Tag Archives: planning

Imagining Where In The World I Am: En Route to Morocco?

Every few days, I think of a new possible combination of places to go in my first year abroad. Overnight, I had a nine-hour sleep but awoke with a headache as the forces of weather good and evil battle it out and days of sun establish themselves off the coast here.

This headache and the dread with which I approach work also makes it possible for me to daydream about the life I might be leading one year from now.

I’m pretty firm on where I’ll be in my first three months. It’s Croatia. After that, that’s when matters change. Will I do Northern Spain and Portugal, then France, then Prague, as I first thought? I don’t know.

This week I’m imagining a different route. Pack up around now in January, 2016, spend a couple days in Venice, then make my way down through Spain, staying here and there, exploring Andalusia a bit before spending a bit in Tarifa, especially with a car rental. (If you’ve ever read the wonderful tale about following your dreams, The Alchemist, it largely takes place around there.)

I found a 330-year-old building I want to stay in for a bit in Tarifa. Amazing architecture, and to live inside a building that predates the first German settlers arriving in North America, where someone might have sat reading the first edition of the just-published in 1684 Principia by Sir Isaac Newton… I mean, this is mind-boggling stuff to someone still impressed her apartment is from 1931.

Then a ferry to Morocco, specifically Tangier, where I’ve found a B&B decorated to 1800s Moroccan glory. It’s jaw-droppingly beautiful and would be a real splurge, but Morocco is my dream trip. Like, dream trip.

I have a little town on the coast of Morocco I’d like to stay in, possibly for up to a month, just writing, relaxing, photographing the water, eating Berber food, and planning my future.

This would take me to about April or May, avoiding the hottest part of North Africa’s year. Then, off to who knows where? Perhaps Prague, Georgia, and other less-scorchy places for the summer months.

The best part of not committing to a plan is being able to dream of the endless opportunities I might have to explore and wander. All of them are good. All of them are enticing.

Dreaming is a lovely thing.

For now, time to work.

Photo by Odolphie, looking toward Spain from Tangier's ports.

Photo by Odolphie, looking toward Spain from Tangier’s ports.

The Christmas Myth of Time Management

There was a moment sheer heart-plunging terror as I added the line “bring up Christmas decorations and get started” to my to-do list for the week.

What with the what, WHEN?

Oh, lord.

It’s That Time Again.

So now, on top of the list of 26 things I need to do, I gotta work out more because the season’s full of food, clean more to entertain more (and because there’s more crap filling the house), plus all the baking for the Christmas gifts I’ll make this year, oh, right, and go to a zillion social events.

“Christmas”,
The Holiday Brought to You in Part
by FACEPALM™,
that universal sentiment surpassed only
by HEAD-DESK™.

And, like, three months ago, I started this little project of organizing my music CDs and putting them into binders.

Except… there’s, like, 300 CDs in piles, in the corner of the living room, where the Christmas tree soon needs to go.

Not only do I need to organize those fuckers and put them in the binders, but it turns out the binder sleeves are only pre-cut, they haven’t pulled the little piece of plastic out where I have to slide the CD in. Do you KNOW how much such things annoy me?

No. You don’t. I glower at this pile. I loathe this pile. I suppose the time has come.

A friend posted a great list today, the seven steps to “grow the action habit”, and the second one is: Be a doer.

I was a Girl Guide. I can be a doer. I know I can!

I shall be a CD-organizer doer-girl sometime this week.

It’s on my list.

(Found on a variety of blogs, always uncredited.)

Ironically, also on my list is to “make a list every day. ”

On the rare occasions of my life where I’ve made a list (I’ve seen more blue moons than I’ve made lists), I’ve been killer productive. If I remember to write on the list that I have to cross things off the list, that is.

On the upside, all those rare list-making occasions have been within the last six months. Nowhere near habit-forming, but at least I’ve had some positive results in the “I’ll try that for a dollar, Alex” category.

Let’s face it, life’s all about time.

It’s about getting things done —  a race to save time so we don’t waste time, but without enjoying the time we have. Or something.

Even when we do save time and knock obligations out of the park, we’re still left with fractured time, since no one turns off cellphones or does Just One Thing at length anymore. The proverbial ADD society, sure, but who actually lives in the moment anymore?

I’m still trying to find that balance of Getting Shit Done and Doing Nothing. Of course, I keep vascillating to extremes. I’m the ping-pong ball that ricochets from one wall to the other, never landing in the middle.

Still, I keep bouncing, keep trying, and sooner or later gravity’ll pull me to a stop — and I’m okay with that.

December’s kind of like my “new-year’s-resolutions-practice month”. I’ll fail dismally, likely, with all the socializing and all that, but at least I’ll be working on life more or thinking about how I can improve it (and want to), often.

Besides, it’s not about being perfect tomorrow, it’s about being better tomorrow and better the week after that.

When I can get traction with the time management, it’ll help me on all levels — I’ll eat healthier at home, live in a cleaner environment, process stress better because I’ll have an accomplishments system in place, and I’ll generally be less of who I’ve been frustrated in being, and more of the task-oriented person I’d like to be.

It’s an uphill battle for the next five weeks, though. It’s that annual time when we’re so inundated by responsibilities and the directions we’re pulled in that we’re more likely to overindulge in all our flaws — fall behind on bills, eat too much junk, drink too often, exercise too little, rest too little, and so on.

There’s a reason they’re called the “January blues”.

It’s why we’re all so compelled to visit change upon ourselves when the new year rolls around — Christmas brings out the best in us but also exploits all our daily failings. It’s inevitable. We have great fun and we pay the price in every way, usually.

Being prepared for that by taking little steps to try and avoid the severity of my Descent into Calendar Madness could be one thing that separates me from my recent years’ “Chaos Called Christmas” experiences.

And it starts with one little list aimed at getting me from here to November 30th with a lot of organizational success and a big game plan.

Item 27: Make a new list on December 1st.

Waiting, Waiting, And More Waiting

I’m supposed to be using this week to create a framework for my next six weeks and next six months.

But that hasn’t happened.

I’m sitting around chewing on what’s left of my fingernails, trapped by a shitty rainy day, and lost in worry about whether my father will even survive an operation that’s SUPPOSED to be happening today. As of this hour, he still hasn’t gone under the knife, and I’m still in a “what if” panic.

Whatever happens in that operating room decides what happens in the next six months of my life far more than any timeline I could write today.

There’s nothing in my head that’s worth extracting today.

There’s no hope or faith, no optimism or belief. There’s just empty pulsating limbo as I wait for life to fill in the blanks for me.

Waiting is criminal. It scars the soul. Hope is the only antidote, but it’s not one I’ve been afforded much of.

The longer this takes, the more I’m adrift in uncertainty, the louder those discordant heartbeats echo inside as wonder floods in and worry takes over.

I’ve been useless today.

When I was waiting for the answer on my book proposal, that was fine. Why? Because I knew the book might be better if I was in fact rejected by the literary agent. No, really.

There’s a much more organic process that comes in creation when you don’t have a deadline or third-party involved. This book of mine should be a journey to places I’ve never been before, and right now I don’t know what that’ll require of me, so I want to explore that and really go there without muddling from others.

But this?

Father-who’s-alive versus Father-who’s-not is a pretty big fucking stipulation in how your life unfolds, especially when it’s down to a 24-hour window.

The possibility being this tangible is nothing anyone should experience, but is something we all are faced with. Don’t kid yourself. Your turn is coming.

Grief is an unavoidable process, and, as a creative person, there’s nothing that fucks with the mix greater than the all-consuming end of someone you love’s life.

I can’t be there, I can’t talk to my father, I can’t do a goddamned thing to help.

Some dude a 5,000 kilometres away, who gets to stand there with a scalpel in his hand, HE’S the guy that holds my immediate fate in his hands.

I can’t write a timeline for that. I won’t even fucking consider that Alternative today.

I just know it’s there.

The Possibility. Statistical Likelihood.

Like calling it that is so innocuous. Oh, the “chance” of fatality. Like one might buy a ticket in the hopes it’d go a specific way other than the Usual.

Powerlessness. That’s what I get today. I get to wait, wait, wait, wait. I don’t even get to know when particularly my fingers should be crossed. The ward nurses will get 10 minutes notice, then it’s off to Sliceville for Pops.

Risk.

I grew up thinking it was a board game.

Now it’s the line between what might be the result for an “average” person with my father’s surgery, and, well, my father. The triple-threat disease cocktail his unhappy body offers is more full of oddsmaking than a weekend in Vegas, man.

And I’m supposed to wait, productively doing what humans productively do. Conjuring little lists of objectives, crossing off achievements, planning for all my tomorrows.

Well, tomorrow might literally give me a completely different life to live. Today I’m spent praying for anything but that.

Sure, the odds of the unexpected climb for each of us daily, but it’s just not the same as when mortality’s literally on the table and giving the prospective outcome causes all professionals involved to lead with a pregnant pause.

Yes, I’ll wait.

I’ll sit here with toxins bubbling in my stomach as fears I know too well return — fears I’ve dealt with from my mother’s passing and my father’s three close calls.

Sure, I’ll wait.

Why I Love My ADHD

I’m going to be writing more about ADHD over the next while. I started last week with this posting here.

Seems to me too many people are all shame-filled about their ADHD. What the fuck is that about?

Here, take your stereotypes and shove it. Know what my ADHD doesn’t make me do? It doesn’t make me run around like I’ve had 42 coffees and have been mainlining coke and adrenaline, all right? It doesn’t mean I freak out on people. It doesn’t mean I can’t have a conversation with you. It doesn’t mean I can’t get to appointments punctually. It doesn’t mean I can’t be an awesome employee.

What it DOES mean is, I have organizational challenges that negatively impact my life and leave me predisposed to feeling overwhelmed and constantly daunted by the life in front of me. But that’s biochemical. Continue reading

In Which Steff Talks About Her ADHD

I found out last Friday that my company’s letting us work from home when the Winter Olympics rolls into town in a couple weeks. My office is in the thick of Olympics Central in downtown Vancouver, between the major “live event” locations and all the sports stadiums. I was already having panic attacks about getting to work in what planners suggest will be the same volume of traffic influx daily as THREE Superbowls would generate, with possible two-hour waits just to get a train. (I died a little inside when I heard that.)

But working from home? Like, omigod. Discipline will be tough, but a deadline is a deadline, and my work has tangible starts-middles-finishes, with daily deadlines, since I watch television and caption it for a living.

My biggest struggle I face right now is not my weight; my weight is partially a byproduct of my ADHD — because ADHD causes problems with maintaining a routine or even achieving one, but also makes me prone to becoming hyperfocused on whatever I’m doing at any time — like eating.

Because I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD for well under a year, it’s been a massive learning curve — Continue reading