2020: A Re-Set, with Baby Steps.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Here we are again: a new year, and a start to another decade (if that’s how you choose to count it).  And now, we’re 20 years into this century. Holy crap. (Freaking out over Y2K seems so far away now, doesn’t it?)

Before I stare ahead into the abyss of a new year, I’ll briefly reflect on 2019. In short, it wasn’t bad.

I actually got off the continent and over to Sri Lanka in early spring, taking in the beauty of the island, the people, the food, the lush green, and the brilliant sunsets, just to rattle off a few things off the top of my head. (Despite the terrible attacks that took place after I left – a gut punch that lingered for days after – I think, if given a chance, I’d return to see more.)

I also had a second crack at writing an episode for the video game project I worked on in 2018 – the same episode for the same game, but re-vamped. Unlike last year, I think I felt a little less out of sorts with the deadlines this time around, as I knew I had to be disciplined with my time after work and on my days off. I’m sure there have been many changes and revisions, but it’ll be interesting to see the finished product, when it finally launches.

I did spend time with friends, although I felt I had a slightly subdued social life this past year.

Do I have the “whopping ennui” I brought with me into 2019? No … I don’t think so. But I definitely felt a little disengaged, and a bit drained, just trying to keep up with the daily grind.

I also feel as if I spent more time by myself in late November and early December. Which in a way, I think I needed.

In fact, now that January is here, I think I still do need a bit of it – at least for the next couple of weeks. Because sometime in 2019, there were just so many basic little things I stopped doing for myself.

I was reminded of this on the bus ride home from my mom’s place last night. I was listening to a podcast about how to help people tackle their problems, and I happened to be listening to the episode about how to make New Year’s Resolutions stick.

Funnily enough, the underlying point happens to be what I’ve been thinking of doing with myself this year: to pick something specific one wants to work on, and to come up with a plan as to how to tackle it, one step at a time.

And I’ve said this before – I’m not a fan of making resolutions, because I know what my degree of willpower and discipline are, and I know I would be absolutely lying to myself.

But there are some things I have in mind, that I really need to re-set and work on them slowly. Ever been at a concert where the musician creates a beat and accompanying vocals by using a looping pedal and adding their sounds, one at a time? That’s the approach I’d like take – just start with one thing, and once I’ve got that down, add another, and another. If one of those things fails? Then start that particular task again until I’m able to find a rhythm that works for me.

I’d also like to resume the little things that I used to do.

Like read books – and actually finish them. (I only read one book cover to cover, in 2019. Yikes.)

Or visit a museum or art gallery for a bit of culture. Maybe occasionally go to a karaoke bar, book a room and wail my face off. See the odd mediocre movie.

Or tackle that thing I’ve been meaning to do in my apartment for the past five, almost six years now.

All I know is that I need to get some mojo back, to have more pops of technicolor in my life, to remind myself that I’m still (relatively) young and need to find little things that give me life.

Whatever you choose to tackle in 2020, pace yourself. Be kind to yourself. Take time to do things you enjoy. And hopefully, if things fall into place (if they’re meant to), the payoff for your intended goal(s) will be huge.

Happy New Year, everyone.


2017: Do The Thing.

When I last posted, I’d just written about the latest in my family research, and had threatened to write about my latest travels.

The would-be distant relative never told me what he found out.

And then I didn’t write anything else for almost 8 months.


So, here we are. Two days into a new year. And time to write about things I’d like to see happen this year.

Since I haven’t said much of anything for about two-thirds of the last year, I thought I’d first refresh my memory by re-reading what I’d written around this time last year.

I wouldn’t say that the goals I had were impossible to achieve. But given how many, man, was that ambitious.

I did end up visiting Cuba and Montreal, and went car-camping one weekend with friends, so that was okay, travel-wise. I did make more meals for myself, but also ate my fair share of fast food in equal measure.

The ukulele I had borrowed from a friend about 3 years ago (as a resolution-on-a-whim) only made into my hands a couple of times. I recently returned to it to its rightful owner – which she gifted to her 4-year-old son, who’s starting lessons this month.

And a number of my choices and intentions were affected by surgery I had in last August to remove fibroids (17 of ’em).

Exercise and food choices – for at least a few months – took a turn for the better … but partially (okay, mostly) prompted by the co-worker who asked me one day in May if I was pregnant. After some reading on my own, I decided to approach my exercise/food challenge as a way to prepare my body for surgery and recovery.

Meanwhile, things regarding my career took a backseat because of the amount of time I needed to take off work.

On the creative side, I did do a bit of writing (even if was mainly on this blog, and only for a few months), and worked on the podcast project with my friends did carry on for a couple of months, before a lengthy hiatus. We just recently tried to pick things up again, but it’s been much slower than last season getting back on the horse. We’ll see how things turn out for this new season.

All of this to say, there were some small successes, and some failures (or, perhaps, goals deferred).

Recently a fellow member of a Facebook group I’m part of, asked what our New Year’s resolutions/intentions were for 2017.

Some posted little things. Others posted bigger, more long-term goals.

I thought about it for a bit, then wrote: “If I tell myself I’m going to do something, actually *do* it — not say, “You know, I should really do x”, and then dither until I lose interest/don’t do it at all. Just do better, in general.”

Because it doesn’t matter if I say, “I’m going to finally de-clutter that box I’ve wanted to unpack for the last 3 years”, or if I say, “I’m going to volunteer for that soup kitchen whose mandate I admire”, if what then follows is inaction.

If I ever ask myself or my friends, “Do I want to go to the gym?” or “Do I want to cook instead of ordering take-out?” it means I don’t really want to do it. So I shouldn’t waste my time with the psychological dance.

But my goal/intention/whatever-you-want-to-call-it for 2017 is to Do The Thing – even if it’s the tiniest of tasks.

If I’m looking at a pile of old magazines and saying (either out loud or to myself), “I should really go through those and toss some out”, then what’s my next step? To keep staring at the pile, or get off my backside?

If I’m looking at myself in the mirror and think I should lose 20 pounds (like I did a few years ago), then how should I tackle how to get there?

Do I want to travel to, say, Ethiopia? Yes. So what I am going to do to get myself there?

Look, I’m not saying anything revolutionary. There will be days when I don’t want to do any of The Things. At all. But that’s fine. That’s the joy of being an autonomous adult.

But I hope I realize those are probably days to take a breather from Doing The Things and Take Care of Me.

As long as I don’t go overboard and take approaches to things that might get me closer to success to failure, then perhaps to Do The Thing is to finally succeed.

Even though none of us really know what 2017 really has in store for any of us, I hope this is the year that you finally Do The Thing you’ve been putting off, and that you triumph.

Best of luck!

2008: Raise. The. Bar.

Early last January, I came up with a list of things that I thought would be nice to see happen in 2007.

While I only achieved about half of my list, what I did accomplish – either through opportunity, the right circumstances, a little prayer or free will – surprised me immensely.

So, it’s that time of year again. Christmas is over. I’ve squelched the party hangover with some water and a greasy-but-good McDonald’s combo, and I’m steeling myself for the beginning of another year (and another birthday in just over three weeks’ time). 

Last year, my old personal mantra was to focus.

Three weeks ago, I got my new one.

A co-worker and I were leaving the building after work, and we were discussing the new permanent host for our show, who’s joining our team early this month. She was excited, because she thought he could bring a fresh perspective.

I was cautiously optimistic. We’d gotten used to our team of six, with the talent occasionally coming in to look things over, or to pre-tape things. How would we adapt to a new person on the scene?

But she made an interesting point. She said she liked working with people who were willing to give input into how to do things differently, or improve what was already being done … people who made the effort to raise the bar on their work, instead of sticking to the status quo. 

On the subway ride home, her words had me thinking about my own life.

So after a bit of mulling over, here’s what I would like to try and accomplish in 2008:

Look for the next job – and get it. Last year, frustrated with my job at the time, I said I needed a new job. By mid-February, I actually got one! Ten months later, and I’m once again restless. The honeymoon period was brief – and now it’s over. I feel as if I’ve spent more time being crabby than content.

I’m looking for work that inspires, that makes me want to work harder. I know adulthood is sometimes about doing things you loathe in order to get to do the things you love, but it’s getting a bit ridiculous. So, one of two things needs to happen. Either (a) I start pounding the pavement (or the carpet in this case) for my next job, or (b) I find a way to inspire myself in the job I currently have. Either way, I’m tired of feeling as if my brain’s almost completely atrophied.

Be punctual. I should’ve mastered this already, right? Well, over the past couple of years, I’ve gone from genuinely being late for things due to traffic or subway delays to being late for really no good reason. So this year I need to try and set things right – by getting to places on time.

Be neater. When I was a child, apparently I was very neat and tidy. Somewhere along the way, that went completely out the window. Now, I’m a slob – and I know it. Combined with being a packrat by heritage, it’s been sometimes frustrating keeping track of things. I’d like to try and make the effort to be a little tidier at work, and especially at home. (Hoo, boy – this could be difficult.)

Practice some moderation. For most of last year, I always joked to people that when it came to eating, I had no willpower or discipline over what I put in my mouth. And I think after a while, I believed my own hype. I know this has especially been the case in the weeks leading up to the holidays. Stuffing my mouth with cookies. Drinking way too many rum-and-cokes. And this isn’t just with food. I need to tone this down just a smidge (perhaps making the odd exception for special occasions).

Save more money. I think this goes partially hand in hand with the previous paragraph. Towards the end of the year I started making a renewed effort to do this in some areas – while letting things slide in others. Maybe if I cut down on the long cab rides home on Friday nights, and don’t buy as many Starbucks chocolate chunk cookies and Tazo Chai Lattes – or at least find slightly less expensive substitutes – I could save a bit more.

Find a place to live. After six years of commuting between my parents’ house and my workplace downtown, I’m officially tired. I’m thinking about all the time I spend commuting in a given week (as many as 15 hours), and what I could be doing with all that extra time. And it’s eating me alive. Also in the forefront of my mind: do I rent or buy? I know I’ve been adamant with myself about buying a place to live. But the way real estate prices have crept up, what are the realistic chances of me making that big purchase? And do I temporarily give up my dream of ownership, by sucking it up and renting, for the sake of my sanity? I have to seriously think this over. And when I figure out the answer that’s right for me – take action.

Keep travelling. Last year, I achieved a personal goal by finally making it to Spain – by myself. And I had loads of fun. When I returned though, I’d been bitten so hard by the travel bug, I was unbelievably crabby for weeks. This year, a friend of mine – who also visited Western Europe last year – wants to take on a bunch of cities in Central Europe. I’m pretty sure I’m going with her – why not? This will probably be my last trip to Europe for a while, so I want to get in as much as I can. Which leads me to my next “goal” …

Visit some of my friends. Last year, I said I should really visit my friends who are outside of Toronto. I failed in this respect. Miserably. Which means a LOT of friends both near and far are holding IOUs in my name. I’m not sure how many people I’ll be able to see, but I’m definitely going to give it a try. I’ll start with some of my friends in Ontario, and work my way out.

Read more. This may be a combination of being a commuter and my line of work, but I can’t seem to focus on one thing for a long period of time. I’ll start reading a book, then put it down and not look at it for weeks, even if I’m carrying it around with me when I’m travelling on the subway, bus, or streetcar. I’ll sometimes start reading something, and then be overcome with sleepiness within 10 minutes, so I have to put the thing down. And I’m in a field that requires you to be well-read – and I know I don’t read as much as I should. Not just books – magazines, newspapers, etc. Maybe I should also purchase an MP3 player that works so I can download some podcasts and feed my mind.

Be more lady, less girl. Beyond the basic tenets of everyday hygiene, I’m unbelieveably lazy when it comes to taking care of how I look. If I’m dressed, I achieve the main goal. I don’t really wear makeup; if I do, it’s the bare minimum. I wear pants – mainly jeans – almost everywhere I go. Let’s face it – I spend most of my workday at a desk. The time I don’t spend at said desk, I’m running around. And because I commute, I lug so much stuff with me on any given day, by the time I get to work, I’m practically sweating anyway.  I want to be comfortable and practical.

But sometimes on social outings with friends (depending on which set), I feel a bit mismatched. No, I’m not trying to fit with a specific type of clique. But I guess now that I’m getting older, I should try and clean myself up a bit. (Besides, I’ve had this secret fantasy for months now about doing a photo shoot where I dress up – just for kicks … don’t ask, don’t judge.) In any case, I need to lady it up this year. Or at least try.

So there you have it. Will I sail over the bar I’ve set for myself, or knock it down in the attempt?

Only time will tell.

Happy New Year, folks.