We can talk

My post tonight will be incredibly short.

I wasted all my blog-writing time on Facebook.

And not doing anything fun, like watching videos of cats, but debating religion.

I know, I know, you’re thinking I’m a complete idiot for even getting into one of “those” talks.

And you’re right.

Here’s my final post, on my own wall, after I gave up on the discussion.

Recently, someone posted a comment calling all religious people idiots.
I jumped right in, because I find religious and political debates hilarious. People get all fired up and irrational. Arguments from the either side aren’t even considered, just summarily dismissed as people wait for their turn to spew practiced points.
But this one left a sour taste in my mouth, and I realized why.
Religion isn’t the evil that plagues humanity as this person suggested, it’s intolerance.
Any time you get a group of people who think they are better than another group, you’re going to have problems. Nazi-sized problems.
This person praised pioneers in science for their imagination and curiosity while summarily deriding others for having the gall to wonder if there is a greater power in the universe.
Yes, bad things have been done by religious people. Religion has been used as a tool to control uneducated masses. But bad things have been done by non-religious folk as well, and other tools have been used to influence people. We could point fingers and cite examples all day and never get anywhere.
Life is short, and it is often hard. A little love, no matter what one chooses to believe about our minute existence here on earth, would go a long way.
That’s all.

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Let it be

“The wisdom to know the difference.”

-Reinhold Niebuhr

My ex was almost always in a crappy mood. Whether it was his job or his car or a myriad of admittedly valid excuses, there was always a reason to be grumpy and it drove me bananas. Trying to cheer him up was a full time job.

I didn’t understand how he could be so stressed out, all the time. On vacation. Walking the dog. Out for dinner. Bouncing the baby. What’s the worst that could happen? He would usually answer something along the lines of bankruptcy. But we live in Canada, I would say, no one’s going to be starving on the streets.

As I look back on our time together, I realize that the worst thing that could happen, and it did happen, is that we’d waste our time being unhappy. Even if his company pulls through and makes billions, he can never buy back a single day that he wasted in a miserable mood.

Life is so short and even now, I look back on times in my life and wonder why I didn’t enjoy myself more or worry less. I still fall prey to this notion that life will be better when *insert magical event here*.

The truth is that most of the things we imagine will improve our quality of life… well, don’t. A raise makes us happy for a bit, a new TV is great, ten pounds off the waist feels awesome, the list goes on, but at the end of the day it’s business as usual.

There’s a sappy story going around on FB about an old woman being led to her room at a retirement home. The attendant is describing the room and the woman says “I love it.” The attendant points out that the woman hasn’t seen the room yet, and the woman replies that she doesn’t need to, she’s already made up her mind to love it.

If you’re unhappy, there’s only two things you can do: change your situation or change your attitude.

There are always things you can and should do to improve your lot. But some things take time, and you can’t wait that long to be happy. And other things simply can’t be changed and you’ll just have to learn to live with them.

So my new rule:

Can I change it?

Yes – then change it. Now.

No – then let it be.

(pretty good for a non alcoholic)

It’s gonna take time

“Clean ALL the things!”
Allie Brosh

When I decide it’s time for change, and finally take the first step, I start adding things to my to-do list faster than I can knock them off. The excitement of successfully pulling something off (such as extricating myself from a miserable relationship) gets to me and I start thinking of all the other things I could do to improve my life.Taking time to decide whether any of the crazy items I add to the list will actually improve my life never seems to make it on the list. Prioritizing? Too complicated for me. I get carried away.

  • Ditch boyfriend
  • Play with the kid
  • Be happy
  • Find a better place to rent
  • Be healthy
  • De-clutter
  • Better job

Magically turns into:

  • Clean out the fridge
  • Find a better place to rent
  • Paint a picture
  • Do yoga… every night
  • Practice playing the bass
  • Flashcard the crap out of my kid
  • Go through my closet and get rid of all the clothes I’ve held on to “until I lose the weight I’ve put on”
  • Laser all my unwanted hair
  • Make a super healthy shake every day
  • Drink it
  • Learn Russian
  • Build my boy a pirate bed
  • Blog every day
  • Make photo albums
  • Etc

So when I do have a moment to devote to my goals, it’s like being a sitcom character opening an overstuffed closet and being pummelled by an avalanche of crap. I get overwhelmed. I order pizza and rent a movie. Which definitely wasn’t on the list.
Freud would say the rider needs to control the horse. I keep forgetting this won’t be easy, it won’t be like a set of dominoes, where tipping one over will cause a cascade of change. Every day I’ll have to take another first step.
So I made a list. A small list of 14 things I need to do everyday that will hopefully become habits. One of them is blogging. Guess who gets a star on the chart today? Me!

It’s a new day

“All a closet is, is a hard conversation.”
Ash Beckham

Deep down inside, we know what’s right; we know what needs to be done.
But we keep pushing that knowledge deeper and deeper because we’re afraid of what our lives will become if we do. What if nothing changes? What if it’s just a case of the grass always being greener on the other side of the fence?
Well, you know what? You’ll never know until you hop the damn fence. And then you’ll know two things: which grass is sweeter, and that fences can be climbed.
Yesterday, I broke up with my boyfriend.
We had another fight – I don’t need to tell you the details, we’ve all had fights. But this time I felt detached, as though I was watching an argument on TV, and I saw how ridiculous it all was. I saw us wasting our lives pounding our heads against the same brick wall. I saw my son watching us, learning.
If I have one responsibility, one debt to the world, it is for the gift of my son. I need to teach him how to live a good, happy life and leave the world a better place for having lived it. I need to teach him by doing it myself.
I could have said “It’s not me, it’s you,” and be telling the truth. It’s not the things he would do and say (and the things he didn’t) that forced the decision to end our relationship, but the person I was becoming, the things I was saying and doing.
As soon as it was done, I felt insanely light. Minimalism isn’t just about paring down physical objects, it’s about getting rid of the junk in our minds. Our miserable relationship had occupied so much of my thoughts, I was unable to focus on the bigger goal: enjoying, savoring, living life. I promised myself I wouldn’t dwell on it a moment more.
Once I was in a truck in Nepal, with a canopy over the bed and two benches inside, serving as a sort of bus. I was crammed in the back with a dozen people and the truck stopped for some reason before leaving the town. The driver was talking to someone. I couldn’t understand a word that was being said, but I had the feeling it wouldn’t matter what they were talking about. The truck was running fine and we were stopped, perspiring together in the unbearable heat like sardines in a hot tin can. Impatience became a boiling rage that, although I didn’t say a word, must’ve seeped from the corners of my mouth. Finally, also for no apparent reason other than the conversation had ended, the truck began to move and a breeze, albeit faint, moved through the back. I could’ve wept with joy, I was so happy.
I feel as though my life just started rolling again.
In fact, I was so happy and proud of myself that I ordered pizza.
Perhaps you can guess the next phase of Operation Tara?
I’ll have to kick the junk food habit.
Tomorrow 🙂

I’m on My Way…

“I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere in the world. Then I ask myself the same question.”
-Harun Yahya

Life starts with a million possibilities. As you run out of time, it gets narrowed down to a few probabilities, then eventually, you wake up in the life you’ve created for yourself.
People would tell me I still have lots of time, I’m still young, but this is probably the last thing I need to hear.
You see, I woke up the other day and realized that I was not anywhere close to where I imagined I’d be by now.
Snapshot: I work in a call center, and recently they started getting people to work from home, so now I take calls out of the tiny basement suite that I am late paying rent for because my boyfriend hasn’t given my any money this month. We have an accidental son together, who just turned one. My boyfriend is 20 years older than me, and recently moved out of his parents’ house just outside the city because he finally moved his business into the city. He divides his time crashing on my couch and staying at his sister’s guest house. He is very miserable and angry and we fight often. In order to afford this tiny 2 bedroom basement suite, I have an alcoholic roommate. I have a pug with stinky folds and ears that need to be cleaned often. I have a cat who frequently attacks my legs, and gets into fights that require expensive visits to the vet. I have a car that I haven’t finished paying for and I can’t really afford, but I bought it in a fit of optimism and if I sold it right now, I’d get less than I still owe on it. I have an unused university degree. And I’m fat.
Smaller snapshot: I am so unhappy.
I know that I’m just another lucky person with “First World” problems, but I’m also a person sitting within arm’s length of something better who is mysteriously unable to reach out and grab it. I make plans and I put them off. I make resolutions and I make excuses. I make goals and I stand still.
All the while, there is a crazy longing inside me, a voice, a ghost of my younger “limitless possibility” self who is screaming to be heard, whose voice is not quite drowned out by TV shows, or junk food, or any other distractions I’ve tried.
This sounds a whole lot sappier than it should.
Anyways, I woke up and realized that one day that voice wouldn’t be there. And neither would any hope of a better future. We’ve all seen those people. Those zombies in front of a TV or a VLT or a semi on the highway. And I can’t be one of them.
So I guess I’ll call it Operation Tara. Ha ha.
I’m not sure what I want out of this short life, but it isn’t this.
I don’t really have a passion, so I’ll start with stripping away all the things that make me unhappy, and take it from there.
No more procrastination.
First to go: the boyfriend.
Tomorrow 🙂

Heaven is Relative

It was a beautiful fall day – the leaves were colourful and crisp and the air was fresh and that spicy smell.
My sister and I were out walking the dogs, or rather, ambling along behind them and they ran frantically from one scent to another.
My sister had brought her camera, and although we attempted to capture the beauty of that fall day, it didn’t work out so well. I’m not sure why, but I always end up with a million photos of trees and sunsets, and none of them are worth mentioning, or even looking at twice.
My sister, however, managed to snap a couple of good ones of the dogs. One was of her boxer, Karma, looking off in the distance while the warm glow of sunlight filtered in through the trees and falling leaves.
“That’s what dog heaven looks like,” said Tina.
Then after a pause: “but there would be rotting animal carcasses lying around for Karma to roll in.”
Heaven is relative.

A scientific descent

Perhaps the greatest feature of a university is that it is large and has many secrets. Older universities are often a jumble of architecture throughout the years – walking between classes can sometimes feel as though you’re walking through decades.
After frolicking with Ed in the crevasse, Tarahaha and Ivanatron felt the winds of destiny coaxing them to the basements of the science building. The only thing the two had heard of the basement is that one year, during examinations in the lecture theaters, whose main doors at the back opened onto the first floor, while the doors at each side of the front opened into one of the basement’s tunnel-like hallways, a student had run naked through the fronts of all the lecture theaters.
It might be where the crazies hang out, said Ivanatron.
Or perhaps lonely scientists, dreaming of the God particle, said Tarahaha.
And so they hopped along to the stairway of ascending stories, and snuck into the basement, although it was likely open to the public.
Once in the caverns of that seemingly ancient building, Tarahaha and Ivanatron discovered it seemed more of a Freddy Kroeger hang out … and realized, belatedly, that they were now on the same level as the people of the hollow sidewalk.
Ivanatron and Tarahaha needed protection, and they needed it fast. They hurried through the tunneling corridors, the ceiling a mess of pipes and wires above them. Finally, they found what they were seeking – a science experiment, clearly deserted by its owner, who had perhaps been taken by the hollow sidewalk society to a new subterranean life. The fearless duo scooped up the charcoal containing chamber, attached to the hose and the thingy-mahjig, attached to the stand, and ran for their noble high-speed steed, the bus.
Upon arriving at the odyssey towers on the distant hill, Ivanatron and Tarahaha attempted to convert the science experiment into a biological weapon, but to no avail.