A little sunshine, a little rain

The light poured in through the window, letting me know morning was here, and that I had carelessly forgotten to close my blackout blinds before I had gone to sleep the night before.

I grudgingly swung my legs out of bed, shut the blinds, and wondered how much it would cost to plaster over a window and remove it from the room entirely. My head was pounding, and my mood worsened as I remembered the reasons for indulging in so much wine.

For lack of a better term, it felt like someone had taken the funny out of me. I am normally cheery (after coffee) and excited for my day (after the second cup of coffee), but as I downed my third cup, I realized I may need a little more than caffeine to put a smile on my face. I blasted some Bob Marley tunes as loud as humanly possible while I got ready, threw on some exercise clothes and sneakers, and got into my car. I wasn’t entirely sure where I was headed yet, but I knew I needed to go somewhere to clear my head.

I drove through the city, still unsure of my destination, when I spotted the top of the Museum for Human Rights. Oh yes, the Forks. The place I had gone to with a book and coffee almost everyday last summer, strolling along the paths and choosing a spot to lay down while I basked in the sunlight.

I quickly turned my car around and pulled into a spot. The walking paths were still wet, but I didn’t mind. I was grateful to be out in the fresh air, walking alongside the Red River. I grabbed a coffee, picked a bench, and looked out onto the water. This was my thinking place. It was where I made decisions, where I came to realizations, and where I let my problems go.

Life can be a rollercoaster sometimes. The ups and downs can throw us for a loop, and it’s easy to get taken for a ride. Situations that seem so black and white to someone else can appear a muddled tone of grey, leaving you confused and unsure of yourself. It is only once you step back and look at things in your life objectively, whether it be work, school, or relationships, that you will start to see things are they really are.

People are human. They make mistakes. They get hurt. They do the hurting. They feel. Sometimes they’re sorry, sometimes they’re not. But, lucky for us, it is ultimately always up to us to choose the lens through which we see a situation. We don’t have the power to control exactly what happens to us, but we do have the power to decide how we will react to it. We are in charge of our own happiness, and of the ability to decide if we will do everything we can to be ok.

And today, in the sunlight, I felt ok, and I let it go.

Blank

Usually the process of writing is easy. I sit down, open my computer, log in, and about ten minutes later, whatever thoughts I had in my head are now on my screen. Then I read it over, find god knows how many typos from striking the keys a little too enthusiastically, and try to fix them all before I hit “publish” and reward myself with ice cream and 6 hours of Scandal.

But every once in a while, something odd happens. I sit down, open my computer, log in, and……stare blankly at the screen. Whoa, whoa, whoa, what is going on here? Why are the thoughts in my head not flowing down my arms and onto the keyboard? I have so much to say! After staring at the screen for a while, I’ll try to think of creative things to do to jumpstart the process, like moving to a different room or going for a run to clear my head. And after deciding all those solutions require energy, I end up laying on the floor and seeing how many M&M’s I can catch in my mouth while throwing them in the air. (Zero, if you’re wondering.)

Then I begin to wonder if perhaps the writing will just stop. As if I had a certain number of words that I was allowed to type out, and the allotted amount had been reached. “Maybe that’s it until January,” I whisper to myself as an M&M hits me square in the eye.

It is usually around this time that I begin to get distracted from the original task at hand. The only bad thing about the convenience of being able to write on my laptop is the internal conflict that arises from convincing myself not to open a web browser and see what the rest of the world is doing. And when I say “what the rest of the world is doing,” I mean scrolling through Reddit for an hour and then adding 5 items to my Sephora cart before deciding I can’t afford them.

Eventually, and through the greatest amount of self-discipline I can muster, I make myself write out a few paragraphs, which usually ends in disappointment, but is still rewarded with a snack that has enough sugar in it to make me stay awake for my Netflix binge.

Or, if it’s a warm, sunny Sunday and I just want to write something so I can get outside, I’ll write about not being able to write.

 

Have a lovely week,

Diane

Woman, 29, seeking human for conversation and wine

Making friends at any age can be difficult, but it tends to get a little tricky as we age. What was once an easy feat in elementary school, has become an awkward “do we have enough in common that we can tolerate and perhaps even enjoy each other for 4 hours at a time” situation.

Since I’ve been away in the province with the mountains and pristine lakes for the past 10 years or so, most of my friendships from high school had become quite distant. Sure, I still had those friends that I remained close with over the phone or through my constant barrage of Instagram posts, but over time the friends I met for dinner during my twice-yearly visits slowly waned. And since I’m nearing the big 3-0, most of those same friends are either married or raising tiny humans, while I’m over here sleeping till the crack of noon on weekends and feeding myself whatever I find in my freezer (frozen burritos, anyone?)

That is why, when I made the decision to move back, I knew I would most likely have to expand my horizons to meet new people. Since I was no longer a bar person, I was looking forward to my classes at the university, hopeful I might stumble upon someone in the same life situation, someone that had chosen post-secondary a little later than the norm. Even if I ended up friends with a few people in their second or third year of working toward their degree, surely they couldn’t be that different from when I was 18.

Want to feel old? Hang out with a group of people 10 years younger than you.

I wasn’t aware so much could change so quickly. They were saying things I didn’t understand. Someone asked me if I wanted to dip. Dip? Was that a new drug? Was that some sort of activity you did on campus? Was I……..BEING INITIATED INTO A GANG?

Ya, um, she was seeing if I wanted to leave the study area and go for lunch. Which, in hindsight, makes quite a bit of sense.

Ok, so I didn’t meet as many people as I had planned. I made a couple of good friends last semester, but this term had left me feeling a little isolated, and I had to come up with some sort of new idea. I groaned about my problems to a coworker, which was actually met with some constructive ideas. “Ok, so you like to read and write. Why don’t you go somewhere that people are reading and writing and make friends.”

Oh yes, I thought, I will go to the library. I will go to the library and approach someone reading at a table, preferably in the quiet section. I hate being disturbed when I’m reading, and obviously that’s something I would look for in a friend. When I get to them, I’ll make sure to have a big smile on my face so they know I’m friendly. Then, perhaps with a book in my hand so they don’t think I’m there just to scope out potential companions, I will loudly exclaim, “HELLO MY NAME IS DIANE WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE HOBBIES AND WILL YOU BE MY FRIEND?”

Ok, I see your horrified reaction. I suppose I could also do something active, like join a beer league softball team this summer, or run around the park purposely getting in the way of peoples frisbees until one of them talks to me.

Either way, I suppose leaving the house would be the first step.

Have a lovely week,

Diane

 

 

 

Pardon me?

I try to make the posts on here about 98% funny when I’m writing them (which usually just consists of me chuckling the entire time while I mutter “this is pure gold” under my breath), but after a comment I heard that’s been swimming around my head all week, I decided I needed to take a walk on the serious side.

While going for my usual healthy lunch at the university (just kidding, it was a burger), I overheard a conversation between who I assume were two students. They were talking about what they wanted to do after graduation, and the topic of their friends who hadn’t gone onto pursue post-secondary education came up. “Ya, I have one friend who works at *non-descriptive fast-food place*, and he doesn’t want to do anything else. Like, that’ll be his life. Pathetic.”

Oh, pardon me?

I cringed for a moment. Not just because of what was said, but because I know far too many people that carry this mentality.

“But, Diane!”, you say, “aren’t you also in university? Doesn’t that show that you feel you couldn’t do much with your life without spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on a degree?”

While I am attending university, my motives for going back for more post-secondary education didn’t stem from a fear of “being pathetic.” It came from a place of knowing I had more to learn about life, and while I feel a lot of that will be taught during traveling and simply living life, I felt there were critical thinking skills and ways of looking at things I could learn at the university.

That being said, the reason the comment bothered me so much was the idea of somehow being better than another human being because you made a different choice in life. If there is one thing I feel indescribably grateful to have learned in my twenties, it is that money, and whatever means you have achieved to obtain it, truly do not buy happiness. We have heard this constantly since we were children, but for every time those words left someones lips, an advertisement displaying the need for a bigger house or a nicer car was thrust into our line of sight, left to grow and fester in our subconscious until we were determined that the things we surrounded ourselves with would surely bring us joy.

It is for this reason that I know I am not better than anyone else. And it’s for this same reason that I know you’re not better than anyone else. The school you went to, the place you were born, the car you drive, the house you live in, the job you hold, the things you have, the money you spend, the bed you sleep in, the food you eat…..

They truly don’t mean anything.

Sure, it makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside when we achieve things. It gives purpose to a life that we all still have so many questions about. But when I turn the light off at night, I say a little thank you for each day, because I know the only important thing is that I lived in each and every moment, and that I appreciated every minute that I had that day.

We’re all here for the same reason, and as the 7 billion of us wander around this planet, it is so incredibly important to remember that not one of us is better than the rest.

 

Happy Sunday,

Diane

 

 

Cheeseburger, fries….and a diet Coke please

Not too long ago, I used to be incredibly healthy. I managed to get my heart rate up almost everyday (exercising, not looking at my growing student loan debt), and I stayed away from food that would make a paper bag translucent. Then, after moving back to my hometown, something strange happened….I started eating ALL THE FOOD. Maybe I had felt like my 2 years of hard work in the gym needed a break, but for whatever reason, I decided to go on a food-cation. Since it was the summer, I was still pretty active, so I allowed myself to indulge more than usual.

Then something terrible happened. I went to grab a pair of pants I hadn’t worn in quite a while, and as I slid them over my legs, they…….stopped. Yes, they just stopped. Was it some sort of pant protest? Did some a-hole break into my closet in the middle of the night and replace all my clothes with smaller ones? Had they shrunk……3 sizes in the wash?

I thought long and hard about how this could have happened. I still exercised, although probably not as vigorously as I used to. My routine used to consist of an hour of cardio and weights, and now it looked more like throwing on a 15 minute workout video while I thought about what I was going to eat for dinner until I eventually fell asleep on my yoga mat.

The food situation may also have been to blame. My caloric intake was starting to look like the daily nutritional recommendation for a family of 4. Breakfast sausage wraps were now a daily occurrence as I shoved one into my mouth on my way to the university, taking care to make eye contact with as many other drivers as possible so they could join me in reaching rock bottom.

My nightly eating habits didn’t help either. I used to have one treat meal per week, but now I was more in a treat year situation. The other day I had found a box of Ferrero Rocher from Valentine’s Day, and I seriously wondered how it survived almost a month in my presence. (I didn’t have to look far for the correct spelling of Ferrero Rocher, due to the 4 crumpled wrappers sitting an inch away from my laptop).

It was with this reflection that I realized I might need to revert back to my healthy ways. My thirtieth birthday is fast approaching, and for no particular reason whatsoever, I’d like to be in shape for it. Perhaps if only to battle the inevitable hangover I’ll be giving myself after I bid my twenties goodbye with a large amount of champagne.

I will start the healthy eating and exercising first thing tomorrow…..right after the St. Paddy’s Day festivities 😉

Have a good weekend!

Diane

To date, or not to date

After my decision to move my newly single self back to my hometown last summer, I wondered how much time I should allow myself before I jumped back into the dating pool. I hadn’t been on a first date in nearly 7 years, and I was quite sure things would be a little different than I remembered, especially since I was now nearing thirty. Not really sure how to go about it since I wasn’t into the bar scene anymore, I decided I would give online dating a try, just to see what it was like.

It was terrifying.

Let me paint you a picture. With the particular site I tried, you can set up an account pretty quickly. After answering a few questions about what you’re looking for, you can start interacting with people in a matter of minutes. The questions, however, were my first hurdle. One of the glaringly bright inquiries was “what are you looking for?” and the list gave options like “nothing serious, dating, a relationship,” and my personal favourite, “I want to get married right now.” Whoa, whoa, whoa! Can I select “coffee?” If I selected marriage, was a Justice of the Peace going to be waiting alongside my date, impatiently looking at her watch until we were done our drinks so she could get the ceremony over with? Mazel tov!

I got through more of the questions. Do you want children? Are you ok with dating someone with children? Are you ok with dating someone who is unsure if they want children but would be ok with dating someone who is sure that they want children?

What an exhausting five minutes.

I made it through the question round, and when the time came to put up a picture, I decided one couldn’t hurt. I chose carefully, as one does when selecting a picture that looks like a much more attractive version of themselves, and got down to business.

Here’s where things got weird. The notifications starting popping up. Then the emails started coming through. Ahhhhh! There were so many. And to make sure I’m not coming off as egotistical, I assure you that after speaking to many women about online dating, it is a normal occurrence to be bombarded with an absurd amount of messages when you first sign up. As much as I would like to think it was my *attractive* picture, I also had to keep in mind that the last time I tried flirting with a guy in public, winking at him perhaps too enthusiastically, he thought I was having a stroke.

I tried sorting through the messages as best I could. It’s so hard to give the appropriate amount of attention to each person trying to contact you when you’re getting “Hey girl, waz up?” every 30 seconds. After it died down a bit, I was able to message a couple of guys for a while, and ended up having some pretty funny conversations.

Even though I saw some potential, I decided after a few days that I might not be completely ready for all that online dating had to offer. It was a good lesson on what dating will be like in 2017, and perhaps I’ll try it again this summer.

Until then, if you see a girl out in public, furiously using half her face to wink at people, do say hello.

 

 

Can I get pineapple on that?

Relationships are tricky from the get-go. First, there’s the oh-so-delicate few weeks where you’re both pretending to be the absolute best versions of yourself. This is always an exciting time, when neither of you will get annoyed at anything, you’re both constantly trying to find the humour in everything, and nothing the other person does could possibly seem negative. “You don’t cook? We’ll order takeout!” “Not much of a cleaner? There’s a service for that.” “You murdered someone a few years back but they haven’t found the body yet? Who hasn’t!”

Then we move onto what I like to call the “tricked you” period. Now don’t get me wrong, I know that we, as human beings, don’t intentionally try to con people into liking us, but rather it’s done almost completely subconsciously. I’ve been guilty of this myself. When we first meet people, we want to come off as the best versions of ourselves. That’s why it’s so easy for the words “I can cook” to flow out of my mouth instead of, “last Tuesday I tried cooking a frozen pizza and ended up lighting the oven mitts on fire.”  But luckily for most of us, the new relationship feeling has yet to wear off, and when our seemingly tiny indiscretions come to light, it’s not that big of a deal.

Fast forward a few months after that, and you’ve reached the comfortable zone. I like to think of this as the make-it or break-it period. It’s all out in the open here. You’re spending most of your time together, it’s normal to assume you’ve got a permanent spot on their calendar every weekend, and you might even have your own drawer. It’s a period of contentment, where the idea of throwing on sweatpants and browsing Netflix beats out getting dressed up and paying $60 for a steak. You may have said those 3 magic words by this point, and you’re getting pretty used to waking up to your partner every morning.

But this is also the time when your true selves come out. You might start finding nail clippings everywhere. Someone who once spoke to you through the bathroom door while they peed may now not even find a door necessary. When you said “I like camping” you really meant “I like staying in a cabin with a T.V.” You don’t so much like country music as not like it all. You find an entire room in their house dedicated to worshipping satan, and, even worse, you find out they like pineapple on their pizza.

This is the gritty part. This is the part where you both decide, after the invisible cloaks of “please like me” have been shed, if you both want to love each other for who you really are. Some people, try as they may, are not a match. Some give it their all, everything they have, and commit to the relationship with everything they’ve got.

There’s no right or wrong way to go about this. But, as someone who has had her fair share of relationships, know when to let go. I have seen too many couples stay together for appearances, thinking that if they parted, they have somehow failed themselves and everyone around them.

Yes, relationships are hard. Yes, they take a level of commitment, and yes, it is often worth it to work through the hard part. It’s normal to fall in and out of love with your partner, and I don’t know anyone who has sailed through years of partnership without putting in an effort to make their relationship work.

But, if you feel you’ve given it everything you’ve got, and you’re still unhappy, it’s ok to say goodbye. Not only for yourself, but for your partner as well. The meaning of a successful relationship isn’t necessarily that it lasted a lifetime, but rather that if served you both well.

Know when to love. Know when to fight for it. And know when to let go.

Pity Party for One

This usually happens right around this time of year. The appeal of winter has long faded, and the gloomy, short days start to get to me. I felt myself drift into a slump when I got back from Alberta, and a stressful week at the university only propelled me down whatever road I was already headed.

It’s the winter blues.

I try to combat them as well as I can. Yoga, watching stand-up comedy, meditating, and putting on pants to leave the house are all things I’ve tried in the past week, but I still felt that dark grey cloud hovering over me.

I’ve tried smiling more. Did you know that studies have shown that if you smile, it can trick your brain into thinking you’re happy? This is especially helpful when you’ve got a big smile plastered on your face, tears rolling down your cheeks, and you’ve sufficiently frightened the shit out of the person in the car sitting next to you at a red light.

It’s taken a hit on my writing, too. Normally when I sit down with my laptop, the words flow out of me. Yesterday I sat down with the intention to write, but the words were as empty as my new year resolutions.

When I popped open my laptop tonight, the frustration set in again. I tried writing an idea I’ve had all week, and nothing was coming out. Slowly I grew more and more impatient with myself, and it didn’t take long before I felt like curling up into a ball and turning on Netflix for the duration of the evening.

Then I remembered something…..relax. Not just about writing, about everything. One of the biggest lessons I’ve taken away from the past year is that life is so impermanent. The things that we think are important end up being tiny blips on the radar, and when it all comes down to it, in the grand scheme of things, nothing really matters. What matters is that we live for today, we give our love to everything and anything we can, and that we appreciate each and every moment, the bad and the good.

So I’ll sit here on this Friday evening, with my grey cloud hanging over me, and I’ll let it pour. And maybe after a glass of wine, I’ll splash around in the puddle.

 

Peace,

Diane