“Trippin’ ” Over Plannin’

Ah, it’s that time of year at my workplace –

Summer vacation request time.

I’m always ambiguous about this.

Mainly, I hate the fact that they ask in MARCH, because:

(1) Where I work, my fellow employees are currently trying to use the vacation days they currently do have – in this case, they gotta do it in 14 days (barring special permission some of them have to get to carry them forward).

(2) I don’t friggin’ know what I’ll be doing two weeks from now! How am I supposed to know WHEN – between April and October – I want to take vacation?

(3) I personally think they shouldn’t be asking until April.

But secretly, part of me likes this because:

(1) It gets my butt in gear to start seriously thinking about I DO want to do with my vacation days.

(2) This year, I am jonesing for travel – especially since I haven’t left Canada for two years.

(3) I just got my passport renewed in February. Which means those blank, money-scented pages are begging to be broken in and stamped.

Last fall, I vowed that I was going to take a trip this coming September. I’ve already paid a visit to a tour company for a lovely, full-colour brochure. And scribbling out my hypothetical itineraries on a notepad has already gotten me kind of excited.

To further add to the mix, some friends of mine are thinking of expanding our yearly “girls’ weekend” – usually spent at a cottage – into a mini-trip, perhaps to an exotic locale.

This kind of complicates things, because I only have a set number of vacation days … which means I’d have to bank – more than several days in lieu to pull it off. Plus, we haven’t set dates yet – and I’m hoping I have enough seniority for my employer to let me move it around once those dates are decided.

But hey, the year’s still young. Anything could happen between now and July, right?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go peruse Amazon – there’s a travel book that’s calling my name.

My Personal Rethink

A couple of weeks ago, my Maclean’s subscription arrived looking, well, quite different.

Titled “The Rethink Issue”, the magazine took a look about people who are trying to use their ideas to change the world – everything from theoretical physics to public education to politics.

The issue even when as far as literally printing the magazine sideways to make its point visually. (This also helped make it much easier to cram into my bag for subway reading.)

It was definitely intriguing to read some of the things discussed in the magazine. And it got me thinking.

No, not about changing the world. (Although it would definitely make life – and this blog – more interesting.)

But it, once again, made me think about the state of things in my own life.

I’m not suffering. I’m in good health. I’ve got a roof over my head, (reasonably) clean clothes on my back, food in my stomach, a job which hasn’t let me down financially, and friends and family around – whether they’re 10 feet away or accessible by the click of a mouse or tap of a keyboard.

So what’s my big, fat problem?

Probably the same ones I’ve had for months. Complacency … and how to get out of this funk.

Living at home is taking its toll. The condo search isn’t really going the way I’ve hoped. And a couple of conversations with people have been making me do some serious pondering and coming to a realization I’ve been stubbornly fighting. Since then, it’s almost been like I’ve been going through something akin to the seven stages of grief.

Meanwhile, the job is taking an even worse toll. Despite the four-day work week, I feel some of the days are getting longer – a bit too long for my liking, considering how far I have to travel back and forth. I feel angry and frustrated more often. Not even the (needed) overtime is helping soothe the seething and general lack of desire to do my job.

I not only don’t like my job. I’m merely putting up with it.

Despite the nice moments up until this point, I feel like 2010 is pretty much a wash. And I let it happen. No one else is to blame. It’s just hard when you don’t have a crystal-clear vision.

Right now, all I have to work with is a two-sentence, six-word mantra, repeating itself over and over in my head.

So I have to try and deal with that constant chanting the best way I know how. Mentally map it out. Then try and execute it with baby steps, one step at a time.

I don’t know how exactly I’m going to attack this. But I definitely need to go to the chalkboard in my mind, wipe the slate clean, and start writing out a new equation for my life, for the next six months or so, from scratch.

And I need to do it soon.

My Winter Cocoon

Nothing like winter to bring out the recluse in even the most gregarious person.

If you’re wondering why this blog has laid dormant in well over a month, well … I can’t give you a good reason, really.

I’ve been feeling a bit defeated lately. And uninspired. I suppose that’s what January does to some people.

But here’s what’s new with me as of late (although not much, I’m afraid) …

At the end of December, I got a spontaneous proposal from a friend to travel to South Korea with her in February for two weeks. I was taken aback – and instantly excited. Visions of plane tickets danced in my head. I even bought a travel guide …

Which turned out to be premature, since the trip fell through.

While in conversation with another work-mate, she’d mentioned possibly going to Cuba at the end of March, which once again stoked the embers of my wanderlust. That would also turn out to be short-lived.

My continuous condo hunt brought me very close to putting an offer in on a property. But that, too, didn’t materialize. I’m presently without an agent – I ended things with her about a couple of weeks ago.

Compounding said fruitless condo hunt, was unwanted mail from the taxman … which (a) resulted in a small financial setback (about five months’ worth, if my shoddy math skills are correct) in the life savings I’d steadfastly been squirreling away and (b) squashed out any possibility of going to Cuba like a helpless ant into the pavement.

So, I decided to call a time out and take a break until that issue was dealt with.

I’m also taking an indefinite hiatus from the online dating site. I can’t deal with that right now. It would probably just get on my last nerve.

So I’ve simply taken to living inside my own head, the way a crab might adopt an abandoned shell or tin can lying on a sea bed, and just curling up inside. All I do is think. About nothing. About a lot of things.

I could just let it ooze out somewhere. Write it down, like I’m supposed to. But I feel as if I’d just present the same song and dance, play the same record over and over. And you’ve all heard it before, so why bother hashing it out again without sounding like a do-nothing whiner?

Amid all this, I quietly marked my 33rd birthday a week and a half ago.

There was no fanfare, no dancing on the table. Just a small gathering of close friends (the ones who happen to have Mondays off, anyway) over a healthy lunch at a Bloor Street West cafe. I wasn’t disappointed at all about the low-energy festivities. Frankly, I was tired from the gruelling work-week I just had.

I don’t know what, but I felt something was missing. So I didn’t feel like trying too hard.

(I guess that’s the downside of having a winter birthday … unless you put forth the energy, it’s very easy to forget about it.)

I did end up going ice skating the day after, which was a bit of a pick-me-up.

But – fingers crossed – the dreary fog might be lifting a bit.

There have been a few microscopic movements for me within the last week. So perhaps while January has been lost, February could make up for it. We’ll wait and see.

But in the meantime, I’ll do my best to leave the tin can behind.

Maybe this month I’ll aim for two entries instead of just one 🙂 .