The Toddlers’ Manual to Successful Adulting.

This morning started off slow. I didn’t get much sleep, and scrolling aimlessly on Twitter and Facebook while I poured coffee down my throat just left me feeling empty. Too many sad stories, horrible memes and bad news everywhere. Still, I powered on, thinking about how it’s Friday and that in itself is a beacon of hope for so many people! For me, not so much, but you gotta have hope for something right? As I wandered through my day, tripping over carpeted stairs that must have just been put in today and spilling coffee, ice water, dish soap and sunflower seeds (don’t ask, it’s complicated) in every room I entered, I thought to myself: “Can’t I just make a fort on my couch with my duvet and pillows and crawl under ’em for the day?” Boom. The epiphany came like a bad joke at a funeral.

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My days of raising toddlers are long over, but I’ve come to realize those pint-sized balls of snot and energy are brilliant. It really made me stop and think about how life as a munchkin full of mayhem really has its perks! Now, before you go and tell me this is not an original post and it’s basically like the “What I learned in Life I Learned in Kindergarten” concept, I say forget those elementary schoolkids! They’re so pretentious with their “I can read” attitude and their fully scheduled regimen. I mean, who needs a recess anyways? Okay….maybe recess is good, but you get my drift.

Here is my Somewhat-Make-Believe Inspirational List of Life Hacks From the Smartest People On the Planet. Edition #1. If only we would stop and pay attention to them.

The Toddlers’ Manual on Successful Adulting

Cry. Yep, cry. Sometimes wail and scream. Those cute little devils figured out real quick that if you do this, you usually get what you need. Sometimes you even get what you want. Who knew?  (Actually, Trump did. This kind of freaks me out a bit.)

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Go naked. Clothes not fitting properly anymore? Sick of those boyfriend jeans that are sooo 2016? Don’t worry about it. Go au naturel. For added cuteness, dance while doing it. Nothing says body confidence like a  toddler running around naked with a diaper on his head. And think of all the money saved!

Hungry? Eat. It’s that simple. Don’t worry about when and where and what. Eat when you’re hungry, silly! Also, eat with your hands if you want. It adds to the sensory experience; simpler is better. Spaghetti is usually a great choice. Also, chocolate pudding, just to give others a quick fright. Especially if you’re eating naked.

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Stop and touch everything. Life is so much better when you can feel the grass on your feet and the cat’s tail in your hands. Pet the dog, put your hands in the water, roll in the mud, twirl Grandma’s crystal goblets. Pure enjoyment! Just don’t drop Grandma’s goblet.

Explore! Whether it’s a the back country, the backyard or even the closet. Run through the local park or hike a mountain. Or even just get your hands dirty in the garden. Nothing grounds us more than feeling the earth in our hands. This goes hand in hand with “touch everything” rule. Of course, try not to touch the dog shit.

Make noise. Make music if you’re inclined (and maybe even talented, but that’s for those somewhat educated Kindergarteners). Pots and pans are not obsolete yet, so grab them. Or play an instrument if you really want to get technical. Sing. Out loud. In the car, or the shower, hell, even at work if necessary. Music opens our minds and hearts and releases so many good things out in to the universe! Note: if at work, choose your anthem wisely. N.W.A’s “Fuck The Police” is a catchy karaoke song, and one of my all-time faves,  but the boss might not approve. Especially if you work for the police department.

Drink. Okay, I sort of stretched this one a bit. Since we aren’t drinking breast milk anymore (that could be weird), I do think vodka is a suitable substitute. Wine for many of you. Of course, moderation is key. Again, I’m stretching here since toddlers aren’t really known for their moderation. But I am attempting to adult too. Life is hard.

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Learn. And learn some more. Toddlers don’t have a choice but to learn; it’s the only way they figure out how to use the toilet and get their way to Kindergarten. Open your mind. Engage the brain. Let yourself be a sponge and see the world through different views. Don’t understand your new neighbours? Ask them to teach you a few words in their native language. Can’t relate to someone’s side of a debate? Research their points of view and listen with empathy. Always wanted to make the pot of borscht or dig up fossils? Take a class. Worried that all of the texting and social media abbreviations will turn your brain into a cringe-worthy meme? Read a book. Check out the library (can be part of the ‘Explore’ rule, look at me changing up the game to suit everyone!), or better yet, read some of the amazing blogs floating around the internet. Or read the shitty, ones too. Why not? No judgement here!

Laugh. I know, this seems obvious and redundant. It’s not. We just don’t do it enough. I’m talking about the laughter that hurts the diaphragm and causes you to have to, on occasion, change your underwear. That laughter that takes over and causes you to look like a maniac and makes you feel delirious! Usually happens when with others. I don’t think I need to spell out how to achieve such laughter. Everyone has different funny bones, so go out and indulge ’em. Whatever suits your sense of humour– I won’t judge.

Stick close to your loved ones. And reach out to strangers, even. Hug them, squeeze them, make human contact when possible. Give them kisses. Of course, make sure they want them; it’s cute when a two-year old swaps his spit and slobber, but the cute stranger on the subway might not appreciate you doing it. If you’re allowed and still able to, climb in their laps. Just don’t make it weird when in public, okay? Life is so much better when we surround ourselves with people who love us, and when we give love back. Even when it’s not always easy.

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Say No. Seriously. This is a big one. I think we go almost our entire lives trying to master this life lesson and some of us never even get a passing grade. Toddlers (and Kanye) do it all the time! It’s basically the first word that comes out of their  cute, sassy little mouths and it’s basically their favourite word until elementary school, where they graduate to better words, like ‘poopy-pants’ and ‘fuck’. It’s liberating and all it will cost you is, more time to do things you actually want to do. So the next time someone volunteers you for the Neighbourhood Douche Party Potluck that has you stuck in a room full of people you’d rather set on fire, just say no…or yes if you really can’t get out of it. Just leave the lighter fluid and matches at home and try again next time.

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Make forts. Wreck said forts. Repeat the process. It’s like meditation and exercise and a healthy release of frustration all at the same time! Doing it with friends could even be better. Add wine if needed. Also, naps in the forts are perfectly acceptable.

This leaves me to my last  Brilliant Toddler Rule To Live By:

Naps. That four-letter word –3 but I made it plural, so sue me –that no one seemed to like until we were lured (and trapped)  into adulthood. These things are amazing! It takes some getting used to at first, and sometimes you might wake up feeling like a lost Godzilla full of road rage, but it gets better. Practice makes perfect! How did we function without them for so long? And why did we kick and scream when Mom made us go for one everyday? This fact might tarnish my “toddlers are the smartest people on the planet theory” just a tad. Alternative facts, I say!  Also, I can’t write anymore because I’m hungry and my fort needs me. And I think I missed recess.

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Manic Monday — Just Imagine…

Today I’m tackling this Monday like:

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So to start this blog post I have to thank Sandi over at Flip Flops Everyday.  Check out her blog and her Manic Monday challenges and enter ’em for yourself! I love that the rules are: there are no rules. She’s my kinda gal, that Sandi.

This is my “Manic Monday #2 Challenge” using the song title “Imagine” by the iconic John Lennon.

Image result for imagineWe all have that one friend who loves to exclaim, at the end of some story: “Can you just imagine!?” Well, no. Not always. Sometimes. Depends on the subject. Although, lately, with alot of time and not alot of energy, I find myself imagining all sorts of things. Here is a compiled, Reader’s Digest edition of my ‘list’ for lack of better words, of all the things I find myself imagining about lately. To be fair, my mind is chemically altered these days; my husband would argue this makes no difference to my random thought patterns. Also, I want to point out, it’s not really a list. I know lists have taken over the blog world as well as social media and most of us are getting pretty sick of them. I mean really! “19 Things You Need to Know About Eating Chinese Take Out” — you couldn’t find another thing to make it an even 20? Anyhow….

My first “Imagine if…” came to me this morning, when I put my earbuds in, Pearl Jam blasting away before I even pulled out the french press to make coffee. Could you imagine your life with a musical soundtrack, everyday? Would it help you to make certain decisions or freak you out? I’m sure if I heard Slash’s “Godfather” solo when I walked into a meeting at work, I would figure out real quick that someone was going down for something big. I also would hope it wasn’t me. Of course, having the “Facts of Life” theme song blaring for a few years would probably have helped me while raising teenagers! The “Breaking Bad” theme song comes to mind for a few years in my twenties, but I digress.

Imagine that Ray Donovan wasn’t portrayed by the beautiful Liev Shrieber, but played by Joe Pesci. I mean, any bat-beating scenes would be epic, but I shutter at the graphic sex scenes.

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Imagine if the past few months of Trump’s presidency was just Hilary Clinton’s ‘Dallas Dream Sequence’ and when she wakes up, Kanye West is really the Prez. Had this thought come to me last October I would have laughed and said ‘thank god that’s not real!’. Now…not so much. I would take Justin Bieber’s abandoned pet monkey over Trump as president any day.

Imagine we didn’t give a shit what people think about us? No, really. I’m serious. Let’s try it! At this point in my life, I got nothin’ to lose. I’m betting you don’t either.

Imagine if Facebook automatically deleted anything that was shared without being fact-checked? I would be so grateful if I no longer had to see “Child Porn Found on Obama’s PC”, “Hilary Clinton Guilty of 5 Mysterious Deaths” or “Prime Minister Trudeau Gives Away Bazillion Dollars to Anyone But Canadians” in my news feed. Sadly, today’s R. Kelly situation with enslaved girls in some kind of ‘cult’ in his basement may be true. The world is a horrible place sometimes.

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Imagine if food didn’t have calories!? This random thought (wish) needs no further explanation. Think cheese. And french fries. Oh, and pie. Now I’m hungry.

I could get serious here and start asking all the philosophical, ethically challenging questions and start imagining the world without violence or racism or politicians, but we all know where that ends up and I wanted to take this Monday on like a real trooper.

So I would also like to imagine our world without hate. And as much as I try, it doesn’t seem possible. Why? Well, because we are humans. And I don’t mean this in an awful way. People are just people. Good people sometimes do bad things. Bad people can do good things. And sometimes we are all more alike than we care to see.

So on that note, imagine if John Lennon wasn’t shot on December 8th, 1980? What if Mark David Chapman never made it to the Dakota to stand in a crowd asking for autographs that night? Perhaps we would still be blessed with music and poetic words from one of the world’s greatest artists. Or maybe not. Maybe Lennon would have done something that turned fickle fans off. Perhaps he would just decide to quit making music and live with Yoko and Julian in the mountains somewhere? We will never know.

Imagine our world without John Lennon in it at all. That’s a horrible thought, isn’t it? I am grateful the world was able to have him for even a short time.

R. Kelly, on the other hand? Well, I think we can all safely say his music isn’t going to change the world and if he ends up being forced away from young girls, this would be a good thing! Can you just imagine?

I could write more, but my brain keeps changing its channels and my eyes see double sometimes, so it’s probably best I stop typing. Also, I have a craving for fries.

This Monday got me like:

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I Can’t Be Held Responsible – this week.

If I am counting correctly, (if any of you read my posts you will know math is my nemesis), I think I can safely say today is day 7 of my new medication and it’s convoluted protocol. Just when I thought I had a handle on the side effects, I get to UP THE DOSE. This should be fun. I remember a time when I took drugs hoping for specific side effects that I …ahem…paid for. Apparently aging is a different roller coaster all together, and now we take drugs to function. Who knew?

Anyhow, I forgot where I was going with that, but I believe it was this:

A fuzzy brain can sometimes induce hilarious yet inappropriately timed sarcasm, endless fits of the giggles. kitchen dementia (aka: what did I come in this room for?) and sentences full of new words because the real ones no longer tumble out of your mouth properly. I felt like everyone else who goes through this with certain medication which, according to Facebook, is a lot; everyday I would whine to my husband, “I don’t want to be like this. I’m not taking the drug!” and everyday, I would take the drug. For those of you who don’t know me, I don’t have a large amount of willpower.

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This morning was no different. And then I read some very funny blog posts and scrolled through some hilarious memes. Moments from this past weekend came rushing back to the vacant cavity that is supposed to be my brain, and I laughed. Hard. Out loud. By myself. Pretty sure at this point, my husband is putting me on the wait list for the dementia ward as I type this. I had the pleasure of company this weekend and nothing is better than being medicated and messed up with a friend. I don’t remember what day it was or what we were talking about for the most part, but I do know our sides hurt, our faces hurt, and I thought I was going to pee myself a few times because all we did was talk and laugh. And revel in our superior comedic skills. I still haven’t figured out why we don’t have our own sitcom yet.

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New week, new dose, I’m looking forward to seeing what pops in to my head and rolls on out of my mouth and I invite my friends to come on over and join me!

*Disclaimer – to join, you don’t have to take the medication with me. You can bring alcohol for an added plot twist. Also, I may not be fully aware of what I’m typing, so I cannot be held responsible for my actions…or my typos.

 

 

Oh Look! It’s July & I’ve done nothing.

As I type this, I have realized it’s been awhile since my last blog entry. Not that it’s any big deal as I am not seeking any great fame or fortune with this little bag of online words that usually sound better in my head and not typed out for others. You might think that it’s because it’s summer and life and all of its hot glory has gotten in the way of sitting down at a laptop on a regular basis. That’s only half-true. Yes, it’s summer, but my life hasn’t gotten in the way with all of its fabulous goodies; rather, it’s summer and I have had to face a few realities.

To make a long story short, I fractured two vertebrae a few months back (right around Christmas to add insult to injury) and I haven’t healed the way I was supposed to. I don’t recommend breaking any bones, especially your back, when you’re in your 40’s. Apparently bouncing back like a toddler on a trampoline is a distant pipe dream once you leave your twenties. In fact, I’m more like a slinky these days. I wobble, tumble, and look funny going down stairs. But hey, at least I can still make people laugh.

I should have been back at work by now. Fractures of the T7 and T8. Nothing too major. Rest, physio, positive thinking and boom, back to working at my healthcare job fully rested and ready to rock! Hell, who couldn’t use the winter off to recuperate? Well, the Universe had other plans for me – in the form of some nasty complications. So, here I sit, in Kamloops, B.C., Canada, where our July 1st Canada Day saw summer slam down upon on us full-force; the weather is 35-39 degrees Celsius (that’s about 95 – 102F for my American friends), the sun is shining and the water is fantastic. And I am in my backyard, sweating and soaking up the rays, attempting to (and sometimes pretending to) enjoy this ‘time off’.

I am not a patient person. I am also not a positive person in general. Nor am I one who sits still. Ever. Until either illness or sleep take over. Yet, here I am, not much to do, living with constant pain and earth-shattering boredom some days. Also, a lot of solitude, while I play the Hurry Up And Wait Game we call our Canadian Healthcare system. Yes, it’s ‘free’, but it’s also faster to get pregnant then give birth and probably get the kid to preschool than it is to get any diagnostic tests done. I’ve had to learn how to actually enjoy sitting still – or laying or standing or moving slightly – whatever is comfortable. I have taken up colouring and rediscovered my love of reading, which never went away, I just never had time for it! Thanks to my library and my sister-in-law I have read so many books since December, and currently my patio table looks like this:

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Which brings me to the next book (thank you Miriam, my favourite childhood friend slash sister-in-law ever) that I finished in 42 minutes. It’s short. It’s profound. It makes a perfect gift.

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I know what you’re probably thinking. Man, this chick needs to get off of the self-help crazy train! Don’t worry, I’m not on it. Not in the way you think, anyways. I love to read and learn and discover and over the past few months I have had more than enough time to do all of it as well as many reasons to! I may not get a summer vacation this year (insert hashtag ‘first world problems’ here), but I sure have an abundance of that precious commodity so many of us never seem to find or when we do, we tend to let it get away from us. It’s called time. Time to do all of the things I wanted to do, but didn’t because I was too busy working, running around, raising kids, cleaning a house way too big for us, and taking my body for granted doing all of the physical things I loved. I may not be hiking or kayaking or camping in a tent this summer, but I am getting back to the things I have always loved. Hanging with family, seeing friends, watching movies and documentaries I have been meaning to for, oh let’s say a decade or so; crafting, creating, reading, writing. Listening to and discovering new music. Indoors. Outdoors. In a doctor’s office, at the hospital, in my yard. In the vehicle. Short trips. Quick visits. Being outside for as long as I can, everyday, all day.

The Universe had other plans for me, and the shift has been hard. It has been devastating sometimes. Painful and harshly honest. But it has also been beautiful and profound. Funny and heartwarming. And I am so damn grateful for it. I am not where I thought I would be, and I may never get back to where I once was, but I am slowly learning that life has a funny way of working out, no matter what the actual outcome is. You just have to look at the outcome differently. And you also have to laugh. Because if you don’t laugh, you might cry. And I don’t know about you, but crying gives me a headache, so I would rather laugh. Besides, I leave the crying for the bingeworthy ‘Ray Donovan’ episodes of Seasons 3 and 4.

Happy Summer All 🙂

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Trump’s War on the American People.

When Trump officially won the US election, a friend of mine stated that she and her wife, both avid travellers, would no longer visit the US. They just won’t feel safe going there anymore. My first thought was, this is extreme. Immediately after that thought, I put myself in their shoes. And I’ll be honest, I was afraid, too.

I am a middle-aged, married, heterosexual Canadian woman. Not much of any minority here, folks. Nothing to see here, folks. So it can be easy for me, and others just like me, to downplay and even ignore the plight of minorities and marginalized groups all over the world, especially in North America where we brag of democratic freedom and human rights.

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Fast forward a few months, deep in to 2017, and well into Trump’s first year of office. Scrap being afraid, I’m fucking terrified. Not by Trump. He actually doesn’t scare me on his own as his incompetence and delusional arrogance take precedent over any fear he might incite on his own. But what he has done, and continues to do, is isolate and exploit any full-blown rage and hatred in the core of the American people (and Canadian) that may or may not have always been there, but was never so bold to be out front and centre. The new POTUS has created the ability for people to spew bigoted, nasty, hateful words not just on the internet and social media, but also on crowded busses, college campuses, and public areas all over the country. You may think my fear is exaggerated – words are just words and we have free speech and all – but let’s get real here, just for a moment.

There is free speech. And then there is just hate speech.

Ignorant, uneducated, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, hateful speech that is not only mean but very, very effective. I am not naive enough to believe people were becoming ‘better’ than they were fifty years ago, but I do believe we didn’t see the nastiness of people so easily; we kept it behind closed doors and within our workplace and churches. With the birth of the internet and the explosion of various social media platforms, every horrible thought and belief is plastered on every form of news or opinion piece, with abandon!

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Would Trump have won this election had he run before the phenomenon of social media and cable news? I would say no. Trump knew all he had to do was tap in to that historical vein of bigotry and burgeoning disgust for traditional politics, hijack media in all forms with his over-the-top antics, and he could take the country. He knew the Democratic Party and the rest of the world underestimated just how horrible people really are. And just how impressionable they are.

Winning the election was one thing. But Trump’s ability to about-face lie to his people, shut out media in the name of ‘freedom’ and revoke various legislation put in place that actually helped to protect the people and the country he apparently wants to make great again is a magic trick we didn’t see coming. Apparently we figured the American people were more aware than this.

I could write out a long list of all of the legislation he has put forward, and all of the repeals he has fought for that bring back deadly pesticides, allow pollution of US waters, the ability of financial advisers to no longer have to put their client’s needs first, allow pharmaceutical companies to price fix, and prevent funding for clinics who perform abortions, etc., but you can access all of this info on reputable sites all over the internet. You know, the stuff Trump calls ‘alternative facts’ or ‘fake news’. The list is scary enough on its own; what is really frightening is the fact that he was able to swiftly turn back all of the good that past administrations had worked hard to create without anyone noticing. That’s right, most people don’t know that he wants to drill and frack federal park land and protected marine ecosystems, and destroy worker’s rights against discrimination, just to name a few of the plans he put in motion.

I won’t even touch on the repeal of ObamaCare or his own ‘health care plan’. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, then you either live totally off the grid or don’t care about a damn thing. If that’s the case, sorry about your luck. It will be too late to start to care.

These are all causes for great concern when it comes to the future of the American people, but what makes me shudder in absolute fear, is the amount of unadulterated hatred he has helped become mainstream and apparent on a daily basis. Hatred and anger that is has been deflected on all of the wrong people for all of the wrong reasons. I thought for sure with his backpedaling, lies and unkept promises, that the POTUS would lose his grip on the Americans who voted for him. I was so, so wrong.

A quick scroll of replies to his Tweets and the comment section on his, and many other, Facebook pages, are an instant lesson on how you can deceive and brainwash people into believing what you are selling, especially if it is a product that promotes nasty behavior in the form of ‘free speech’. Not only are his followers gobbling up whatever he is dishing out, they are attacking anyone who disagrees. And by attacking, I don’t mean by presenting rational explanations or logical reasoning; the attacks are vile, ugly and usually threaten violence. If you think words on social media are harmless, let me remind you these words are backed up with actions of tragic consequence in the real world. People are being beaten, stabbed, threatened publicly and the division of the country is so deep you can smell civil unrest in the air, no matter where you stand.

Perhaps people didn’t really change in the last seventy years, but at least we saw a decline in racial tensions and violence against minorities as it was apparent that previous government administration cared about creating equality and peaceful relations both locally and globally. Not anymore.

If I were a black woman, a Muslim, a Mexican, a homosexual, an environmentalist, or even a devout Democrat with a voice, I would be afraid to live in the US. There is no safe ground anymore because the ‘Leader of the Free World’ has declared war on his own people; democracy is in great danger of being destroyed all over the world as struggling countries that once looked to the US for help to win freedom from dictatorship or fascist rulings now see the US being thrown in to its own form of incompetent dictatorship. What does that say for the global economy and for democracy as a whole? Where is the hope for oppressed people when one of the most powerful countries in the world no longer cares about its own citizens, let alone the safety and liberty of others? To say Donald Trump has pushed the US back in time over fifty years is an understatement; he has begun the dismantling of a free-thinking, empowered, independent nation that was part of a global initiative to help others. The ease of his ability to reach in to the darkest corners of society and pull out ignorant hateful beliefs that we thought were close to being abandoned should terrify us all.

It’s not just about voting in the NEXT election. It is no longer enough. The only way to stop the train wreck that is Donald Trump and his administration, is to fight back with tolerance, acceptance and educated awareness, not of Trump and his agenda, but of your neighbours and fellow residents, whether they are citizens or not. It’s time to take back what we have fought for — Dignity. As a nation and as human beings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mom Rule #379: Don’t Be A Dick.

Don’t be a dick.

Mom’s Rule #379. Also, a pretty good life lesson. An easy one to remember, and can apply to anyone, anything, at almost anytime.

Okay, not all parents would agree this is an appropriate rule, but if you ask my kids, this one has been one of my top five, especially in the teenage years. Seems so easy it  almost comes across too simple. But in today’s world, where we think nothing of blasting off nasty comments to strangers, or even ‘friends’, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and god know’s what other social media platform, and when we can watch the yellow-haired, yellow-bellied man-child spew whatever he wants to whomever he chooses, and unleash all kinds of hateful rhetoric under the guise of President, it seems not being a dick is painfully difficult to adhere to.

For every kind and positive thing I see on the Internet or television, I am blasted by at least triple that in negative, nasty things; that is just the stuff I notice. And I’m an adult, who isn’t (or possibly shouldn’t be) on social media or surfing the net as much as my children. Imagine what they see and hear all day long? Bullying has always been around, but it is more apparent in today’s world where a child cannot go home and simply retreat from the horrible events at school. No, they are tormented 24 hours a day, via text and Snapchat and social media. It’s easy to say, “don’t let your child near technology then.” but we all know that doesn’t work. Like a moth to a flame, even a hateful one, the kids will continue to endure it, unable to cope, because we seemed to have forgotten how to teach our kids to. Instead, we carry on with our own dick behaviour, mostly unaware of our children’s issues; of course when we do learn about them, we go full speed ahead, taking over and basically rendering the child useless, fighting their battles for them. We just end up being a bigger, more adulty dick in a school full of dicks.

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I realize this post sounds harsh at best, and ironically I probably come across as a dick. I am also not perfect and struggle with my own Mom Rule on a daily basis; my son will gladly tell me: ‘don’t be a dick’ when I let my own attitude get the best of me. This is a reminder that we are all capable of less than exemplary behaviour, and always have been. I just think it was easier to hide it. Years ago, ‘dick behaviour’ was actually used against others because it was accepted, and certain dick moves that weren’t were then done behind closed doors and white picket fences across the country. We didn’t have Internet and cable news channels to bombard us with people being dicks all day long. We didn’t have Netflix and HBO that could give us glorified people who were colossal dicks on a grand scale. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am currently obsessed with Showtime’s ‘Ray Donovan’, and I’m pretty sure he is the King of All Dicks from here to eternity!

We had come so far as a collective society; yes, we still had a lot of work to do, but we had abolished slavery, women have been able to vote, we were accepting gay marriage, and minorities of all types were gaining their voice. And then shit happened. We can’t just blame one big ‘oops’ in American politics on an entire shift in direction, but voting in a big, loud, self-entitled Dick to the Oval Office of the Free World sure as hell spear-headed a U-turn we didn’t see coming until it was too late. And now someone who has clearly never heard, let alone been told: “Don’t be a dick”, is not only running the country but is also the leader of the club that has never learned how not to be dicks. The haters, the whiners, the nostalgic racists and sexists yearning for the ‘good ole days’ where women and black people couldn’t do anything without some sort of permission; the bitter members of the Dick Club who believe immigrants and lesbians and pot heads are ruining their great country and some even taking the jobs that their own children wouldn’t be caught dead doing. These prime examples of the Dick Philosophy are no longer griping to bartenders or at the TV in their homes. No, they are now out in the open, in the public, on the internet, because we have taken so many painful steps backwards and have allowed hate, anger, intolerance and ignorance become visible, vocal and in some places, acceptable.

Regardless of your religious beliefs, your political position, your ethnic and moral background, free speech should never be muffled, but we could stand to be reminded that just because we are allowed to say what we want, doesn’t mean it’s necessary.

Our kids are supposed to be decent and rule-abiding, learning about manners, acceptance, tolerance and of course, kindness. All of these are essential life lessons we all know. For some, this rule might come by a different title, but in my house, it was simply put: Don’t be a dick.

Never has there been a time where we could use a few simple childhood rules to remind us of how to behave. Like “don’t pull girls’ hair” or “take turns”, these schoolyard gems harken back to a time when we seemed to learn and abide by rules like we actually cared.

Don’t be a dick. Can’t get any simpler than that.

P.S. To all the men named Dick, I apologize beforehand. In my defense, I didn’t name you. 🙂

Be Careful What You Wish For.

I have always used, and believed, in the old cliché that everything happens for a reason. I think this has been my passive acceptance of the shitty things that happen in my life, as it appeals to my ‘realist’ attitude. I figured it was my way of being positive. My friends and family will argue I’m about as much a positive realist as Donald Trump is humble. Positivity has never been my strong suit. In the absence of traditional faith, I guess the fact that my belief that the Universe gives us answers within the choices we make in this life, is my ‘faith’.

Although I believed in this mantra, it has only been the past few years that it truly resonated with me. With age comes aches, pains, wrinkles and sometimes, actual wisdom. Who knew? For those who don’t know, the past couple of years have been full of tragedy, heartache and loss, sprinkled with some ongoing health concerns, and for the icing on my proverbial cake, the fractures of two vertebrae which have stopped me in my tracks.  At the time of the injury, I was struggling with working full-time while dealing with somewhat-diagnosed gastrointestinal issues that have plagued me off and on most of my life. This last ‘on’ episode was going on 2 years. I was miserable. Actually, that’s an understatement. I was bitter, exhausted, miserable, anxious and sometimes down-right homicidal; a lot of it stemmed from work and I found myself repeating, out loud, that I wish I could find a way to stop working (at least in that environment), even temporarily, to focus on my health, both mental and physical, and maybe even rediscover what brought me joy in life. I had lost so much of myself in the past few years, that I was struggling with the deterioration of my mental health due to my chronic health problems. I would look in the mirror and no longer recognize myself. I didnt’ like the person who stared back at me. If only I could step back from the grind, away from the place that was causing me so much anxiety on top of my personal issues.

Then it happened. I broke my back. Just like that, in the middle of the night, right after getting an awesome haircut! So much for showing off the pixie undercut at work tomorrow. Now, over 6 months later, I am still off work and still struggling with my physical health, only this time my mental health is actually stronger. So what changed, you ask?

Well, not being able to do anything that exerted any effort and being housebound (couch bound really), and experiencing pain everyday, all day, is the change that happened. I slowly, and at first, unknowingly, became acquainted with quiet days in the house, laundry, dishes and dusting that didn’t get done (yep, it was still there and no, no one died), books I had been meaning to read for months, and I even started this blog. I had to learn to rely on everyone in my life, for almost everything. I learned that my husband is totally capable of grocery shopping with a list (as long as some items are fully detailed) and can fend for himself at meal time. I learned how to slow down and actually smell those fucking roses, because I didn’t have a choice. I wanted a break and I got one. Literally.

It hasn’t been easy, and I haven’t been pretty, but somehow, through all that pain and boredom, I rediscovered myself, and let go of all the negative frustration that clung to me like a parasite. I was removed from the poisonous atmosphere of a toxic workplace and I realized, I didnt’ miss it. Oh, I miss parts of the job, but not the unhealthy, dysfunctional part; I realized that it wasn’t my problem to fix. I couldn’t fix it. And that was okay. So I have received that much-needed break, but instead of just going on a holiday or leave of absence, I was given an entire new outlook and possible direction in life, and my choices have been reflective of those gifts from the Universe.

I have found what brings me joy, what makes me laugh, what makes me grateful to get up every morning, even with chronic pain; I continue to listen to my inner self as I meet new challenges that are really just potential opportunities waiting to happen. I have learned that moments and people still matter the most, and that despite the pain and injury, I have been a much happier person. Maybe not Susie Sunshine with Eternal Optimism; perhaps Hopeful Realist?

catapulting myself out of bed in my sleep and fracturing a couple of vertebrae was not anything I was expecting to happen in my life, and although some people exclaim what a freak accident it was, I disagree. Everything happens for a reason, and this was my lesson to learn. Life happens and gives you choices. No refunds. No exchanges. In the end, it has been the best thing that could have happened to me at the time. I have been forced to look at where I am and where I want to go in life, and I have been forced to deal with myself. No distractions. I know, whatever happens, from now on, I will make choices that work for my mental and physical health, and what is best for my family. I am ready and willing to deal with whatever the Universe throws at me next. But I am not ready and willing to go back to the way things were. Change is inevitable and can happen when you least expect it; my life has changed drastically, as have my attitude and personal goals.

This is my cautionary tale of fate; be careful what you wish for, friends. Of course, I still wish for those winning lottery numbers every week, because I think I can handle that challenge, too. Are you listening, Universe?