saw it too, clearly. I told him I finally got what he was talking about, and I was in. If you could have seen the look on his face, it was like a kid that was just told “hey, it’s Christmas morning everyday for a year, oh, and you can eat ice cream for breakfast too”. His reaction to my revelation? “Finally, now I’m not the only one in this.”  You know it’s a bad break-up when I’m the one trying to hold back an all out sob because he emailed you to end things because shit got real for him. That’s when I knew precisely how bad it was. I don’t cry over men, I haven’t in a while, because I’m just as happy in a relationship as I am out. This just pulled the rug out from under me. Suddenly all of the trials I had been through the past year or two didn’t matter as much. My heart dropped, my breath went shallow: no, not him. It was a slap in the face, and kick in the gut at the same time. And moreover, email? WHO THE HELL DOES THAT? He was right, our relationship did change me, he gave me a sense of clarity in what I want in a partner, he also cleared up the what I don’ts. So, thank you Magnet, for finally answering the what-if. Our timing has, and likely always will be off, but I know I think perhaps you were more caught up in the idea of us than the reality of us. We will always be messy, complicated, tricky to navigate, and it could be glorious, or a disaster. We both knew there would be no in-between. Because, if you weren’t, you’d have stayed and fought. Let’s face it, you’re the first person who ever told me I was worth fighting for, and fortunately, that is the one thing that has not changed.

This verbal rant fills the void of blog posts from the fall, (see above writings for reasonings why), and also serves as a verbal confirmation that yes, I am doing all right, thank you. So 2014, I look to you for bigger, better and more enlightening occurrences.  Until then, enough real talk, I have a spiked hot chocolate with my name on it waiting for me.

I leave you with words of wisdom sent to me from the aforementioned best friend and bride of earlier this year:

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And She Walked Down The Aisle

A few weeks ago, I stood by my best friend’s side as she said “I do” to her husband.

This was an enlightening experience on many levels. Of course, the most obvious being that I am unimaginably thrilled for her to begin this new and exciting chapter of her life. It also made me realize that this was just a part of the inevitable tsunami of weddings and babies that accompanies someone in their mid-to-late twenties.

Every where someone in my “age-box” looks, there’s a couple getting engaged, walking down the aisle or procreating. It’s a bit unnerving, to say the least. Weddings are one of those things “grown ups” do, so coming to the conclusion, as a spectator, that I am no where near that phase of my life was a bit of a check and balance moment. The usual laundry list of questions floods your brain:

  • Am I where I thought I would be at [X] years old?
  • Is marriage something I want to do?
  • Would I be good and nurturing as a parent?
  • What about everything I wanted to do BEFORE  all of this grown up stuff had to happen?
  • Does this mean I have to start thinking about mortgages, gift registry listings, and retirement residences?
  • Oh good God, do I really have to get those people a wedding gift?
  • Wait, a blender costs how much?
  • The bride gets whatever she wants, right?
  • Are these guests silently (or not so silently in some cases) judging the single-me in attendance?
  • Those baby “necessities” are how much?
  • Pay rent, or show face at an acquaintances wedding and great a free meal/open bar?

Some, if not all, of these questions have flooded through my absent minded brain in the last twelve to eighteen months.  To varying levels of intensity, I’ve tried my best to answer them. That’s when I came to the conclusion that some times, not having an answer is OK. (In other times, yes, you do have to give them a wedding gift, and yes that blender’s price tag is $300.)

These life milestones come in waves, some people are just more comfortable to dive in sooner. I am firmly in the second wave, the group that holds out for a while. It’s a realization that was not easy to come to grips with, especially given my last year. But having faced it, I know it to be true. Things will happen when they do for my friends and I in our time. Just because we’re not on the fast track doesn’t make it any less worthwhile or fulfilling.

In the mean time, we collectively wish those diving in sooner the best in their new adventures, while relishing the time we have left to experience life on our own terms, for just a little bit longer. I have a few more things to cross off my checklist before diving forward too!

Having Pushy Friends Probably Saved My Life (Or How I Got My Groove Back).

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Anyone that knows me can vouch for the fact that moving back to Vancouver after university changed me, for better or for worse. That diagnosis depends on who you talk to. I would side with “for worse”. Something about being home eventually made me lose a pretty big piece of myself. My confidence dwindled, my fire went out.

I have long suspected that my friends are superior to most. For some unknown reason, my gut and my sense of personal judgement have allowed me to gravitate toward some amazing people. The past six months have only highlighted the fact that I have made great judgement calls in that regard. Since moving back east I have regained that sense of self that I thought had left me forever. Thanks, almost fully to having pushy friends. Two in particular, and you know who you are. One convinced me to get on a plane, fed and sheltered me. The other kept me sane, my head above water and constantly refused to let me give up myself or have a pity party for one.

No offense intended to friend number one, but it’s friend two I need to praise and thank right now. This person has constantly found ways of encouraging me and supporting me even when I had nothing left. Today, I want to acknowledge and thank them profusely for their everlasting faith in my abilities and tenacity, lord knows I had no idea I had the capacity to land on my feet in such a way. I am going to reference excerpts of an email they wrote me in the summer, picking me up from the bottom of the barrel and putting me back on the right path.

Question posed: What do you think is my greatest strength?

“Joking aside, and I know this is going to come as a shock to you, but I think your greatest strength is your self. You know who you are. You are one of the most adult people I know. Everyone knows how they stand with you. You are up-front and straightforward.

 When I met you I knew you were one of those girls, and there aren’t many of them, who is good in relationships but at the same time isn’t quivering when she is alone. You are strong enough to be happy in either without being swallowed up in any extreme. You know your self, and what you are as a human being. Most people discover only the peripheral of themselves until they are faced with death. You are different. You understand what is funny. You know what makes you happy. You know about friendship and love and heartache and life. You have a sort of gravity, even when you are making light of something, that shows people your depth and level of understanding.  

I think this is your greatest strength because it is what makes you strong and able to resist peer pressure, and the pressures of life. Most people ask themselves “what would Jesus (or some other religious leader) do?” (Or, in my case, “What would Barney Stinson Do?”). I like to think that you ask yourself “What Would Almeera Do?” Then….you do that.”

Question: What do you think I should let go of?

I think you should let go of worry. I think you should let go of the American insanity that seems to pervade our culture and embrace the European worry-free mentality that is their trademark. You consciously try to do a lot, and to push hard and push yourself, but I don’t know if you require that propulsion to be amazing. Honestly, that’s my only advice to you. Let go. Just let go in general. You won’t fall if you let go of the ledge, you will just float away from the wall. You aren’t hanging off a cliff, you are in a pool of water. Take a breath and relax those fingers and feel your own natural buoyancy keep you afloat. What would Almeera do? She would just chill and lean back and have complete understanding that she can just float on her back and smile in the sun. 

 

You see? You don’t need to worry because of who you are as a person. You are talented and smart and strong. I hope to have daughters like you. You are cool and chic but oh so smart. I don’t have the worry that you will end up marrying the wrong person or finding yourself in completely the wrong area of your life because you are only going to do what is smart. You are only going to do what is Almeera approved. You don’t need other people’s approval. You don’t need to be patted on the head – you pat your own head, while holding other people’s hands and helping them through life. 

What do you wish I was less of, for my sake?

Shortsighted? (See Last Question).

What do you think I could give myself more credit for or celebrate more?

How far you’ve come in life. 

Here’s my theory. Hillary Clinton was pretty awesome when she was young. She had to have been pretty awesome, otherwise she never would have grown up to secretary of state, first lady, and all around champ. Obviously she didn’t know where she was going to end up through it all, but she must have known that she was awesome. She must have had some impression that she was smarter than others around her and that she could go pretty far in life. Now – assume that Secretary of State Hillary remembers the Hillary who has finished school and had some hard days when she was around 30 years old. Being a bit lost, or having trouble with something. I think that, if she remembers the struggles that everyone faces, she would start to laugh and smile in remembrance of how shortsighted she must seem to herself at 30. She wishes she could send a note to herself back in time. The note would read “don’t worry about the little things in life, or the month you feel a little bit lost or adrift….you are going to be both first lady and secretary of state. Also, you are going to be super rich. P.S. Definitely cheat on Bill Clinton.” 

This is why you should cheat on Bill Clinton. Errr. I mean – this is why you shouldn’t think of your life in days or weeks or months. You should think of it in acts, or decades, or as a long and unbroken journey. You can’t understand the first or last chapters without the whole story. 

This is, in essence, why I don’t think you’ve lost your mojo. I know that your mojo is YOU. When you are in the right place, or the right circumstances present themselves, you are yourself. Know why – you are always yourself. It, honestly, is just a weird phase. Read some letters from future Meera. She knows a lot of shit. She would write you the most humbling and compelling letter ever written. Something you would read and make your personal manifesto. It would read just like the last paragraph of this email. (Although hers would be better). ***Don’t skip ahead and read the last paragraph!

This is why I say that you shouldn’t be shortsighted. Because future Almeera is way smarter than current people. She has the answers. You have to know that you are her – and she is you. (I also ghost-write for Maya Angelou in my spare time). 

Your half-remembered rendition of “Walking in Memphis” is still the best version I’ve ever heard. A life half lived well far exceeds three whole lives where there is no understanding of the things that makes a self whole and life complete. 

I want you to feel three things (with this letter, and with life): Celebrated, Supported, and Good. Meeri, I love you. You are great. You are strong and kind and warm. I want my friends to be like you. I want to be like you. I want my daughters to be like you. I want them to know that their lives hold promise and strength and that they are limitless in their capacity to love and obtain knowledge and know the beauty in living. I want them to know what you know – that you can live with grace and humility. That being beautiful and smart is possible simultaneously. That if you are good then good people will find you. That you can recover from the bad things in life just by being open to the good. I think that the word Almeera should be written in music notes.

With an opus like that, how can you deny I haven’t made great life choices in the friend category? I remember the day I got that email. I cried because I didn’t believe a word of it. It’s been seven months since that landed in my inbox, and I and now beginning to see glimpses of that person my friend talked about. I can’t deny the fact it’s a great feeling to think that you are actually living up to the idea of yourself. Hopefully this is something I can continue to build upon on the days and weeks to come. I am getting back to the person I thought I was once upon a time, and with the gentle nudge of a friend or two, that wouldn’t be possible.

So, you obviously know who you are. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

The Fall Quarter

2012 has continued to move at a blistering pace. The summer moved faster than I could keep up, and the next thing I know, October is around the corner. This brings us to a reflection of my resolutions for this year- as you’ll recall, I set these goals in January. For reference sake, you can peek at the original post. As I’ve done previously, I’ll summarize quickly below.

  1. I blog at least once a week, by the end of 2012.
  2. I travel outside Canada once this year, (2012), for at least a week, job or no job.
  3. I am employed by March 1, 2012.
  4. I bake one item for all family celebrations this year, not repeating recipes.
  5. I improve my decorating and frosting skills by taking a class, or practicing a lot.
  6. I am more kind, and patient in all of my relationships (long-term goal).
  7. I dent my 30 x 30 goal*, in the next 3 years in a big, big way.
  8. I reconcile with “being selfish”- doing things for myself, for no other reason.
  9. I read 50 books by December 31, 2012.
  10. I learn a second language (again): French/Italian, from my school days (long-term).
  11. I get healthier, so as to prolong my life. Activities include: cardio, more yoga, hiking three times a week, to start (long-term goal).

On the whole, I’ve managed to make headway in most of these goals, keeping in mind that some were written as longer term goals, and for my own sanity, some goals were shelved completely for the time-being. Let’s begin with the obvious: I have not blogged once a week, in fact, it has been far less frequent, but, I do make the case for quality over quantity. I have not yet travelled outside of Canada for a week, however there is still a good portion of the year remaining to amend that.

I was indeed employed by March 1, 2012. With an accounting firm based in downtown Vancouver, a contract that was book-ended with a contract at an insurance company located conveniently across the street from my previous job. As of this moment (September 24, 2012), I am once more, fun-employed, this time in Ottawa. Here, my job hunting prowess begins anew (relatively speaking), though I have high hopes for this city.

Goals 3 and 4 can be grouped hand in hand, and I am saddened to say, life changes took priority over these two aspirations. Fear not, foodie friends, Christmas is peeking around the corner, so salvation, and royal icing will once more take centre stage! Goal 7, my 30 x 30 goal is on going, and a constant presence in the back of my mind, so it is shelved for this moment, but not forgotten. Goals 10 and 11 are both once again long term goals that I have been working toward since the start of the year. My mind and body have thanked me for my actions thus far, so I assume staying the course is the only option at this moment.

Goal 6 and 8, being more patient in all of my relationships, as well as being more selfish, is still a work-in-progress. I think this is something we all continually strive to do throughout our adult lives. To that extent, this got put the test prior to my move with my family, their fears and wants for me, as well as our overall ability to communicate openly and effectively. Yes, it is tough when there is such a strong generational gap and overarching outlook on life between your parents and yourself, and in my case, my sister and brother-in-law really helped but a lot of things in to perspective for me. Something I have yet to thank them for, and something that I am not sure I can ever fully express my gratitude over. I do have to say that it is truly humbling to realize that I have so many good people in my corner, backing me up.

I have made major headway in my 50 Book Pledge this summer, currently cutting my teeth on Anna Karenina. It’s a tough mother of a read, but I hope the commitment will pay off. It’s one of those books that you hear constantly of; best-seller lists, greatest reads of all time, most talked about, etc. I had to give it a shot.

There you have it, a super quick update on my resolutions set back in January. Honestly, if I didn’t know better, I’d have thought those goals were made in a different year, by a different person. In a way, that is precisely the case- the girl who started out 2012 is certainly not the same person writing this blog now, for better or worse, she’s changed, and I’m kind of liking it.

Ch-ch-changes

In life, sometimes we all need to take a risk from time to time, if only to spice up the ordinary by trying a new cuisine, or more drastic options, such as packing up your life and moving clear across the country on a wing and a prayer. As most of you may have gathered by now, I am not one for the small gesture. For me, if a change needs to happen, it needs to be balls-to-the-wall or not at all, otherwise it won’t have nearly the impact desired.

Long story short, it’s been just over a month since my last post, I no longer call Vancouver “home”, and find myself 3542km across the country in Ottawa with friends who happen to be like family to me, trying to start the next chapter of my life. This decision was not made lightly at all. Sure, I flipped back and forth on it for the greater half of the summer and ultimately, this was a decision that wasn’t a choice at all. A shift had to occur in my life anyway, and what better place to go than somewhere with legitimate job prospects and a solid as steel support system?

It’s been one week since I’ve arrived. Yes, it feels rather surreal to not see my family or friends in Vancouver daily or weekly. Yes, it feels surreal to see my friends here in Ottawa daily or weekly. This will all taking some adjusting and getting used to. Can I do it? Absolutely. Do I have any regrets? As of right now, no. I can’t say with 100% confidence (more like, 95%) that this is where I am meant to be. However, I can say with 100% certainty that I am not meant to be in Vancouver right now. That’s all the clarity I need for the moment. I know that’s not a lot of assurances to go on for most people, my family members included. Most of them are worried for me, scared of what may or may not come to fruition for me. I completely understand and respect that. However, sometimes following your gut pays off, and my gut hasn’t been this settled on a choice I’ve made in a long time. It’s hard to convey that feeling to people who don’t function that way; the people who need quantitative facts and figures to weigh their options and then take the appropriate course of action. Perhaps it’s a generational gap kind of thing, or a miscommunication of sorts. Regardless, here I am, and here I will be for the foreseeable future.

I find it amazing how much information the human brain can retain. It has only been one week since I’ve moved here, and 3 years since I last officially lived here. In a lot of ways, nothing and everything has changed. My internal navigation system hasn’t quite failed me yet (thank goodness). The surreal feeling I was referring to above is mainly to do with my friends. People I rely upon daily through the wonderful advances in technology, and now they are in front of me- tangibly. My male roommate and friend pointed this out to me a short few hours ago. Our “brunches” we reserved for each other on Sundays when I lived here can now occur at any moment, I just need to ask. It’s the little things like that, the safety nets I didn’t quite realize I needed that let me know things will be OK.

As the quote says above, 20 seconds of insane courage was all it took for me to start my next chapter. I’m not sure what will be written of it, but I can promise it will be entertaining, heartfelt, full of life experiences, and most importantly, all of my own doing.

The Quarterly Report

Seeing as 2012 has whipped by, I felt it was only right to reflect back on the resolutions for this year I set out back in January. Of course, for this to happen, a recap of sorts must occur (if you’d like the full blown version, you can refer back to the original post). For the sake of expediency, I’ll summarize quickly below.

  1. I blog at least once a week, by the end of 2012.
  2. I travel outside Canada once this year, (2012), for at least a week, job or no job.
  3. I am employed by March 1, 2012.
  4. I bake one item for all family celebrations this year, not repeating recipes.
  5. I improve my decorating and frosting skills by taking a class, or practicing a lot.
  6. I am more kind, and patient in all of my relationships (long-term goal).
  7. I dent my 30 x 30 goal*, in the next 3 years in a big, big way.
  8. I reconcile with “being selfish”- doing things for myself, for no other reason.
  9. I read 50 books by December 31, 2012.
  10. I learn a second language (again): French/Italian, from my school days (long-term).
  11. I get healthier, so as to prolong my life. Activities include: cardio, more yoga, hiking three times a week, to start (long-term goal).

Shamefully, I admit I have not blogged once a week. In fact, I’ve been lucky to get around to it once a month. This will, and should change moving forward. Perhaps it was a lack of inspiration, or write-worthy topics. Either way, this will be amended! Next up, I am pumped to admit that travel plans are in the works, this touches on numbers 2 and 7. Fall 2012 appears to be travel season for this Vancouverite, with a jump across the pond. I’m hoping to visit friends both new and old, one of whom I have been promising to visit since he left Canada in the summer of 2005!

On the employment front, this came to fruition at the end of February, technically 3 days prior to my March 1st prediction. Though my employment was only a temp gig, it got me out and about, with a pretty solid reference to boot. Graciously, they offered to extend my stay, but I had to decline, it’s hard enough trying to find out my path in life, let alone work a job that I know I would out grow in a short time frame.

As for my baking outlook, not too much has warranted my annexing of my kitchen this year. I helped my mom bake a few birthday cakes though, so I suppose that almost counts. I was, however, bequeathed with decorating and frosting duties, both of which I think have vastly improved from my starting position of not knowing anything two short years ago!

Since resolutions 6 and 8 are an on-going process, I cannot comment on any movement. I do feel that I have developed a greater sense of empathy and understanding for the relationships in my life that in the past have proven to be very difficult. If this counts as a positive evolution, I’ll take it.

My 50 Book Pledge has taken a slight back seat since about mid-March. The last book I chose to undertake has been pretty dense, laden with heavy themes. As a result, I’ve stalled at only 9 books thus far, when I should be about 12-14 books in. I’ll catch up, I have faith. I just need to keep plugging through Free World, even if I can only get a chapter in a night. The next 5 books are already lined up and waiting to go.

Resolutions 10 and 11; I’ve started re-learning Italian, in doing so, I realized just how much I missed learning, and how fast I picked it up to begin with. The human mind continues to shock me. As for 11, “getting healthy”, this one has been open to interpretation. I have managed to get myself in a gym 2-3 times a week, interspersed with a lot of walking to and fro around the city. In addition, I have made the conscious effort to make better, healthier food decisions. In my specific situation, healthier in this sense has morphed into less of the physical nature of health and more the mental. Throughout this unemployment process, and job hunt, I suppose I wasn’t aware of how much an emotional toll my body is taking. Mentally, it drains and deflates you, resulting in a sense of complacency. This situation truly came to light in the weeks, when I think I hit that proverbial wall: questioning my choices in life to this point, and questioning my predisposed “plan” for the future. Plans change, and that’s ok. That is perhaps the best advice I’ve received, though processing it has been harder than anticipated. I’m positive I am not the only 25 year old facing this juncture in life, but I am definitely the only 25 year old in my immediate family or extended social circle who is, which makes things a bit more difficult. Somehow, down the line, I misplaced a bit of me (that spark, drive, mojo), and I wasn’t really ready to accept and agree to that observation. It took hearing it from an outsider to have it really hit home. Now, it’s up to me to do some major soul-searching to figure out where my mojo went, or where it lies now.

With that soul-baring statement, I leave you, and hope that you wish me luck in my attempts to find whatever it is I am looking for.