Thanks for being an interesting one, 2016

My view while brushing up on my skiing skills last January

This time last year I was fighting to keep a love that I was losing. I think it’s amusing to look back at the situation, because I was fighting so hard and of course it did nothing because: I was the only one left fighting. I just hope that the next time that happens, I stop fighting sooner so I can save myself the time. I’ve spent the last four months of the year off of online dating platforms and also not actively seeking to date1. It has been extremely rewarding to say the least2.

Stunning views in Pemberton, BC

This Christmas season, as the entire world welled up with sentimental, and loving feelings it was really tempting to feel sad about the things I still miss. Except I have so much to be grateful for in my life right now that I’d be foolish to give in permanently. I’ve allowed myself small moments of sadness, but just enough that allows me to appreciate all that I do have.

I’m not going to pretend I’m completely healed though. I have a long way to go, but at least it’s gotten easier to see, and remain on the bright side. I’ve been listening to The Book of Joy by Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama and Douglas Carlton Abrams and it’s the most perfect thing to listen to around this time of year, but I’m sure it would be great at any time.

When depression is something you’re susceptible to, it’s so far too easy to become angry at the world; to become someone quick to anger, and to become afflicted by that cynicism that every city-dweller is so prone/accustomed to. I hate being that way. I was there though: Someone’s bag on the subway accidentally touched my leg and that person is an asshole; someone didn’t respond to my text message for two days and that person is an asshole3.

I had actually downloaded the book in September, but I had to wait until I finished a few other books before I could listen to it. What karmic timing that I was able to start it last week. My favourite lessons are:

Be mischievous. Don’t take life too seriously; don’t be afraid to make jokes and to have fun with life.

Let suffering shape you. There are always going to be bad times; be prepared for it, don’t escape it and allow it to teach you the life lessons it is meant to teach you. Be graceful in spite of suffering, but don’t judge yourself for the times when you aren’t able to be. Just strive to be better next time. So much of what causes heartache is when you try hard to change the way things are, rather than just accepting them as they are.

Fear has a purpose. If something terrifies you, take the time to figure out what that fear is trying to teach you. Sometimes it’s only purpose is to show you what you want most of all, and sometimes that fear is trying to show you areas in which you still need to grow.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it”.

Minimizing worry is a worthwhile exercise. Stress and Anxiety are a part of life, and can’t be avoided. Something is always going to happen to cause stress, anxiety or worry. It takes training, but it is possible. There isn’t really an easy answer to make it happen either. You have to find what works for you but I would suggest reading or listening to audiobooks such as The Book of Joy or The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck might be a good place to start.

Prioritize Rest. Whether you just need 10 minutes of absolute quiet or 10 hours of sleep, or a good 3 hours at the gym – whatever you need to feel ‘right’. It’s easier to maintain your calm, and not over react to what life throws at you when you’re in a good head space.

Joy and Sorrow are tied together, and the less you try to separate them the easier it will be to see the importance of both in maintaining happiness and joy.

By far, my absolute favourite lesson from the book, and one that continually comes up as they carry on:

Be compassionate. Make it the focus of your life. Spend minutes, even hours a day figuring out how you can be better at being compassionate every day. Practice it so it becomes like breathing. It doesn’t matter whether other people will be doing the same – that isn’t your burden to carry. But MOST IMPORTANTLY: Be compassionate with yourself. Allow yourself to get angry, allow yourself to feel all the things – both positive and negative. What matters are your actions. Remain positive in your actions, and you can help spread joy and compassion.

It’s been great feeling like I can trust the universe again. It’s been great feeling like I can trust people again. What i am really enjoying is the feeling that I can trust myself to make the right choices, and behave in a way that I can be proud of. I’m also enjoying the fact that I don’t beat myself up too much when I don’t behave in a way that I can be proud of, because I know that I’ll behave in a way that at the very least attempts to make up for it. I know I’m not perfect, but that doesn’t mean I can’t stop trying and it doesn’t mean I should give up when I fail either.

I know we’re all still trying to figure things out, and I think that’s the most important thing to remember. No one has all the answers and when someone does something that doesn’t make sense or seems to be coming from a negative place – give them the benefit of the doubt. Rather than acting as if you are sure their actions are rooted in the negative, assume the best, and give them a chance to explain. I know it can seem like the world is inherently evil because of what we hear in the news but believe anyway damn it. Just fucking do it.

🙂 Or don’t. I’m not a cop.

In no particular order, my 2016 recapped in pictures:

Footnotes:
  1. for the first time in my life since I’ve known anything about dating and love[]
  2. funny though that I haven’t been ‘alone’ in that time… the difference is that I haven’t been actively seeking anything[]
  3. for the sake of argument, let’s say they had a legitimate reason for not responding[]

The one with all the questions

IMG_5856When will I learn?
When will I stop beating myself up?
Why can’t I stop?
How do I stop?
When will it stop?

How can I make this day better?
How can I make someone’s day?
Do I make the people I love happy?
How can I make the people I love happy?
Where does this guilt come from?
Did I make the right choice?
Will it be the end of the world if it wasn’t?
Where will I be this time next year?
Will I still feel this way?
How do I feel?
Do i like the way I feel?
What can I do about it?
Who can I talk to about it?
Am I proud of myself?
Are my loved ones proud of me?
How can I be someone worthwhile?
Can I do more?
Can I do better?
Can I be better?

Did I blow out the candle in the kitchen?
Did I pay my phone bill?
Did I text my parents this weekend?
Did I respond to everyone who texted me?
Did I return the phone calls I needed to?

Will I ever find zen again?

[This isn’t even half of what goes through my head sometimes. I am not ashamed. I am who I am; it is all I can ever be].

There one where I get a little cynical

love

I’m a hopeless romantic, and I think that’s my biggest problem1, the fact that I’m hopeless about romance. I think that while I was growing up, the notion of being hopelessly romantic was the best because it meant that one would be romantic no matter what; that you would choose love, no matter what.

Now that I’m older, and not less prone to my impulses, I’ve come to the realization that it’s pretty stupid silly to be hopeless about the subject of love and romance. Being a hopeless romantic means that you are the type who would do anything for the person who is lucky enough to earn a place in your heart. “Ain’t no mountain high enough, Ain’t no valley low enough, Ain’t no river wide enough, To keep me from you”; and other such unrealistic proclamations, these are the sort of things you’d hear someone – who was a hopeless romantic – utter. It’s lovely, isn’t it? Doesn’t it awaken those butterflies in your stomach? Make your heart race, and your palms sweat? Me. Too.

Of course, as I’ve already stated – all that romantic stuff is unrealistic. You swoon while you make promises of such grand gestures and your ‘love’ is elated because, “Oh my god, you’d do all that for me? I feel so special”. Of course, unless you back it up with actions that demonstrate your dedication, you’re just a liar. Maybe that’s a little unfair – maybe you didn’t mean to lie about the things you’d do to make the other person happy; maybe you had every intention to do those things but life got in the way. Either way, it still proves my point – being a hopeless romantic is really one being just hopeless. Maybe there’s nothing romantic about it all. We were just taught to think so.

Now say, you’re on the other side of that coin and you are the one who needs to hear such proclamations of adoration to truly feel loved. Well, you’re fucked too aren’t you?. The odds of you meeting someone who a) will adore you enough to speak to you like Romeo spoke to Juliet, b) will actually mean every word they say, and c) will share your hopeless romanticism is smaller than… something with really small odds2.

All I’m trying to say is that once upon a time, I believed in Once Upon a Time. And now I realize that all those fairy tales ended in a wedding or a marriage to someone they barely knew, with no follow-up story for how their lives actually played out. All that we were told was that they lived “happily ever after”, but we were never given proof. So I think it’s time to put away my hopes of finding the kind of adoration that I am, seemingly, cursed to feel for my partner. It’s time I realize that the way I love is the way that I love, and that anyone else I may pair up with isn’t going to love me the same way, but that doesn’t mean they love me any less. I guess.

So far, I’ve always known what I know about love. But for the first time in my life, I’m really unsure. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Footnotes:
  1. when it comes to relationships[]
  2. I am not a statistician[]

Once Upon a Time

love

Once upon a time I thought that I had my chance at true love and that I fucked it up, and that was that. I didn’t decide to think that because I wanted to be sad. I thought I was being realistic. I thought that I was just the kind of person for whom talking about important things with someone I really cared about would always be difficult. I’m happy to report that I was so very wrong.

I’m delighted to have discovered that I can actually care about someone with all my heart, hold their opinions in the highest regard and still talk about something that means the world to me without having to break down a lot of walls to get my point across. As an added bonus, I remain open to the things that matter the most to him whether or not they are things that we agree on in the first place. Of course, most of the things that matter the most to us just happen to be things that we share the same perspective on – so far1.

Sometimes you meet someone who is very similar to you, but those similarities clash with each other. I’m so lucky to have met someone who shares the kind of similarities that simply fit into the holes that have been missing in my life. All I need these days is to be with him. Which might explain why everything else in life seems to be so easy2, because nothing else matters as much.

He didn’t ride in on a white horse, he wasn’t wearing shiny armour, nor did he lay down his coat so I could walk over a puddle. He did make my heart stop when he smiled at me that first time I laid eyes on him; he listens to me and he encourages me to listen and care for myself. I’m not saying I think it’s going to be happily ever after, but I do know now why none of my other attempts ever worked out. And keeping in line with being realistic, if this doesn’t work out, at the very least I know what to look for. I know how it’s supposed to feel when the love & respect is so mutual that you literally just want to be with that person body, mind and soul. All. The. Time.

I know I say it all the time but thank you for being you. You’re the best.

Do you have a Once Upon a Time story? Do share!

Footnotes:
  1. I am a realistic dreamer[]
  2. except for making enough money to live but all in good time[]