Tag Archives: life choices

Soon to Come: New Space, New Life

I’m sorry I’ve been away, Minions, but life has been full-tilt of late.

Since the last time I wrote and now, I’ve gotten a lot more of my belongings packed, and took a three-day trip to find my new home. Which is to say, soon I’ll be living in a new and awesome space.

It’s not a bigger space, like I’d wanted, it’s almost exactly the same size as my present home, but it’s got water within 5 blocks of me on three sides, downtown’s less than 10 minutes away by walking, and Victoria’s famous Beacon Hill Park is five blocks, too. Shopping? Everything I need is 2 or 3 short blocks away.

The beach I'll find just five blocks from my home. Fantastic.

For convenience factor, my so-called “convenient” big-city life is a joke compared to what my situation will be once I’ve moved.

My soon-to-be new landlady makes me smile every time I think of her. So sweet, caring, and knows all her tenants by name, and details about their lives. Standing 5 feet tall, she’s short, squat, and full of love as her little arthritic terrier waddles behind her. She rushes to the door to help people in, talks to everyone. I love that.

In my new apartment, they’ve gutted and replaced literally EVERYTHING except the stove, but I’d be unsurprised if I turned up and she thought to throw in a new one of those too. The deck’s being replaced in the spring. The building is spotless, well-loved by tenants and owners, and I’m excited to be joining what looks like a pretty caring community-type apartment building.

I don’t know why people seem to think I’m so urban and hip. I’m really not. I love the water, I love people-watching, exploring, private time, quiet, and space to think. Just because I can chat with just about anyone doesn’t mean I want people around me all the time.

Somehow, some way, all my quiet space and nature-connecting evaporated on me in Vancouver. Without a car, it’s hard to access the awesome in this town, and the town doesn’t allow for the financial freedom of owning a car, so you know how that works. Where I live, which is about all I can afford and stay sane with in Vancouver, there’s the constant drone of traffic and planes landing at the international airport, there’re frequent sirens and horns honking. There are people and tons of traffic everywhere I go. Even my building has turned against me. There are my weird neighbours downstairs who slam everything because none of the kitchen cupboards close (mine don’t either) so they think SLAMMING will make it better.

I think, like me, Victoria is in a time of transition. I don’t want to be where it’s busy and crazy. I like the location I’ve chosen. It’s close enough to everything, and far from the homeless and the university students. It’s close to everything I need, both spiritually and in my day-to-day.

In my new life, there will be both inspiration and time a-plenty for writing, silence, photography, and just being.

And this, BC's Parliament Building, is just about 6 blocks the other way... and with more ocean to see. Shot by me, my first night in town.

My friends were all ganging up on me, saying I should live in another area, but after two full days of walking everywhere, and realizing the so-called convenience of Cook Street Village meant “convenient geography but without much convenience in the form of food and other necessities.” I realized they’re all talking out of their ass. They don’t know what’s “right” for me, not any more than I know why X is right for them.

Deep down, I know I need my new space. I think some higher power knew, too. I had planned to cancel my first apartment viewing but never did. After that appointment, I walked out and the place across the way shone for me. An unadvertised place, I walked up to and buzzed the manager. Sure, I could see it, she said.

I still saw everything I had booked, and more, and returned to my new home for a second viewing, and the “this place is right for me” vibe got stronger and stronger.

It seems spooky and awesome that it worked out so serendipitously for me. The gods are on my side in this move, it seems.

There are things about city life I’ll miss, and I know that before I even leave, but my soul needs it. I can’t be doing this rat-race of stupidity any more. It’s not who I am now. I get home angry more often than I’m relaxed. I don’t feel like walking around the neighbourhood or exploring. I just don’t give a shit now. That’s no way to feel about life.

When I walked down to the end of the street after viewing my spaces, and I came out at Dallas Road Beach, my heart swelled. Really. I could imagine myself wanting to walk there daily. When your heart reacts like that, if you don’t listen then you’re an idiot. I’m listening.

Back in my car-owning days, I would be at the ocean for no reason so often. But in Vancouver, being on the ocean means seeing evidence all around me of the fact that there’s 2.3 million people scattered out there. All those lives twinkling in the lights of the city night. I don’t want to be thinking about 2.3 million lives. I just want to think about mine.

To get to ocean where you see no one, you need a car, a hike down lots of stairs on a cliff, and a liking for naked people sunbathing. Oh, right, that’s not “no one” either.

My soul needs slow and simple. My soul needs exactly what I’ve found.

In 24 sleeps, 18 more office days, I’ll be moved, big-city-free, and thrilled about it.

[No pictures for you of my space until I’ve moved in, at the least.]

The Continuing Limbo That Is The Life of Steff

I don’t have time to write!

Most of the time lately, I don’t have the wherewithal, either.

This is what happens when I’m in complete professional limbo. Everything, everywhere, all up in the air. I have no idea where I stand nor where I’m going, even though I have secret inclinations as to what the destinations may be.

But I can say nothing. NOTHING.

Tipping one’s hand in public is wrong, wrong, wrong. Dumb! We are not hardy fools here, my friends.

Today, it’s work, waiting on whether it’s a decision-making time, talkin’, and hopefully making it all fit in time to attend a meeting of an organisation I’ve intended to join for more than a decade.

Which is all to say I sort of feel like vomiting.

My entire month, from about January 8th through to now, has been chock-full of wait-wait-wait. It’s a much better place than “what the fuck do I do”, like where I was wallowing before Christmas.

It’s funny, I made a couple decisions over the holidays, and this full-steam-ahead mode has been the result, ever since. What decisions? One day I might tell you. This is not that day.

I should be writing more of this uncertainty down, but it’s the kind of writing I hate. All self-absorbed and repetitive. Maybe tomorrow.

Today, a wind is blowing — moving a dark, wet, oppressive weather system that kept us all inside and lazy yesterday, out the door and ushering in a sunshine-and-wind weather pattern for the next few days. It’s an interesting weather day for feeling that so much rides on conversations, choices, and self-confidence.

But that’s where it is. That’s what it’s about.

Still, I’m trying not to rush anything. These times of tumult and change and possibility and unexpected, unpredictable futures… we seldom get to enjoy these. The questions that are swirling around me — I know I’ve spent more of my life bored into routine than I have dancing with chance and opportunity like I am right now… and this should be a rare much-savoured treat, this uncertainty.

It’s a hard mental place to stay in, it requires so much self-belief: This will resolve, I will choose rightly, the changes it will usher might be amazing, I can do this, and so forth.

Chances are easier to take when you’re well-monied. Let that be noted.

I am not well-monied.

The chances I may soon take scare the living shit out of me, even if they seem small and nothing-like to others.

The only thing that keeps me comforted is this — and it’s a big one: I know myself really fuckin’ well.

So, yeah. Life? I don’t know.

I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. And I got nothin’ I can share with you. Or nothing I’m foolish enough to share yet, anyhow.

Now it’s into the mottled grey yonder, and into a big and daunting Monday. Let’s see where my life goes between now and the next dawn.

I don’t know. But I know I’m fortunate to even have choices, and I’m more fortunate I have the smarts to make ’em right.

The Struggle to Identify Your Struggle

I had an interesting Twitter debate this morning after someone spoke of a Starbucks kid who screwed his store over by twice not showing up as the “keyholder” to open the shop.

The debate came from completely different perspectives — I’m getting on in my 30s, spent 15 years in retail, dreamed of a better day working in “real” jobs, but eventually realized my job never solved any of my problems in my life; meanwhile, the other debater’s in her early 20s, dreaming of a better time in a real job, and probably believes the same as I used to, that life really gets better with a different job.

Trouble is, one day you wake up and you realize that all you did was put on different clothes and cash a bigger cheque.

You dreamed of the trappings of success, but never realized it was really just a trap till it really had hold of you.

Deep down inside, the smarter-older you realizes the job has fuck all to do with your true happiness — it just gives you better means to avoid the issue and hide from the truth.

Anyone blaming their job for unhappiness probably needs to think twice.

I can’t tell you the hell I put myself through believing it was my job that was costing me any happiness in life.

I thought, “Oh, it’s a do-nothing, go-nowhere job. It’s why I feel so held back in life. I don’t make enough, I don’t do enough, I’m not special enough. I know — I’ll quit! I’LL SHOW EVERYONE!”

After two years of trying to get by in an endless parade of bad-fitting jobs, part-time work, and self-employment, I realized the job was never the problem.

No matter what I did, that current of discontent still ran through me. I was my problem.

Let’s face it, not everyone’s going to have a job that speaks to who they are. Not everyone gets to work in a career that radiates their true nature. We need labourers and waitresses too, you know.

There comes a point where the job just doesn’t matter.

If you think a career’s all you’ve got going in your life, then, yeah, okay, I can see how you might be in for a world of suck.

But that’s your choice. You’re the fucking idiot that’s decided some dude with a wad of cash has that much power over who and what you are. God help you if you ever lose that job, y’know? Be MORE. Expect MORE. Live MORE than just your job.

I’m not my job and I’m not my bank account.

I’m the chick with a way with words who really digs thinking and living a contemplative life of slowness and relative quiet. I’m the chick who can find god on a riverbank and think there’s nowhere else I should be, and no one who should be with me. That’s me. When I leave work, I contribute to my end-of-life legacy with things that speak to me and who I am. Not as much as I could… that troubles me. I want to do more. But I’m further than I was, and do more than I did, and these are good things. And I know the things that call to me, that I should do, and that I know are going to be done. My time, my way.

My advice?

Don’t look at your relationship or your job as your source of unhappiness. I betcha dollars to donuts that the source is inside you. Things you’re likely not doing or facing, and it’s easier to use life situations as “obvious” blames than it is to do the hard emotional work of realizing a lot of answers lay within.

Running’s easy. Standing and fighting? Then you get a cookie. And some bruises.

Good luck with that. It’s so not the 2010 way — avoidance is an artform. We got yer pills, your cars, your portfolios, your adventure vacation packages, yer smart phones, yer funky gadgets… shit, we even got Lady Gaga. Is she a chick?

Is that ALL there is? Isn’t there more? We’re the wealthiest the world’s EVER been — so why the fuck are we all so empty?

Rip the fucking scab off. Prod your wounds. Do all the things that scare you. Find more to satisfy YOU in life, and stop blaming your inability to do so on your spouse or your job. It’s a choice and a matter of values. Make it happen. It’s quality, not quantity, so think about it.

Hiding behind time demands as an excuse for a life half-lived is a sissy 2010 thing. MAKE CHOICES. You can’t BE everything or DO everything, so CHOOSE. Offend people and don’t go to a few engagements. Big fucking deal. CHOOSE.

Seriously, if I could sit every 20-something down and say, “All this angst and sadness you have? Your shitty retail job isn’t the problem — your reaction to it is. Everything you need to know about life, you can learn here and now. If you want.”

And if I could sit every 40-something down and say the same thing about their office jobs? I would.

Because you’ll never learn about people better than in the workforce — their capacity for evil or infinite goodness, their irresponsibility and unexpected nature are all unavoidable, daily.

Don’t cop out and blame your job for unhappiness unless you really know you’re happy everywhere else in your life. If you quit and get the rude shock at another job that you’re still going home empty inside and, gee, that place has assholes there, too, then you’re in for a really crushing emotional defeat.

Trust me, I know! Been there, done that, the t-shirt didn’t fit.

Stay with the devil you know. Try a new sport, find hobbies, do things you love. Remember to take time to do things that make you a better version of you. When you feel you’re on the way there, then you can make other changes.

Otherwise, you’re likely just doing more harm than good.

Changing should always be done on the inside before you attempt the outside. If you’d like to see it take hold, that is.

Pfft. I don’t know, I’m still on my journey. But what I DO know is, I’m happier here, “on my way,” than I’ve ever been — and I don’t have a job or savings or security. I have more inside me, though, than I ever have, and I credit that to the really hard choices I’ve made to learn about myself and all my damage, over the last 3 – 5 years. I made some mistakes along the way and I’d rather others learn from that.

Fix you, and the universe will follow, seems to be the lesson things have been teaching me. Jobless? Moneyless? What I got you don’t buy, you don’t get given, and you don’t take. You earn it, slowly. Self-knowledge, faith, belief, and you learn it by going crutch-less and not dishing out blame.

Yep. Fix you. The universe will follow. It’s a fucking amazing thing.

PS: Sometimes your job really is a steaming pile of shit and you should run for the hills. But, you know, just make sure of that.

We Interrupt The Regularly Scheduled Broadcast…

…to inform you that there’ll be no regularly scheduled broadcast.

Every now and then I’ve been making mention of not feeling well. Truth be told, this has been ongoing for a long time — months. This weekend, everything changes. I’m making some radical lifestyle changes because I’m tired of feeling like I’m drifting through life. As a result, I’m probably about to enter some pretty heady spaces, and postings might be interesting over the next week or so. Most of the lifestyle changes are dietary. No sugar, no dairy, blah, blah. For a foodie like me, you might as well just instruct me to climb on up and nail myself to a fucking cross, ‘cos that’s about how it feels like. Still, I’m excited.

Motivation is hard to come by when it comes to making drastic changes. I used to always joke that, “Well, I’d love to quit smoking dope but I just can’t seem to find the motivation.” Hardy-har-har. Same thing with diet. I’m the kind of person that’d rather haul my fat ass 30k on a bike than give up the brick of 5-year-old cheddar taking up space in the fridge.

[SFX: SCREAMING]: “Not the cheese! Anything but the cheese!”

“Oh, my God, Harry. I never thought I’d see this. Is this what I think I’m seeing? Death by cheese slicer? Shit, man. Hey, can you pass me a cracker?”

But, I’m pulling a Marcellus Wallace and I’m about to get medieval on mah ass, baby. What does this mean to you? A disconnected Steff for a couple days, but ultimately, a new, improved, better Steff! Now comes in cherry flavour, too!

My mind’s been in a fog. Back when I was smoking dope chronically, I could blame the dope. When you quit being chronic, though, and you’re still in a fog months later, you need to ask questions. Me, I’m a crystal-clear kinda gal. I’m used to being razor sharp, able to argue anyone on anything, always ready to go. THIS feels weird. I feel like one of those people you see underwater, trying to talk. Bubbles come out but sound’s a murky mess, just tonal variations, and nothing with any semblance to clarity.

Ever notice that; that how you feel drastically affects all your relationships in your life? You’re less able (less wanting) to communicate how you feel? Less able to put a finger on it? More muddled in your speech? More easily confused? Check, check, check, and check.

I know what’s good about my writing, I think — or at least I know what it is that I like, and it’s my tendency to be open, introspective, and astute. I don’t feel like I’m able to be those things these days, so how I’m feeling is literally changing who I am. And the funny thing is, I’m not falling over sick or anything. I’m not debilitated, I’m not chained to a bed, or taking tons of drugs. I’m just “off.” It’s time to flip the switch.

I guess that one of the hardest things we can do in our lives is admit that we’re not happy with who we are. I’m more or less content with who I am, but these days I’m not happy about it. It’s not a negative thing, this feeling I have now. This is really freeing, actually. Realizing where your problems or lack of satisfaction stem from can be a means of unlocking yourself and promoting change. I feel like I’m on the verge of exciting times. I feel like all this grief I’ve been going through has been solely to remind myself that there’s something better around the corner, but I need to motivate myself to bridge that distance. Like I say, finding that motivation is always a challenge, but when it hits… whoomp, there it is.

And it doesn’t matter what you’re hiding from — maybe you drink too much, maybe you smoke too much, maybe you’re dishonest with friends — who cares. Deep down inside, you know you’re fucking up. You KNOW you’re the source of your own problems, but admitting it’s like stabbing a fork in your eye; you could do it, but why the fuck would you?

Of course, I’m not advising you stab a fork in your eye, but a little honesty with the self’s not a bad way to start a day, you know. What do you least like about yourself? Why? And is it so hard to change that? What’s the obstacle? Is there a way to change the difficulty factor in that?

I like me. I’m a good time to be around when I’m on my game. These days, I’ve been flat and listless and I just feel a world away from the gal I know I am. It’s a diet thing. Tomorrow, a hardcore detox begins for a few days. This means, I’m gonna be unpleasant. Expect rants. Expect grumpiness. And then, I’ll be back in black, back to cool, all that I wanna be, and more. I’ll be like a fucking Army ad, man.

Know what I love most about self-analysis, though? I save myself $120 an hour. Fuck shrinks. I own a mirror. Have an awesome weekend. I’ll be sitting over here, jealous, drinking lemon juice and wishing it was a beer.