Happy Labour Day Weekend, everyone!
I’ve been working on the new blog design for My Created Life and I think it’s coming along nicely, but it’s taking some time. Part of me would really like to do a hooked rug header, but I’m not sure if THAT’s going to happen. Still … so very, very tempted. When you have as many interests as I do, and so much variation between them (space shuttles and primitive rughooking, anyone?), it’s kind of hard to find a design that incorporates so many different things.
The site also needs some rearranging, too. I’m planning to have a drop-down menu with all of my passions listed as a single page each. That should help make navigating a little easier. And I also need to more clearly define my goals, too. My Day Zero list contains so many things that just don’t apply anymore, and it’s a direct result of how things have shifted for me in the last seven months. That’s one unexpected gift my office has given me — a sense of clarity, a refining of who I am and what I want.
My short fiction class is really starting to take on a life of its own. I’ve just heard from LearnToSaintJohn.com, and they’re featuring me on their webpage. I am getting so psyched about this course that I can hardly keep still. I can’t wait to see what the class demographics are like — it feels a little bit like wondering what’s under the Christmas tree.
I went to a tweet-up on Friday evening, which wasn’t so great for the down-sizing project, but fabulous for my mental health! I got to spend time with a lot of really great people (some of whom I’d only previously encountered on Twitter), and I feel so energized from that. A lot of creative talent was gathered around that table, and that’s what I love most about creativity — how it gathers and grows and takes on a life of its own. If I had to summarize my dreams for my fiction class, it’s that it will do the same.
I’m not one to get too much into politics. When an election comes around, I look at all of the individual candidates, all of their plans and promises, and then I make my decision. I vote, and then I stay up to watch the election results (which is probably my favourite part of the whole process).
And I don’t like politicians as a rule. I don’t trust them, and I don’t believe them. But for the last few years, I have made an exception to these rules for a man named Jack Layton.
Let’s be honest — perhaps the first time I really noticed Jack Layton was in Rick Mercer’s “Dudes on the Hill” video, at which I laughed hysterically. (His checking Rick Mercer in a game of street hockey was priceless.)
But that’s how Jack always struck me — not as a politician but as a genuinely nice guy who enjoyed a good laugh, even at his own expense. He believed in Canada, and in Canadians, and his passion and charisma led him to become the first NDP Leader of the Opposition in Canadian history.
This is how I want to remember Jack Layton: vibrant and healthy and full of love of life, skating on the Rideau Canal with Parliament Hill in the background. Not the shadow of himself who took a leave of absence not quite a month ago, announcing that he was battling cancer for the second time.
Although I didn’t always agree with his politics (and despite the fact that I muttered at him a great deal for the NDP’s filibuster during the recent postal strike because I desperately needed my mail), I always felt Jack Layton’s heart was in the right place. And when I learned that he had passed away this morning at the age of 61, I was immediately sad. It was when I read the last few lines of his final letter to Canadians that the tears began to fall.
“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair.
So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.” — Jack Layton (1950-2011)
Thank you, Jack, for your dedication and service to the people of this country we’ve shared — and for making me believe in “good politicians” again.
- January 5-9, 2011: I had Norovirus.
- January 11-17, 2011: I had the flu.
- January 5-21, 2011: I didn’t blog because I didn’t have the energy want to whine to the world at large.
I’d like you meet my coworker here. Every night, since I started this job on December 1, he and I have sat together quietly. He doesn’t say very much, of course, but it’s nice to have the company in the wee hours of the morning. I will miss him when he moves along in a week or so.
I’m still loving my job as much as I did three weeks ago. and I love the quiet. Best of all, it has allowed me to finally learn to live in the present moment. Somewhere this past summer, I read that depression results from dwelling on the past, and that anxiety is always about the future. If we can just learn to live in the here and now, we’ll instantly be better for it.
It’s the idea of “mindfulness” — being in the present moment and living it, instead of it getting past us because we’re squinting to see forward or have our heads turned looking over our shoulder. It’s possible to live one’s entire life without actually living it.
I didn’t know how to break out of this problem, but here I am, suddenly free. I applied for this job, thinking it was my idea, when once again it seems that I have simply found myself where I was supposed to be in the first place.
Sitting here in the dimness, I am acutely aware of the subtle sounds around me — the two clocks ticking against each other in two separate rooms, the sound of my client’s breathing, and the minuscule changes in it that signal she may be gradually waking up. Her radio is on in her bedroom, and every hour the Canadian Press shares what it feels is news. It’s so ironic; because I work the overnight shift, I often have no clue what day it is, but I feel so much more in touch with each and every second contained within it.
The other lesson I’ve learned in the few short weeks I’ve been here is that I’m gradually shaking off my life-long tendency to procrastinate. Part of this is a direct result of being more “in the moment,” but part of it is pure practicality. Because Hubby and I have completely different schedules now (except on the weekends, when we’re both home), I actually have to plan ahead and make sure I get things done. Simple, everyday things, like laundry. Taking my shower and getting ready for work in time for Hubby to go to bed. The nuts and bolts of daily life.
But there is a bigger picture as well. As much as I would love to have this job for the next fifteen years — because she’s such a sweetheart and I’m so happy here — the sad reality is that I will never know when my last shift will be. My dear client is ninety years old. And so I need to get my ducks in a row as soon as possible — use this period of employment to figure out my life: what I need, what I want, and how I plan to get there. I have a black notebook on which I’ve glued a label that says G.M.S.T. (which stands for Getting My Sh*t Together), and I’m using it to plan, and think, and decide what I want to do.
Priority One right now is to put away six months’ worth of bill payments, while I have a job. Ultimately, I think I still want to do what I set out to do when I started this web site years ago — I want to use my creative talents to create the life I want to live. If I could be a self-supporting creative type person, who also teaches one or two courses, that would be great. And if Santa could bring me courage for Christmas, that would be great too, but for now I’ll work with what I’ve got.
It has been a long six months of not having a job. Even though I was — desperately — applying for any and all job opportunities, I was really afraid I would find a soul-sucking position in a call centre or in the middle of the madness of the holiday “shopping maul.” There are fabulous people with great skills who thrive in those environments, but sadly I am not one of them. I need to be a human being relating to other human beings on a personal level. It’s just who I am.
So you can imagine how thrilled I was on Monday afternoon to stumble across an ad reading “Honest caregiver wanted.” I dropped an email with a few questions, and had an interview the next afternoon. By Wednesday night, I was working!
My client is a 90-year-old lady who is an absolute sweetheart. She has a great sense of humour and is sharp as a tack. I work the overnight shift, from 11:30 PM to 7:30 AM, and that has been a bit of an adjustment, but it’s absolutely the perfect shift for me. Hubby is home asleep, so he doesn’t need me, and if I have business-hour errands to run or hockey games to attend, then everything is over with by the time I have to go to work.
I have only worked two nights so far, but I am really enjoying it. She’s truly a wonderful lady — very loved — and it’s a tremendous feeling to know that you’re being trusted with such a precious treasure. The last six months have really taken a toll on my well of self-worth, but it’s being filled up again at an exuberant rate. I am happy, and I am happy to be appreciated for who I am, rather than trying to shave off parts of my Self in order to fit into a square hole. This family is so warm and welcoming. In some ways, I feel as if I’ve come home.