Fine, Fail and a Few other F words

Sitting in my silent kitchen this morning, I was looking out my window into the back yard. August 27th and my trees have not yet started turning yellow and orange…weird. It usually starts by my birthday (the famed Dead Elvis Day). Knowing that fall is around the corner I got that sick feeling in the pit of stomach.

Not one thing happened they way I had hoped it would.

I had great hopes for this summer and did all the things you are suppose to:

  1. Had a positive attitude
  2. Worked my ass off trying to make my dreams come true
  3. didn’t let grass grow under my feet

Yet failure was a word that kept creeping into my head. Sure I have a backup plan, but the point of this exercise was NOT TO NEED ONE!

A few friends of mine asked me how I am doing. My reply was “this summer has been a soul sucking experience. I feel like a failure.” The responses I received were similar “look at what you have done! I know you are not a failure.” Ya but it still feels like failing.

You see, I have set some pretty high goals for myself because I am not satisfied with fine. I wish I was but I am not. I look at people who plug along doing the same thing day after day and are perfectly happy with the status quo. I would sooner slit my wrists thanks.

I look a women  girls who play the girl card and get what I want. You smart women know what I mean, those girls who tantrum, plead helplessness, stand their ground and have men fall all over them doing their bidding. They make me sick. They are selfish, self righteous and scoop up all the fabulous things in the world because stupid people are blinded by their powers. That leaves women like me to do things the hard way. The sad news is, the girls will have karma down their backs and their world will unravel leaving them with a bitter taste in their mouth while they have destroyed all the good things in their wake and left a pile of hurt and anguish for people like me to clean up and nurture. I can see it coming and it ain’t pretty. Liars, schemers and playa’s is the world I am no longer interested in. Been there done that, own the t-shirt and the battle scars associated with it.

So if THAT is not an option to achieve my goals, then I guess I need to keep doing what I am doing. That sucks because I am tired of trying.

I am tired of trying.

I am not all about instant gratification. I understand the hard work involved to make goals happen. There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING that feels better than achieving your goals. Not achieving them feels like failure, even when it’s not.

I havent reached the point where I have been told my goals are not achievable. I never will reach that point because the honest truth is, my goals ARE achievable, they are just long term. You have to make goals that are reachable. There is no point in making a goal that says “I will be the Queen of England.” That is impossible for me, but not so for other people. Why you ask? Because I am not willing to do the work involved to become Queen. That whole Royal Courtesan life is too incestuous for me. Do the work that is right for you.

I have done a pile of self-reflection and some of that was a pity party. When I need a pity party, table for one, I indulge in TV. I never watch TV, so I just lied. I did watch youtube via apple TV and watched it on the big screen in my living room instead of the iPad. Why? Because when I spend time with my future ex husband George, bigger is better. I have loved that man since Facts of Life and The Return of the Killer Tomatoes, I even liked him in his nipple suit in Batman.

I don’t like George for his good looks. I did at first, but then I saw interviews and read stuff and the nobel prize didn’t hurt either. I love him for his drive, risks and ability to do the right thing. He isn’t dazzled by stupid helpless girls. He likes to sleep with them sure, but then he moves on. Men don’t confuse sex with love. They know the difference. How can you love someone when they don’t share your passions, support your goals, and help you dissect a problem so you can find an answer? He does 2 out of 3 for me, and if he knew me, he would support my goals too – well he would in my fantasy.
Any man that stands before the Nobel Peace Prize contingent and say’s “I stand before you today as a failure” gets my vote as sexiest man alive. He set out to help people live and nothing changed from the time he started to the time he spoke to the Nobel Peace Prize UN contingent. Yet, that hasn’t stopped him from trying. The dude bought a ssatellite to take pictures of mass graves, deaths and injustices. If a country does that, it is spying. He does it and he is a guy with a lot of money. Although he admits to selling coffee and other stuff in Europe because it pays the bills. His movie career is mostly scale because he chooses films that have meaning and purpose.

Meaning and Purpose.

I told the fellow who hired me 8 years ago “I have to work to feed and cloth my family. If I have to work, then I want to do something that is meaningful and serves a purpose to society.” I think that is why he hired me.

Values.

The biggest reason I have set new goals is because of a clash of values. My values no longer line up with the work I do. That is not entirely true, some aspects are exactly the same, meaningful and purposeful. There are other aspects that clash and frustrate me. This has been my learning lesson. But I am 45, when do I get to stand up for my values and support them instead of being supportive of other’s values? This is where I struggle. This is why I search for new endeavors. This is why I fail, of feel like I am failing.

Then I heard George say this on Inside the Actors Studio, “You have to look at auditions like you are gambling with house money. You really want to nail the audition, you want the job. You don’t have the job to start, you try out, then you don’t get the job you never had. It wasn’t yours so why get upset about it.”

That was a lightbulb moment for me.

My sister said to me, the universe has big plans for you but it isn’t lined up yet. You still need to be patient and work towards your goal.

Both she and George are right. I want to be rescued, but the achievement of attaining the goal doesn’t feel as good as when you rescue yourself. Those girls who play the girl card are missing out, just like those boys who fall for their games.

So here is me, standing before you filled with anxiety about the coming year because I am not where I thought I would be by now. Time to turn on the Edmonton Tourist Show, be the person where fine isn’t acceptable, do my work with purpose and make some things happen for me as I reach my goal. THEN there will be some celebrating to do.

That is something that girl will never be able to experience.

 

 

The Edmonton Tourist Birthday Indulgences that are indulged in all year because once you hit 39 birthdays happen quicker and there is not enough time to get them all in List

My buddy Paul sang this for me today:

That’s right, shameless plug, I am having a birthday. Half of 90, so I guess it’s official – I have reached the middle-age plateau.

There are a few birthdays that stick out for me, only a few because as you get older the memory fades and everything blends together. I cannot for the life of me remember what I did on my 40th. But I remember my 21st like it was yesterday. I was a camp counsellor and was thrown off the pier by my pals. All the little campers made me pictures and the I received a special camp cake – it was gross but oh so special!

I remember my 16th birthday. I sat on the steps of the paramount theatre in a mini skirt to watch Risky Business, they over old seats so I sat on the sticky floor with my best friend. We went of for drinks – the alcohol kind and I had a Chi-Chi. My first underage public libation – good times.

I remember my 43rd very well. My kiddos brought me breakfast in bed that was cooked! When they were little they were not allowed to turn on the stove so they made “egg bread” soaking bread in raw egg – the preamble to french toast. My kids have always been so thoughtful.

Typically I have always been on vacation for my birthday. Not this year, I’m just back. I share this day with Fess Parker – Davy Crockett and of course it is Dead Elvis Day. All Elvis All Day – bring it ON!

I often indulge myself on my birthday, I never use to but I treat myself now to only do things I want to do. This includes NOT HAVING A PARTY. I hate parties. But I love spending time with a few well chosen chums and loved ones. I love little surprises like birthday fairies leaving treats on my porch without ringing the bell, magical coffee appearing and free junk. Sephora sent me an email to pick up lip balm from them today – free! Sure it will be a tiny sample, but it’s free!

Today I will go for a bike ride, spend some birthday money on an umbrella stand for my Mary Poppins Umbrella (Thanks Mom and Dad!!!), have dinner at the Keg, go Fringing, eat cake pops and perhaps read in the tub with candles and bubbles up to my eyeballs.

There is one thing I want for my birthday. I wish on a star for it every year. I have told the universe about it. I will likely never happen, but I keep hoping. This might actually be the year. However I am patient and can wait another 45 years for it. I will never speak it out loud because that will ruin it. People who know me well will be able to figure it out. When it happens I will cry. It costs nothing. There is not a dollar amount to be had, yet it would be priceless to me. I tear up thinking about it. Sigh…..

Meanwhile, I am thankful for so many wonderful friends and family, my cup is really over flowing. Now that I am 45 have figured out what is important to me, what I dislike and will no longer tolerate and what I cannot live without. Well… I could live without it but I choose not to. Here is my list, The Edmonton Tourist Birthday Indulgences that are indulged in all year because once you hit 39 birthdays happen quicker and there is not enough time to get them all in list:

  1. Long lovely chats with friends. I have a few friends who I NEED to spend time with. I need it like I need air to breath. I will stop everything to answer their call, text or email. I will not give them up in spite of how crazy they make me. I love them and they love me. I will defend them to the death and I know they have my back too. In fact I have had war of words and made enemies with people because of my need to defend and protect these 3 people. I won’t say who they are, they know it and that’s all that matters.
  2. Music. I had lost music for a while and I blame myself when I want to blame that fellow who TOOK my stereo to his office to use for the switch board and never replaced it until a decade later when I received my first iPod. But really…I should have told him to fek off and demand music in my life not TV. I am  not a TV watcher. I watch movies and news and even not so much news because I read my news on social networking sites. But Music is my passion, it lifts me, it relaxes me, transports me to other places, dimension and feelings. I have everything from Disney to ZZ Top in my rotation and tons of other genres in between – except Michael Jackson. I never enjoyed his music, even when he was a black dude. His “woos” and “aaahhhhs” make me want to punch him in the face. I endured 2 showings of Captain EO and that is 40 minutes of my life I will never get back. NEVER. Today will be about some Disney ride soundtracks and park loops so I can reminisce about birthdays past and future.
  3. Bikes. in high school I would ride my bike from Sherwood Park to Edmonton through the river valley. My babies stopped me for a while, mostly because of cash to have the proper safety equipment. I gave up my career to be the best mom I could for them, but that meant giving up other stuff so they could stay healthy and have things like food and shelter. I’m going for a bike ride today and I cannot wait! I’m taking Chatterbox’s bike because Genetic offsprings bike is too big and he doesn’t share. I have no idea where I am going but that is part of the adventure of cycling.
  4. Books. I am reading my 30th book of the year – not including text books and books for my classes. 30 books for pleasure. |I have expanded my genre horizon and tried books that scared me before. I read books that bored me, scared me and horrified me. I read books that made me weep, made me explore my sexual side and taught me new lessons. I read books that made me want to travel to distant places and stay away from places. Today will be spent with Steve Jobs. I am half way through his biography and am shocked, enthralled, inspired and motivated.
  5. Arts. Today is about dramatic Arts. I will fringe today. I haven’t been able to get to the art gallery in quite some time, but i am going on Monday. I write daily on my book, blog and in letters to friends. I am working on a painted piece for a friend. I draw, sketch and paint on a regular basis. Being creative releases the ugly and keeps me smart and focused. I use it to take my mind off anxiety causing events, to be closer to people from my past and present and people who are no longer with me. i do it because i think of them and in return, they inspire me.
  6. Snuggles. There is nothing finer than having your kiddos meet you at the airport and hug you in public, except when they let you kiss them on the cheek.
  7. Laughter. I had lost this for a bit during my depression. I would laugh, but never hard. I missed it. I get the occasional note or text from a friend that makes me howl and brings tears to my eyes. Keeping it light and silly is fun for me. Now that I have climbed out of the dark abyss I am laughing again. Love it!

Seven things that I indulge in always. I know the list will grow as I figure out stuff. I indulge in things that make me smile and say no to those things I hate, that I use to do because it was expected. Well I am I 45 now, time to put on purple lipstick and get my cranky pants on because just because YOU expect something from me doesn’t mean I will indulge you. Find the things that make you happy – they are events, circumstances not stuff you buy, things you make people do. Having someone do something for you un asked and uninvited is lovely beyond words. I have discovered my life is to short to waste on things that have no meaning for me. 45, my life is half done – if I am lucky, so I will spend the next 45 years extending my 64 days of awesome into a life time of awesome.

I need to share what one of my awesome friends sent me for my birthday. He lives in Argentina and we share a love of vintage animation. His humor comes through in  translation, Mr. Google translator is our friend to keep the conversation going. Yet Mr. Google is not the best at helping us, it gets the point across. This little song he made for me made me laugh. I can visualize the animation sequence that needs to go with it.

Vocaroo Voice Message.

 

My life is rich and full with family and friends. Happy Birthday to me! I am one very lucky girl.

 

 

 

The Edmonton Tourist’s 2nd Blogiversary: 11 lessons learned

Tomorrow is my second blogiversary as The Edmonton Tourist. Unreal! I never thought I would get this far, I told myself I would but back then I wasn’t so great with follow through. I was very happy to make it through a year, yet very amazed with myself. I learned that given the right motivation or goal I could be quite driven.

Motivation is the wrong word. I no longer believe in motivation. It isn’t something that comes to you through divine intervention, it doesn’t come in a magic pill that lifts you up to get things done. Motivation comes in a form of achievement. Setting a goal, seeing the finish and figuring out the steps to get there is goal oriented, not motivation. At least in my circumstance, motivation has never been a factor. you want to do something or not, you want to achieve something or not. Motivation never helped me out for long and it abandoned me when the going got tough. Goals were always there. Figuring out how to achieve them was the key.

When I started this journey, I was miserable. I was deep in depression. My good blogging friend wrote a brilliant description about depression here. She eloquently explains the difference between sadness and depression. Depression is not sadness. It is dark, cloudy and soul sucking. Sadness is an emotion. huge difference. Depression is not an emotion, it is a state of being, like hunger or tired. Those are not emotions. there is a big difference.

I wanted to climb out of my depression and change my life. I was living in my imagination for a long time and decided it was time to make my imagination a reality for me. I knew I would need to take risks, try new things, say yes more often and no more often too. I needed to become a tourist in my own life.

I achieved that. Funnily enough, there are 11 major lessons I have learned through my Tourist Journey. All of them have leadership qualities like my Number 11 Hero.

1. I was always disappointed that I never finished my degree. I am 5 classes away from my undergraduate degree. I have the intention of getting my MBA in Leadership, but for now that is a distant goal, I am focusing on my first one for now. I have learned not to be afraid of hard work because I am smarter than I give myself credit for and I can figure out or research anything.

2. I never lived on my own, unattached long enough to experience serious solo travel. I experienced it several times of late. By solo I don’t mean just me and the road, I mean not being responsible for anyone but me. I traveled with my cousin, and I traveled with girlfriends. One of the best trips I ever had was with my sister, when we went to Seattle for the weekend. It was freeing. I took one child at a time on separate vacations. That gave me a chance to bond and laugh and really focus on them separately rather than a unit. This was invaluable. I learned to relax on holidays, not over plan and enjoy the moment. I needed the solo vacations to learn this.

3. I became a tourist in my own city and went to every festival I could. I discovered lots of them were crap, and a couple were brilliant. Now I just go to the ones I love and will continue to try out new festivals as they pop up. Edmonton is Festival City, every week – or there abouts – is another festival to attend. This week is my favorite festival of all time, The Fringe Festival. The largest Fringe in North America. I am doing some improv with my son (who is a improv comedian himself) and I will call my Gran to go to a drag show or two. I took her at the age of 84 to her very first drag show last year, because she is cool like that. Then she asked if we could go again, YA WE CAN! Drag is super fun and fabulous! I think I have to see “BitchSlap!” the Bette Davis and Joan Crawford saga. Darin Hagen is just simply wonderful and I am a huge fan. I learned that new adventures are in my own backyard. Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz was right.

4. I learned that I needed to make the outside me match the inside me. So I started the Just Me and Mo journey about weight-loss and fitness. This saw me swim long distances for 1.5 hours on Fridays and an hour the rest of the week. I trained for and completed a half marathon – 13.2 miles or 26.1 km. I did the last 7km with a stress fracture on my left foot. It took strength of mind to get to the finish. I now know mentally what I am capable of and yet I sense I haven’t even scratched the surface of my mental possibility. I belive there is more there, I just haven’t been tested hard enough yet. Running consistently will help me figure out that tidbit.

5. I learned that people are hugely disappointing. I cannot expect people to have it all together when I don’t even have it pulled together. I no longer expect things from people. If great stuff happens, terrific! If there is no follow through, oh well. I need to make my own fireworks and magic happen. I learned to be grateful for what it given and don’t expect more.

6. I learned there comes a time in everyones life where you need to take responsibility for your own life. This time should happen when you are 25 and your brain is fully developed. Sadly this never happens. It takes becoming a parent or growing up to figure this out. We all grow up at own rate. I know men who haven’t grown up yet and feel quite sad for them. They still blame their parents for the life they have. Here is what I know and have learned. Your parents love you and agonized over making the right decision because they know it can affect you for the rest of your life. They made the best decision they could with the skills and knowledge they had ( okay, there are parents out there who never grew up and yet still had kids. They made and continued to make poor choices. This is the exception to the rule.) You cannot make choices based them. You are not your Father/Mother/Grandmother etc, you are you. Their DNA does not make choices. DNA provides allergies, eye colour, height etc. These are factors that cannot be changed. Education, experience and choices + DNA make you the person you are. Suck it up and grow a pair. Quit blaming your Mom/Dad/Wife/Husband/EX-whatever because the choices you make are not right for you.

7. I learned that kindness will take you very far in life. Empathy, caring and kindness in general are the key to meaningful relationships. I use to be cranky. I often see glimpses of my dark angry side when someone annoys me, but instead of the knee jerk reaction, I am now quiet, contemplative and reflective. I try to stand in their shoes and figure out why they are reacting in that way. Seeing things from someone else’s perspective has been enlightening. I still feel frustration at choices people make that I think are wrong, but it is not my choice. I no longer judge and rant, I will say I disagree or we need to agree to disagree. On occasion I will be asked why, then I will say why. But if someone doesn’t ask my opinion, I won’t give it. I do here on my blog, because it is my forum. It isn’t a two way conversation until the comments roll out. Then you will notice I usually respond in kind. Everyone has an opinion. Force feeding someone your opinion is not going to change theirs, it will just have them think ill of you. So perhaps tolerance is the lesson learned here.

8. I have learned people are starved of kind words. If someone does something I think is fantastic, kind, loving cool or positive – I now will tell them. They may not know it, or ever hear they are doing great work. I tell them with words that are specific to the job well done. This has opened doors for me. It’s true! People remember the nice things or compliments that are genuine and will reciprocate in another fashion, like introductions to new possibilities. The new possibilities have been mind blowing awesome and have changed me life. It is true when you give of yourself, you receive ten fold. I can vouch for that.

9. I have learned that help is available if you ask for it. I always wanted to be independent and do it myself. I can’t always and failure hurts. So I now ask for help. I have learned that people LOVE to feel needed. Help can also be in the form of things. I have something and you don’t. I don’t need it so I give it to you. I don’t sell it. I wasn’t using it. You need it, you can have it. My mom is the master of this skill. She is the kindest, most generous person I know aside from my daughter. Kindness becomes a wonderful two way relationship.

10. I learned that everyone is going through varying degrees of struggle. You do not know what their journey is, so don’t assume theirs is harder/easier/insignificant compared to yours. Listening to others struggle has given me great insight. Truthfully, we are all the same. We all have fears, hopes, dreams, disappointments and tragedy in our lives. The point or lesson is how we deal with it and how we learn to benefit from it. Some of us figure it out, and some of us never do. But we are all the same.

11. I learned Failure is the best way to learn stuff and have it be meaningful. I needed inspiration yesterday. I texted my friend and said “Quick, I need something inspiring.” They texted me back  without asking why, “If your dreams don’t scare you they aren’t big enough” then they sent “or this one ‘fall 7 times and get up 8′” This was what I needed to hear. I have had a summer of failure and disappointment. I fell 7 times and got up 8. If I fall again, I will get up 9. I will keep getting up until I reach my destination. I learned a valuable lesson every time I fell. I tucked it away and kept getting up, dusting myself off and moved forward because my dreams are so huge they are scary.

So there you have it. 11 things this tourist learned over 2 years. What I thought was going to be a short term movement has ended up being a lifelong journey. Learning doesnt end. In fact, the more you learn, you realize the less you know. I wonder what will happen next? All that matters is, I need to be aware and present when it does happen.

Putting My Best Foot Forward

While I am away, I am reposting some of my olders blogs from 2011. It is interesting to see where I have come from. This is from /2011/02/28.

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Pixie using her pixie dust power. Art by Greg ...
Pixie using her pixie dust power. Art by Greg Land. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today was wacky. I had a heated conversation with a colleague about what I know and don’t know. I was so angry by the time the conversation was over I wanted to walk out never to return. Instead I kept my composure, defended my position and used conversation skills I have learned in my course. Does it matter in the end? No not really. I was seriously offended though. I put it aside and went swimming instead of stewing about it. My arms hurt but I feel good. I thought about why she might say those things to me. Clearly we do not share the same belief system or values. I was questioned as to why I work so hard at what I do if I am not loving it any more. To me the answer is simple. If you do a job, do it well or go home. Just letting things “go” or ignoring situations is just not how I was raised. My Grandfather would be rolling over in his grave and my mother would ground me. I have set goals for myself and I know I will not achieve them if I do not put my best foot forward. I need to shout those goals to the Universe so everyone knows what my intentions are. Do you hear that Universe? I do not want to keep my regular position anymore, I want more.

To achieve those goals I need to remind myself of beliefs and values that are important to me. Genetic Offspring showed me his Power Point Presentation on Beliefs for his Religion class. It has inspired my list. I am writing them down because I need the reminder.

  1. Family First Always. Sometimes I forget how much my family means to me. I am not just referring to the ones living in my house. I mean the ones down the street, across town, in another city and over oceans. Family is my reason for almost everything.
  2. Doing the Right Thing is hardly ever easy. I wish it was easy. If everything was easy, life would be boring. However, would it kill you universe to make some things easy?
  3. Great Wisdom often comes from children. I have learned amazing things from my children. I don’t just mean the answer to scientific questions, but the maturity my children deal with social issues, personal problems and road blocks inspires me to be better. I think all parents can learn from their children. If you are childless, you can still eaves drop on conversations of children. Not only are the a great source of entertainment but profound things often come out of those mouths.
  4. Trust your instincts. There is a little voice or a feeling. Its something or someone trying to tell you something. Listen to that gut feeling. It is usually right. Trust yourself, you have your best interest at heart. Don’t let yourself down.
  5. Show Kindness to others. You would think this would be easy. I see children who don’t know how to be kind to each other. We need to teach that. It isn’t instinctual. My ChatterBox is the kindest person I know.
  6. Magic/Miracles/Pixie Dust are real if you believe in hard work. All of it will happen if you work for it. Look at me, I am working hard for it, a little pinch of Pixie Dust and I’ll have my goals in my pocket.
  7. Nurture yourself. I never use to believe this. I have started practicing it. It’s true, it makes a difference. You have to love yourself first then other things fall into place.
  8. No is as important as Yes. Learning to say no has been liberating. It ties in with nurturing myself. Hard to do, but essential.
  9. Yes is as important as No. Saying yes to things you normally wouldn’t do is also liberating. Hard to do, but essential.
  10. Family First Always – but don’t forget you are part of the family too.

She Wore Red Cowboy Boots

While I am away, I am reposting some of my olders blogs from 2011. It is interesting to see where I have come from. This is from /2011/01/08.

I was out last night and ran into my Grade 9 Drama and Religion Teacher. I think I had a tiny crush on her in grade 9 – not the “OMG You play for THAT team?” No, the kind of crush girls get on other girls when they are and do so many fabulous things. She was always dressed so stylishly, had a killer figure, was smart, funny and made me think. Reading over this I don’t think you believe me. It does sound like I had the OTHER kind of crush. Not true. She was a significant role model and mentor for me. The year was 1981.

Flash forward to 2011. She has GOT to be pushing the other side of 60. She was wearing knee-high red cowboy boots, a really cute cut above the knee denim skirt, a great rust red short jacket and she had a blonde bouncy pony tail. Clearly she has grayed but dyes it blonde. Same fabulous smile, and same great relationship with her students. I’m crushing again.

As mentors go, I never once saw her sad, angry or depressed. I knew plenty of teachers who were. I loved it when I could please her or make her laugh and it killed me the day I disappointed her. It was wonderful to see her still reaching out to her students and making them WANT to do better. I bet she has touch a 1000 lives and has no idea how she truly affected them in the long run.

Alex Anderson, a man who also had a profound influence on my life so far, explained to me about the ripple effect. A tiny pebble drops into the water and creates a ripple, many ripples grow from there. Each one affecting the before and after. The pebble is you or me. Think about how many lives you have touched. Good, bad or indifferent.

After seeing my Grade 9 Teacher, I thought about how she made me think, and how she may have been disappointed with path my life took after High School. I really hadn’t thought about her until yesterday when I saw her again. Now she is all I can think about. I am thinking about the choices I made and how the ripple effect touched the people around me.

2011 is laid out before me. I have some big choices to make. I hope I make the right kind of ripple.

Maybe I should buy a pair of red cowboy boots.

Find Your Greatness; Nike is right, it is in all of us

I love the Nike Find Your Greatness campaign. I have been searching for the Greatness Factor for quite some time now. I decided to check back on my humble beginnings for The Edmonton Tourist Project. Elvis and Other Really Old People was my very first post as a blogger. It’s good to know where you came from and where you are going. I was stuck and I needed momentum to push me forward so I came up with this concept:

I have decided to become a tourist in my own life.

I have been fortunate to have been able to travel the world with my family both as a child and an adult. There is something about traveling that allows you to explore and try things that you likely would never do at home. Ding Dong! Now you get it!!! I am throwing caution to the wind, taking the plunge, allowing my free spirit to stretch and run. AND it starts tomorrow on my 43rd birthday. My inspiration will be pulled from books I have read, people I have met in person and on facebook. But most importantly, the inspiration for my Edmonton Tourist Project, will be me.

This journey has really become more than risk taking. It’s finding out want I need and how to achieve it.

I have reached the next step or pinnacle of this journey. I need to leap with eyes open and take a giant risk that will change everything in my life. It has become more than finding the perfect job, or gaining the degree. It is more than mentoring or being a role model. It has become learning what my limitations are and moving past them. Believing in myself when no one else will. Why? Because I don’t let myself down. People are disappointing and I realize depending on them is not helping me find my direction. I have that fire or spirit that can move mountains with tenacity. I need to tap into that and do it myself.

I had a conversation with two important people in my life. One gave me a metaphor for rejection. For the record, I should be suicidal I have been rejected so often – I am not. I thought about what my friend said to me:

I understand how it feels to be rejected. Think about it this way:ever go fishing?

I used to go fishing almost every day when I was a kid. After work in the boatyard, I’d go fishing for snapper right off of our pier. I’d cast my line into the water and reel it slowly back in. I’d do it over and over again until one of them decided to take the bait. It usually took MANY casts before I scored a fish. To be honest – I never really got mad when I’d reel in my lure and I didn’t score one…I just needed to be patient. But when I caught one…THAT was fun.

So look at it this way: you’ve cast your line into the water a lot. You’re bound to snag a fish. OK – the big one spit the hook out and took off on you. No big deal. You’ll nail this one and celebrate!!!!

I am not sure if catching the next one will happen soon, but I have a contingency plan for that. A couple of people have said, “The right fit will find you”. I am not sure about that, I think I need to find it. Faith plays a big part in that. Faith is something I have lots of. I have faith in my ability, faith in myself and faith that things turn out the way they are suppose to.

The second person I talked to gave me an idea for a back up plan. It is about being more aggressive about my education and taking time away from other pursuits while I do this. Although I am not in the financial position to take a sabbatical, I do have options. This will be my fall back plan…and it might end up being quite lucrative in the process.

Since deciding on the back up plan, I have felt more relaxed and confident that I have in a while. I can go on vacation next week and be worry free. That is what makes for a fun and relaxing holiday.

Meanwhile, while I am away, I will be reposting some old blogs that most of you have never seen before – back in the day when I had 15 readers and 14 of them were my family. Now 864 of you follow me. I am stunned, humbled and most of thankful for your continued support in my project. I love hearing from you, the comments, emails and private messages keep rolling in. I know I have inspired you, just like you have inspired me.

Thank you for following my journey.

Bucket List Intervention: Preventing the Shoulda Coulda Woulda Syndrome

 

A while back I created a list called 50 in 50. It was designed to help me achieve things I wanted to do before I reach the age of 50 (five years and one month away). Since I created that list, I added a *subject to* clause so I wouldn’t be stuck if something just didn’t appeal to me any longer. It was also created with the intent that perhaps I may die by the age of 52. That had always been a number that seemed possible. Either I would die when I was 52 or in 2052. i figured life was ticking by and I needed to get to work on the risk taking, achieving stuff – you know how it goes with this whole middle-aged thing. You become concerned about stuff like that. The last thing anyone wants is to be on their death-bed thinking “Woulda Coulda Shoulda” Well, that is NOT going to be me. However, my list need tweaking.

 

I was talking to ChatterBox today and she shared with me one of her bucket list items – get into a bar fight. What??? Her brother advised that those things never go well…and how does he know??? It is my hope she either tweaks her own list, or comes out the winner.

 

So going through the items on my own list called 50 in 50, Number 12 is annoying me.

 

12. I will read 50 of Time Magazine’s Top 100 Novels 

 

Yeah…. that’s not going to happen. I have tried it but it’s not fun. I want to know why those were the books chosen. I have started many of those books and found them painfully boring. As in, I am no longer in high school, why I am forced to read this? Good question. I am not in high school, so I choose to say no. I do not want to plod my way through books when there is an entire world library out there for me to explore. So Good bye 12. We must change you.

 

Here is the next questionable one,

 

21. I will drive to Whitehorse, Yukon in the summer.

 

I was warned by a friend who lived up there about the shale gravel roads and how they shred your tires. Whitehorse is far from my house and the expense to go may not be worth it in the end. If an oppourtunity comes up, I won’t say no – but to plan and execute this trip when I could drive East to Quebec and the Maritimes instead, is much more appealing. So NO to Whitehorse.

 

37. I will make one last quilt – Queen size

 

Yeah….that is not going to happen either. I pulled out my machine to make baby quilts and decided I just don’t like doing it anymore. I love the look of quilts, I have several tops I plan to have sandwiched and quilted, but I am not going to be doing it myself. So I went to Winners and bought one for my bed, it is Tiffany Blue to match the Tiffany Box theme of my room. I have neither the drive or desire to go back and try old stuff that annoys me.

 

So now the task of replacing those list items.

 

I have done so many new things since the start of my tourist journey, so I looked up a 1000 bucket list ideas and discovered I have done a pile of those already, like used a pogo stick, paddled a canoe on the river with class 3 rapids and never capsized, seen wild life in their natural habitat – everything from a Kodiak Bear to a Wallaby with Grizzlies and Red Deer in between. I have pealed logs and built a log home, I have kayaked on the ocean and had an orca popped up beside me to just watch me with their big eye. I have sold crafts made from my own hands, been a clown and received a paycheck for it, I wave walked across a ridge pole of a two-story house and zip lined through the boreal forest at heights that scared the bejezus out of me.

 

Looking back at all the things I have tried, which are too numerous to list, I have to give myself a little credit. I am not the hindered girl I thought I was. I was quite adventurous at most points in my life and as of late, I am regaining that momentum. So what 3 possible things could I add to my list?

 

Well, in the number 12 spot, Write a novel. I have started it, I am enjoying reading it as well as writing it. It is not my intent to try to publish it but who knows? I would like to write a book and so I am doing it.

 

12. Write a novel

 

Now what for #21? I want a meditation room. A room created for me to read, relax, practice yoga or meditate in. I want it to feel like it is from the pages of Dwell magazine, lovely, peaceful and serene.

 

21. Create a meditation room

 

#37. One last thing… I want to love to cook again. I currently hate it. i have a vegetarian and a carnivore to cook for plus the carnivore hates most everything. I always claim I am not a restaurant, but I end up being one. So just for me I want to Master the Art of French Cooking with Julia Child.  There are 545 recipes in it, but there is food in there like, organs – I am not willing to cook. I will look and make sure I have the processes down.

 

37. Master the Art of French Cooking with Julia Child

 
I am 5 years away from the deadline, so I still reserve the right to change an alter the list as I grow up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will no longer justify

Justify.

My son wanted to download a game but needed my credit card to do so, he started the process to justify to me why he wanted it. I stopped him. I said, “you do not need to justify the reason to me. If you have the money, Transfer it into my account and I will happily let you use my card.”

He replied, “Oh!” With that answer came happiness. Justifying your reasons make you feel attacked or unsupported in decisions. I make him justify when safety is an issue, but that’s my job.

As an adult, I don’t think I should have to justify my reasons for participating in events that bring me pleasure, especially if the event is legal, harmless and fun. Yet I find myself being asked CONSTANTLY why I am doing things like my copious amount of Disney trips.

Really? Why do you need to know why I want to go?Just because it is not your preference does not mean I should hate it too. You don’t hear me asking questions like, why do you have a lake lot you need to visit every weekend? Why do you go to Vegas all the time? How many times have you been to Europe? Did you know there are other places to go? Or what on EARTH do you want an RV for? That means you have to camp. Sitting in a campsite for a week is not my idea of a vacation, yet I do not say that to you. Instead I ask, “Did you have an amazing trip?”

I get that question a lot too. Do you know there are other places in the world to visit? Yes, I do know that actually. I have been blessed with parents who knew the gift of travel would be the best thing they could give me.

I have favorite cities (London – 3 times and Paris twice – I’m sure New York will be one when I get there)

I have favorite States (Washington  and Oregon, been to both 4 times)

I have Favorite Countries (Italy once and Canada – yes I am biased but Canada is amazing)

I have visited 15 countries, 23 different U.S States, 6 provinces and territories in Canada, and well over 280 cities and towns or places of interest.

Sure there are still places I can go but that costs major money. When I take my family to Europe for the summer, it is at major hit to my wallet. It takes time to save for trips like that. I need adventure and fun when I go on vacation. I do not want to sit and stare at trees or lay on the beach. I want to relive the happiness I felt as child, feel completely relaxed and laugh hard.

I am not guaranteed this will happen on a holiday to destinations unknown. Getting lost in a country when you do not speak the language is scary. There is a stress level when trying new things. I do push myself to try these things, but I do not want to do that sort of trip yearly.

So I plan Disney holidays. Telling me you went and hated it, tells me you didn’t research or plan anything. People ask me for tips and I am only too happy to share. This will enhance their trip. Who doesn’t want a great trip? The key to any trip being great is planning, know what you are getting into. Then you can be secure in your knowledge to take risks, try the new stuff, or get lost in the dark and find your way out.

I am about to go back to Disneyland. I am going with some girlfriends. I have planned this experience to amaze them because it is a first for both of them. This will make it fun for me. I love seeing things fresh through new eyes. Everytime I go there is something new to explore. Now I challenge you to take a risk. I do it all the time, so you don’t have to tell me I need to – I’ve got it covered thanks.

I have been to some of these places more than once and some I never want to see again. So the next time you hear I am off on a travel destination that isn’t a favorite or yours, keep that in mind – it is NOT YOUR trip, it is mine.

From Daydreamer to Daydoer, The Edmonton Tourist Project

November 11, 2010 047
November 11, 2010 047 (Photo credit: matt44053)

I am nearing my 2 year anniversary of the Edmonton Tourist Project. The purpose of this project was to take risks, climb out of my depression and experience  no regrets. Looking back it boggles my mind what I different person I use to be. I had a resigned nature and attitude about things. I have spent countless hours reading about other people’s journeys. I have become an active member in the blog community, so much so – there are many bloggers who I have never met, yet I count as friends. I have learned there is no destination as long as you are still traveling. Making a conscious effort to be a tourist in my own life has opened up possibilities that I had never seen before.

November 11, 2010 (again with the 11 thing)I was Freshly Pressed. All that means was the choosers here at Word Press saw my post and thought it was funny enough to place on the front cover of the WordPress Blog Site. I received close to 2000 hits that day, 50 subscribers in a single day and hundreds of comments. It was a real Rock Star moment. Looking back, that moment was fairly significant for a couple of reasons.

  1. It convinced me that I can do the impossible – or what I perceived as impossible
  2. It made connections with people I never would have otherwise known, and in return I have learned great lessons and made spectacular friends. Not just blog friends, but actual human beings who I can look in the eye and touch their hands.
  3. It taught me that everything and everyone has a story that should be told. It is from stories that I learn great things from.

I remember November 11th ever well. It was a stat holiday here so I was having a long lay-in that morning. Snuggled up and daydreaming. (I was a great daydreamer – I am a great daydoer now) when at 8:00AM my emails start going crazy. My first one was from Chef – She was from Edmonton too only now lived in Texas. I found it odd that she stumbled onto my blog.  Since then, we have commented back and forth and I even won a contest she hosted! The list of commenters grew. Then another Edmonton commenter found me.

Her name was Audrey. She was blogging from Edmonton and was struggling with the day to day problems of cancer. She was determined not to be angry but to embrace every moment she had left. She spent spare moments in nature photographing the beautiful river valley, she took art classes at the Art Gallery and she spent quality time with friends and family. Her journey was more than a day to day struggle. I learned that you don’t get moments back. She inspired me to take risks with people. Tell them the good things I think about them as they pop into my head. This has not always been welcomed, but I have no regrets about it. It doesn’t always turn out the way I hope, I get rejected in friendship – but they go away knowing I like and care about them. Some people just aren’t ready for someone to think highly of them. Sad – but true. Audrey embraced the Edmonton Tourist Spirit, always thinking of the next risk and how it would effect those around her. Kindness and compassion enveloped her.

Audrey passed over yesterday morning at 9:38 am surrounded by those she loved and who loved her back. We all should be so lucky. This is an excerpt of her final post:

Thank you to everyone for your support and caring.

 

I started the blog as a record of my journey for my family but it has become much larger than that, it became a helping tool for those in a similar journey. I am grateful if I have been helpful in anyway. I leave you with the encouragement for you and your loved ones to visit your family doctor regularly. Know that you are your own advocate, and don’t accept no as an answer.

 

I don’t know where I would be without my family. The love and support they have shown me has made my journey so much easier than I know it could have been. I am not sure I would have lived this long without them. They accepted my bumps and challenges along the way. They responded quickly to my needs and they gave me meaning to the term unconditional love. I wish I had another 40 years to return to them.

 

I love you all, take care of yourselves and each other.

 

See you in the funny papers.

 

Love Audrey

Thank you for the life lessons Audrey. I shall miss you.