My hair is matted and Cheetos are stuck to my face…but I have a plan

I laughed at my sister the day she received a kareokee machine for her birthday.

Not because she got a kareoke  machine, but because she knew at that moment she would never get anything done until she got over the binge use of that machine.

She laid on her sofa and demonstrated for me how she would look after weeks of use. It was as if she knew karaoke was her heroine. She leaned on the arm and feigned drool coming from her lips as she was singing Aerosmith or Show-tunes. Didn’t matter which tune it was, she had an addiction and she knew it.  I could envision dishes stacked to the ceiling and Cheetos stuck to her shirt with crusty food creased into her hip. She knew it and I knew it.

That night we sang for 8 hours. My voice was lost to every single from the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s. I pulled out tunes from the 60′s that I learned at the steering wheel of my Dad’s Montego MX, Jimmy Rogers and the Kingston Trio, then there was Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli and Barbara… Barbara doesn’t need a last name.

My voice was done for days afterwards. My sister? Well…she continued down that road of music addiction. Then one day it stopped.

I do not mock her or tease her about that problem she had because it could have easily have been me.

Wait…

It was me.

Since I have finished University Studies, I have been binge watching TV as if the world is about to end. Since December 3, 2013, I have found myself enjoying the delights of televisions series that challenge my interest, make me laugh in a subtle way that compliments my humour and I have been solving mysteries with finesse. Or at least that is what I tell myself after watching the show 3 times in order to figure out all the clues.

I have binged watch Sherlock, Call the Midwife, and most recent….Suits.

I come home from work, watch Suits. I wake up early to get an episode in before work, I have a day off – stay in my jambes and watch suits.

I find myself looking like Penny after she started playing on-line videos games….with Howard.

Xz6

 

Then as quickly as it happened, it was over.  I am caught up and the season doesn’t resume until AFTER THE OLYMPICS.  I found myself relating to Donna, coveting Jessica’s wardrobe  and having a soft spot for crazy Louis. I want to be on team LITT!  I want to wear Christian Loubatans to work and carry Prada bags. I want to have the trust and loyalty of a Harvey and I want an office dammit! I want an office with a view of Bernie Madoff’s old building. I would settle for an office with a view. Hell, at this point, I’d settle for an office.

What I do have is potential and possibility. What Suits has done for me has pointed out the people in my life who I trust and those who I need to guard myself against.

I have set new goals for 2014. I understand my vision NEVER turns out as planned. If you asked me 3 years ago if I knew I would be standing where I was, I would have laughed you out of the room. Therefore I am changing my focus. Where and what are out of the picture now. I can reach higher than that.

I really like my possibilities for 2015, besides…anything can happen.

Now…what to watch next…

Goodbye, Farewell, The End

In one month it will be the second anniversary of the Edmonton Tourist Project ( I woke up this morning and realized it is the third anniversary! WOW 3 years!).

I can no longer recognize the girl I use to be.

I began this site as a way to help me become accountable, take risks, heal the hurt and become the person I dreamed I could. I learned the difference between goals and dreams. A goal is a way to realize your dreams and wishes. I have learned the secret to goal achievement and it is satisfying in ways I never thought possible.

I will graduate in December. WOW. I once never dreamed I was smart enough for University. Now I find it mundane and limiting in my learning. Looking forward to having letters after my name. It automatically gets people’s attention when the reality is, I was just as smart before, but now I know how to put it all together. That is progress.

I say yes more often to try things and no more often when I have taken on too much or just really don’t want to do something.

I have traveled solo and figured out where I begin and my family ends. This was also important for me. I needed to learn boundaries.

I have learned and practice great nutrition. I have lost nearly 95lbs in two years. I have  another 90lbs to go, BUT it has become habit. Great food choices made of REAL food have taught me to listen to my body. I know what it needs and when it needs it. Eating gratuitous sugar because it is someones birthday is rarely worth the calories. It has to be OUTSTANDING before I will spend calories on sugar laden food because there are consequences to those actions. I either eat less, work out more or gain some temporary weight. Neither of those options are awesome. So I choose carefully.

I have learned that loving someone doesn’t mean it has to be a married relationship or a parental one. I love my girlfriends, fella friends, and family with a fierce intensity that I didn’t know existed within me. This has given me permission to spend time with those people and the ones I just like…get less time or none because my time is limited and valuable. It doesn’t mean you are not valuable it just means I am prioritising my life. I come first, then family, then friends, then school, then work. Work is last because it is a means to a lifestyle. However, it made the list so you can be sure work is filled with passion. If it isn’t on the list, it lacks passion. Without passion, I have no desire to put in an effort. That was my problem before the project. I had my priorities mixed up. I need to nurture me so I can nurture my passions.

That makes it simple.

I place me first for the reason listed above, however, I didn’t put into what ME means:

I have learned I am a social introvert. I like socializing but not all the time. Please don’t drop in on me, call first. There is a list of people who are welcome to drop in and that list includes my mom, dad, sister, my best friend and George Clooney. Call first or I get cranky.

I need to include fitness in my life for lots of reasons, but the big one is if I have to face surgery for my brain tumour, then I want to be as fit and healthy as possible. Death does not scare me, but my children still need their mommy for the time being and I intend to be there as they need me. Being THE MOM is a responsibility that I do believe I was created for. I take it seriously and approach it with humor and humility. I have raised amazing humans and can’t wait to see how they shape their future.

I need to read. I need to continue learning and I need to sit in stillness and reflect. This is what defines me. Include fitness in there and those things need to be done alone for me. That is my recharge time. People exhaust me, I love them but I need that space away – and often, like everyday.

I need to set goals to reach new dreams. Goal setting and dream achieving is simply amazeballs.

So does this means I am fixed and no longer need the Edmonton Tourist Project? Well?

I have been think about that a lot while I run. Running has become my focus and passion lately. Writing is my creative outlet. I am writing 2 books right now. They tumble out of me like movies. That leaves me with nothing left to say on the Edmonton Tourist Project. While my growth continues, I no longer feel blogging about it is the right platform.

That must mean this is the end.

I am so incredibly grateful to those of you who have supported me all the way along. I have met incredible bloggy friends along the way, some turned into real life friends, some have drifted away and others have died. This tells me that endings do not have to be bad. Happy endings are lovely too.

Is my blogging career over? NO WAY! I am devoting my writing over at my health and fitness blog called Me and MO. Mo is short for momentum. You can find it HERE or http://justmeandmo.wordpress.com/  It is the same me who looks at life slightly skewed with humor in her brain and wit on the tongue.

I get it if all that running and nutrition talk isn’t for you. I do understand that. It isn’t for everybody. For now it is where I need to be.

Soon I will close this site, revamp it and change it into something different. But I am taking the summer off.

This feels right. It is time to say goodbye to old me and embrace the me I really am. It kind of feels like the final episode of M*A*S*H* and I feel like BJ. Not wanting to say it but needing to.

Keep in touch friends.

MASH_4077_Goodbye_thumb

Beyond Your Limits

I have been thinking a lot about pushing myself to the limit. Be it physical, mental or emotional. There seems to be no greater satisfaction than from those who are able to accomplish this feat.

Emotional limits, both positive and negative expression is not my favorite. I struggle with the pain of ending and heartbreak as do most of the humans I know. It is the hardest one for me to push.

I love pushing my mental limits, but being brain tired is the worst after emotional tired.

Yet there is something so completely satisfying about pushing your physical limits. It makes my mental juices flow and sends me to emotional heights that I am sure only George Clooney could equal.

This past month I have pushed my physical limits past the point I thought was my limit. I ran up Emily Murphy Hill 3 times, for the first time ever. She normally kills me after half way on the first time. Yet I conquered her. I ran in my first 10k race and set a personal time record. I was tired for 2 weeks but I knew it was because I left my guts out there on the road. I have set some pretty tough goals for myself this summer and I know the only way I will get there is by leaving pieces of me on the ground, in my books or on my sleeve. I will either be broken or exhilarated. Either way, pushing myself is my way of celebrating success.

A couple of years ago I never did anything that was hard. I never challenged myself through work, I never challenged myself through intellect, I never did anything physical that could test my limits. If it was hard, I avoided it and said no.

The Edmonton Tourist Project challenged me to say yes and try new things. I look back and don’t recognize that girl in the pictures. She looks different than I do now, but more importantly, her spirit was broken or harnessed by others. I said goodbye to her and the new and improved me is  - as my friend It’s Maevealous says – FIERCE. I love that word.

I am inspired by her intellect. She is knowledgeable in ways that humble me. She is insightful and brilliant, adventurous and fun. All things I wanted to be and now am achieving.

Through facebook I have become part of a running team WDW Radio Running Team for The Dream Team Project. I have met amazing athletes who are in different chapters of their book. I am just past the Introduction, while others are near their climax and some others are in their epilogue. Yet we all chEAR each other on and support through words, laughter and help. One of these athletes just became a 2 time IRONMAN. She is my hero. I am inspired by how she pushes herself to her physical limits and signs up for yet another IRONMAN because a teammate has decided to enter for the first time and so she will be there in full support. She is gracious enough to tell me her story, so look for that coming up soon.

Weeks ago I put my emotional struggles here on this page for all to read. The fat girl running faced bullies and went head to head with them. That blog post went near viral. Women all over the world read it to the tune of 15000 visits and countless shares. Local women came up to me and asked for my autograph. It was weird. But through that post I met a running mom who ran her first half marathon in Vancouver. She has inspired me to join Team in Training and pursue the San Francisco Marathon next year. I will be talking to her soon too about Team in Training and her exciting adventures about running in Vancouver with an injury!

And then there is my one of my dear best friends. She is a new friend but you know how some people just click? We did. Last year she entered a spin-a-thon event and cycled for 90 minutes. She had never pushed herself to do anything like that. Today she is riding 93km from Leduc to Camrose in the MS bike tour. I am so excited for her because I know she will never be the same after she feels what it is like to push yourself beyond limits. I am going to meet her at the finish line today. You don’t get a medal for this event, so I made her a giant chocolate chip cookie medal to hang around her neck – and then eat because I am sure she will be super hungry.

So when people ask me “how are you able to do that?” be it running, university, work, momming or reading a billion books for fun, I tell them because pushing yourself to limits is incredibly satisfying and it makes me

FIERCE

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News Flash! I just saw a picture of the Ex’s Wife and I feel FABULOUS!

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Have you ever creeped on Facebook to look up people from your past and are relieved that they haven’t adjusted their privacy settings so you can take a peek into their lives today? YOU HAVE SO…don’t lie.

I did it today.

I am very glad I did. Especially after Sunday’s incident.

I have struggled with body image issues forever and a day, largely in part to the men of my past. I know – what the hell was I thinking? Apparently I wasn’t.

The problem with memories, is they tend to be locked in time. So as I age – 45 and fabulous thank you very much – I become hyper aware of my skin, hair and body shape. When the ex and I split, a huge part of it had to do with my body image. It wasn’t his ideal and he let me know. I am one of those curvy girls, I will never be the anorexic super models. Today I learned that embracing who I am is as important as embracing what I look like.

I took a good look at the ex’s wife.

She looks like she could be any mom at the high school. She looks like she might be a friend of mine – maybe… I am fussy and only pick awesome friends.

She looks like she is smart – and neglects her appearance because she relies on her brains. Nothing wrong with that- I am a huge fan of brains. When I say she neglects her appearance, I just mean – she doesn’t focus on it. Nondescript dress, frizzy hair, no makeup, in other words plain.

I realized that I had been holding myself up to an imaginary standard. I pictured someone my ex would choose as tiny, petite drop dead gorgeous gal who had the perfect everything.

Then I saw her.

Lightbulb moment.

The guy is not George Clooney. He isn’t fabulously rich, brilliant or even empathetic. Why would he get a gal like that? Stacey Keibler she isn’t. But I bet she is right for him or what he thinks he deserves.

So why did I think lesser of myself because I wasn’t a supermodel? Good question. Why do women do that?

I can tell you he did talk A LOT about my body. I do know weight disgusted him because of the off colour remarks he would make. So obviously his current girl is rail thin. But she doesn’t have the healthy fitness glow I have. Her arms aren’t toned and I bet she can’t run 10k. My skin has WAY LESS wrinkles because good skin care starts from birth. Thank you ladies of my life who taught me how to take good care of my skin. I should BE so lucky to look like my Grandmother when I am in my 80′s. Her skin is fabulous. I am headed down the right track.

Looking at her picture (the ex’s wife) I also can see the wrinkles she does have are not laugh lines. That is sad. I know from other people she is less than enthusiastic about things that don’t involve her so smiling is sparse and when she does smile, it never reaches her eyes.  That makes me sad for her.

Of course this is all speculation and judgement on my part. I am more than my physical image and she is too.

I just wish it didn’t take me so long to figure that out. It makes me want to punch her husband with some good sense.

Life is a sum of all parts. Not just beauty. That fades.

And apparently, some of us get better with age…like a great wine.

I hope she is happy because that is all that really matters.

 

Caution: Fat Girl Running Ahead! Please avert your eyes if it offends you.

I typically let water/insults/digs/annoyances run off my back. I figure the person spewing the insult doesn’t know me nor do they have any clue to my journey.

I run – A LOT for a gal my size. Running has done a few things for me:

  1. Running makes me fit
  2. Running tones my muscles making me firmer and less jiggly – true story
  3. Running makes my skin look awesome
  4. Running clears my head
  5. Running helps me think

There are a gazillion other reasons but those are the first ones that come to me. We could talk about this all day – but that is not my point.

I was running (surprise surprise) on Sunday along Rich and Famous Blvd. This is a busy spot for lots of city runners who like to have a view of the river valley. I am one of them. I like to see different things while I run. I was at about 6km into my 10km run when I passed two moms in their lululemon’s pushing two jogging strollers. They were both carrying – what I first thought to be coffee or lattes but after we spoke I suspect to it be Hot Water and Lemon. A trick of skinny people who don’t workout. They drink it to keep full and stay thin. In my day it was called a coffee and a cigarette. I ran by them and over heard them talk about me.

Skinny1: OMG look at the size of her ASS.

Skinny2: Why doesn’t she run on a treadmill so we don’t have to look at her.

Skinny1: I know right? I would DIE of embarrassment.

Skinny2: Why didn’t she just stop eating when she got the chance.

Me: (At this point I stopped and turned around) So I hear you have some questions for me. Lets have a quicky Q&A session right now shall we? First Question: It is 4 sizes smaller and 80lbs lighter than it use to be. Question 2: I have a BRAIN TUMOUR. It isn’t cancerous but it isn’t fun. I get dizzy on the treadmill. Besides, running 10km on a treadmill is dead boring and I never would have had the opportunity to meet the likes of you. (That’s right I played the brain tumour card, I am using it to my advantage when I can. If you don’t know the story about it then please click here and no I am not dying) Most people speak before they think but that requires common sense.

Did I really say this? Yes but not that last sentence because they j-walked to get away from me. Perhaps they will keep their comments to themselves from now on.

Is this a typical day for me running? NO WAY! Luckily the world is filled with kind and supportive people who are just happy for others.

Running on Sunday at about the 5km turn-around point I met a older (than me) couple out running both of them gave me a thumbs up. Most runners wave and say hi – but occasionally I get a “Great Job”  or “Keep going”. It is a lot like being in a race with fan support. On the whole, I find Edmonton Running Community to be supportive and kind. It is a lot like the running communities I have discovered on-line. People are kind, supportive, helpful and just plain ol’ nice!

Today I ran hills at Emily Murphy Park. I was the only woman out there today. So obviously I was the only fat girl. I was surrounded by an entire phys.ed class from the University of Alberta – all of them men and all of them in fantastic shape. I got a lot of cheers and some fellows ran with me encouraging me to go just that little bit farther before I die. I didn’t die, there is something about being able to focus on shapely young calf muscles that pulled me through. After they ran off and back to class, another young fellow began his descent, running towards me. He smiled and gave me two thumbs up as he passed.

Either I look like death warmed over when I run and people are surprised I am able to breath OR people are just simply nice and encourage each other.

I have had run-ins with lots of people who are repulsed with my body type. Joking about it with your husband or friends isn’t cool. I am sure YOU have some sort of short fall that you would be mortified if I pointed it out. Obviously I am thinking of one gal in particular who happens to be just mean to everyone. I bet she even kicks the dog when no one is looking. My point being is, if it doesn’t hurt you – leave it alone. This same rule of thumb can be applied to Gay Rights and Marriage. It isn’t up to you to judge them. If it freaks you out to think of them having sex, don’t think about it. It freaks me out to think about YOU have sex too – so I just don’t think about it. If you took the time you spent being mean to others and spent it on yourself working on what makes YOU happy, then I think you wouldn’t have time to hate everyone else.

Just let it go.

Be nice, even if you don’t mean it, because one day you will be treated nice back and it feels good.

This is me after running:

Caution Fat Girl Feeling Great AFTER HER RUN!

And you know something? I am starting to look great too :)

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Needy

Have you thought about the difference between want and need? I did, and it got me thinking… more than usual.

Wants are things that bring me joy.

Needs are things I will die without…literally and figuratively.

Devil and angel pulling 3d person for hands

I want to say I need Tiffany’s sparkly things draped over me. But that’s not true, I lived this long without – so far so good.

I want to say I need a regular Disney vacation and a trip to the beach to soak up the sun. Again, I can live without it but those do enhance the joy factor.

I want to say I need a library like Belle in Beauty and the Beast (Disney version) but again, that is a joy enhancement.

Wants are awesome but not life fulfilling.

Needs are. I had a couple of lengthy chats with two different, yet very great friends. Both are male and both feed a different part of my soul. One friend I can talk about fitness, family, writing and life’s ups and downs. His friendship has become a need. I feel energized after talking and I have plenty of brain food to think about.

I need Brain Food.

The other friend I talk to semi-regularly and we talk about business, ethics, values and strategy. More brain food.

I need these types of friends in my life. This is why I enjoy book club. It requires the intellect in me to discuss the books we read with insight and awakening. I enjoy the social content of the evening but the book discussion is the pinnacle for me.

I had told my friend my wish for him. I wish that he would get the things he needs to enhance his life life because we all deserve that. Needs are important. Then he said to me, so what do you need. Wow, I hesitated.

For a very long time I didn’t put my needs anywhere near where I could benefit from them. I know this is a problem for lots of women, moms in particular. Although I have learned that I am not alone, there are men who do the same thing. We are nurturers. We give because we love it, it fills us to a certain extent but then we forget to put in the plug and all kinds of goodness leaks out and the well becomes dry.

So what do I need? It is simple. Without these things I shrivel up and die. Not physically but mentally and that is worse.

1.  I need to mom. I am the mom to 2 amazing kids. I need a life that lets me put their needs ahead of mine while they are still minors. I need them to know how important they are to me and that I would move mountains for them. I need to be the dependable one, the one they know will always be there for them without judgement. The no judgement part is hard. My wish is for them to be high end achievers  but nagging them to death to study is not going to get there. I give them space to fall. I am there with a hand up or a band-aid if they require it. They rarely need a hand anymore, this fills me with pride. I see failure in their future. I want to stop it but this is how we grow, change and mature. We need failure to learn. You rarely learn from doing everything right. It will be more painful for me then it will be for them, but I will do it. I need this. I need them to know I am always in their corner.

-I wanted 4 but needed only one. Two was a bonus.

2. I need to run. This means I need the time, the support (don’t nag me that I am gone again – luckily I have support!), the space and the freedom to set goals. I need the challenge of races to shoot for both in short term and long term. I need quiet when I run. Don’t talk to me. This is my meditation. If I invite you to run it is because I want your presence. If I don’t and you ask if you can come with me, the answer is yes. But don’t talk to me. Running is my communion with nature, my release, my thoughts acknowledgement and peace.

-I want to be a gazelle, but only need to move. Gazelle status will be a bonus.

3. I need intellectual stimulus. Mindless, numbing activity is deadly. It makes me create scenarios in my brain. I’d rather live outside of my brain that live in it, but I will do both if I have too. I need to be challenged. I need intellectual conversation. I need the freedom to seek this. I like being smart because the more you learn, the more you realize you know nothing. Therefore learning is a lifelong challenge.

-I want to be a professional student and have long lengthy chats with other academics but having friends who challenge me is a bonus.

4. I need chocolate. Not everyday but when I need it, look out – it isn’t pretty.

-I want only great chocolate but any chocolate when I need it is a bonus.

I am lucky, I have my needs met. Now – on to the wants…lets start with that vacation to NYC…

15th Anniversary of the beginning of Harry? I suddenly feel very old and melancholy.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

15 years ago the J.K. Rowling released the first of her epic series of Harry Potter Books. I know the first one as Harry and the Philosopher’s Stone, the Americans know it to be the Sorcerer’s Stone. Why? I don’t know, something to do with it being more marketable in the USA. I HATE it when they do that to books.Publishers did it with The Book of Negroes in the rest of the world and Someone knows my Name in the USA. Anyways…

I became a Harry Potter fan by accident. I needed to find a story book to engage my young son in so he would want to become a reader. Books that girls would like to read seemed easier to find. I picked up this book in the Scholastic Book Club Flyer and decided it would be the bed-time story for the next few weeks. By the time we had caught up on the series, we were waiting for The Goblet of Fire to come out. We dressed up and went to the book launch at the local book store, picked up the book and went home. I read the first chapter to him for bed-time as was our usual routine. I then took the book to MY room and finished reading by 4:00 AM. This became a trend for me. Taking the book and reading it in one go, then preceding to read it my son.

By the time we had reached the (near) end of the series, my son was reading novels on his own. He preferred adventure stories but would never read Harry Potter on his own, that was reserved for me. He would watch me read the book through with tears rolling down my face, or so caught up in adventure I couldn’t hear what was going on around me. The advantage to reading first was I knew when a good time to stop the book for the night. Chapters aren’t always a good break in the story.

Rowling isn’t the worlds greatest literary author, but who cares. She made children readers because they finally understood that a book can transport you away to another time and place and lets you spend time with characters who might resemble you and your friends. Better yet, they might show flaws that make you feel normal. I knew Harry had an impact on my son when, as a 16 year old, he came home from a School Trip to California sporting a wand, 11 inches long, made of holly and had a phoenix feather core. It made me smile. The movies were fine, but both of us agree the books had that extra detail that became important to the characters and their lives.

They were important to me, because it gave me some extra cuddle time past the age when your mom reading to you at bed-time was not so cool. Those books were important to him too and set the stage for the future us to discuss books, movies and other geeky things we both find so fascinating. Even now, both my kids like it when I read to them occasionally  I take advantage of every second because these times are growing few and far between. One day it will be me and my grandkids cuddling up to read new adventures.

I’ll leave Harry Potter for the future grandkid’s dad to share with them because that needs to be a special time between a parent and child to let the tradition continue.

Question: what is your existential crisis right now ? Seriously – I’m good, nothing to look at here. Keep moving.

Existentialism in Calvin and Hobbes

Existentialism in Calvin and Hobbes (Photo credit: Lst1984)

I had a message in my twitter feed last week that asked me this:

Question: what is your existential crisis right now ?

I looked at it and thought about it. I understood what it meant, Wikipedia explains it as this:

An existential crisis is a moment at which an individual questions the very foundations of his or her life: whether his or her life has any meaning, purpose or value.[1] This issue of the meaning and purpose of existence is the topic of the philosophical school of existentialism.

I was immediately offended. Why would someone think that my life doesn’t have purpose. Or anyone’s life for that matter? We all have a purpose, good, bad or indifferent. It doesn’t have to be job related, it could be relational. The fact of the matter is it is personal. Not something that needs to be shared – unless of course THAT is the purpose!

My answer to this question was simple:

I don’t question it. I know my life has meaning and purpose.

Some-days it is more obvious to me than other days, but purpose is there and I don’t have to look very hard. I know this question was meant to be well meaning and a conversation started on a philosophical level, but dude, I no longer need to analyze everything to death. It’s okay not to know the answer to every question. The hard part is accepting that. That could be your current purpose.

Once it boils down, we are all the same

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I woke up this morning to a barrage of email that kept me quite busy for the better part of an hour. One of those notes was from a long lost cousin of mine who lives south of me. A while back, I wrote about my Grand Uncle and his mother, my beloved Great Grandmother. Since that post, I have been fortunate enough to connect, or reconnect with countless family members from ‘that side’ of the family. Through many conversations and mini reunions, I have learned – or rather reaffirmed – We are all more similar than different.

My distant cousin wrote this:

I am finding myself astounded from many of your posts on your blog.  So many things you have written about, sound so similar to my interests and experiences.

She wrote many other things that compared our lives, but that is her personal journey, mine is written here. Yes we are similar, so you can surmise what she is like. Another distant cousin on Canada’s East Coast also seems very familiar to me. We had never met, but our interests and life experiences have that same raw familiarity of people who have been through war together. Our wars were separate, yet so familiar and a destruction of trust. Both of these women are people I want to spend time with, get to know what they are like in person and not just in print. I can see myself enjoying them as sisters or the very least friends.

When I first began my Edmonton Tourist Journey in 2010, it was because I was unhappy and felt alone. I set out to change things in my life and have new experiences. This quest has introduced to countless people, all who are so incredibly different than myself, yet we all have one thing in common. We are the same. I am not sure if it is where I am in my life that keeps attracting these people to me, or if it is because there is a global inner drive that requires people to keep searching for ‘it’, but I do know we are more the same than different. Maybe I am wrong and you aren’t the same as me, here is my list of 4 things I think we have in common:

  1. We all want to be loved by someone – kissed, hugged or hair ruffled by someone who cares about you. You want to feel that connected energy. If you aren’t feeling it, perhaps you are not recognizing it. It doesn’t always come in the form of a ‘soulmate’ or great romantic love, it could be from your pup Sparky or your grandma. Still, we all need that feeling of belonging to someone.
  2. We all want to feel good and by good I mean healthy  No want wants to walk around feeling like they are tired or sick all the time. The difference between those who want to feel it and those who do feel it is some of us have figured out the secret. It’s not a big secret, it is more of a knowing. Eat less, move more. Simple formula. Eat real food, not chemical filled. You are  natural, healthy and organic. That means your fuel of choice should be the same. Harder than it sounds, but yet so simple. Move your body. We are biped beings. Walk more, sit less. The more you do it, the better you will feel.
  3. We want the best for the people we love. It doesn’t matter if you are a parent, sibling or child. If you love someone, you want the best for them. When you hear happy news, don’t be jealous or envious, smile and bask in their happiness. It becomes contagious.
  4. We all want to understand. The biggest human nature driving force is ‘WHY’. ‘WHY’ is the reason we get up and experience or try things. ‘WHY’ is the reason we strive for more. Learn the answer to WHY to satisfy you curiosity. Read, experience, and listen to learn the answer to WHY. Try all 3 or the learning method that works for you.

Are we the same? I think so.

 

Reaching for the Worthwhile

I belong to a fledgling book club – all women and lots of wine. We read books that challenge our comfort zone. We take turns choosing the book of the month and host the meeting in perspective homes. Last night was meeting number 2. I know 2 of the ladies quite well, one moderately well and the other two gals are new to my life. We come from different backgrounds, our children are at different ages and stages, our careers are massively different. Yet we all have 2 things in common:

  1. We love to read
  2. We strive for inner growth and change.

I have been reading 419 by Wil Ferguson. There was a single passage near the beginning of the book that made me catch my breath, the character had the task of compiling information for an obituary:

There were never entries for “memory,” or “regrets,” or even “love,” in the lowercase.
It was always “Education (post-secondary)” or “Awards (see also:Best Debut R&B Country CD by a Female Artist, Solo).” Indexes never seemed to get to the heart of the matter. There was never
a heading for hope or fear. Or dreams, recalled. Smiles, remembered. Anger. Beauty. Or even images that lingered, glimpses of something that had made an impression. A doorway. A window. A reflection on glass. The smell of rain. Never any of that. Just a tally of proper nouns and famous names. And why only one life? Why not the web of other lives that define us? What of their indexes”

This made me think. An obituary is typically a list of accomplishments. I remember reading the Toronto paper and remember thinking this people are success driven, there was very little about love and life and endless lists of job related activities and education. Compared to the obituaries I have read in the Edmonton Paper, it was incredibly different. Edmonton Obituaries are typically a laundry list of who died first and who has survived. It seems to be more of a disaster survival list rather than a compilation of words that describe the person. Rarely do you get a glimpse of the deceased’s passions, hobbies or loves. Ferguson makes the same observation. What are our beliefs and how do we define ourselves?

This topic came up in a round about way at Book Club. A few of us are attending a Belief Re-patterning workshop. From what I understand, we have a set of beliefs that we live by. Good/Bad/Indifferent. It is these beliefs that push us forward or hold us back. The point of all this is to discover what it is we truly belive and then taking steps to re-pattern our habits and thoughts to achieve goals.

The conversation then turned to what is it that we would like to change about ourselves. Good question, where do I start? Standing in the middle of me – I find it hard to see what I am, the real deep me. My friends see it. So then what is my belief and what I am striving for?

Then it hit me…after my friend hit me with it. I want to be accepted as I am and I want EVERYBODY to accept me. I want to be perceived as smart and have it all going on. I like being the star of the Robyn Show! Is it happening for me? No, not really. I see my self taking on tons in an effort to show – I have no idea who, perhaps the world, perhaps my mother – and get the recognition I crave. DING DING – Oprah calls this an “A HA” moment, I call it the lightbulb moment.

I see myself discounting rejection, in both my personal and professional life. If I change then maybe you won’t reject me. Sad isn’t it? In some ways it is very liberating. The point isn’t to dig up all the issues of my past, the point is to recognize the pattern and restructure it. One friend hopes this will be a miracle cure, when I see it as more hard work.

If my life is summed up by an obituary or a funeral what do I hope for? My friend wants a balance between family and work. I have a pretty good idea what I would like, the trick is achieving it. I don’t want to look back over my life and say “I should have taken that path”.

I want to look back and think my life was worthwhile.