Not In The Past

Looking forward from 30

Archive for the category “Personal”

Ten Goals for 2013

As I mentioned in my last post, there are a few things I’m hoping to work on for the coming year.  I have a feeling the list will grow and evolve as the year goes on, but for now here are ten things I want to focus on:

  1. Write every day.  One thing I’m going to do to acheive this goal is to participate in #365poems, where I write a poem every day for a whole year.  They probably will not be great works of art, but the point is to discipline myself into producing every day.
  2. Submit work for publication.  Keep doing it until I get published, which may not happen this year.
  3. Get a new wardrobe.  I really feel like my clothing doesn’t really “fit” me in several different meanings of the word, and I want to get a few more nicer outfits for job interviews or more formal occasions. 
  4. Try a new bar or restaurant every month this year.
  5. Finally get my passport.  I put it by the wayside when I was unemployed and looking to finally get out of Miramichi, but now that I’m here in Halifax, it’s time to finally get it.
  6. Go to New York City.  My sisters are already planning a trip and they want me to come.
  7. Start doing volunteer work with a local organization.
  8. Cook two new dishes per month.
  9. Sell one of my photographs.
  10. Begin to make significant progress on reducing my personal debt.

I have a number of sillier, more trivial goals that aren’t really tied into what I want out of life, but I figure I wouldn’t include any of those as they would be a distraction.

2013

I’ve been terrible about blogging lately, and to be honest, I’ve hit another block of dissatisfaction when it comes to this and the other blogs I keep in my name.  I’m wondering if this is too much of a diversion from keeping an “official” web presence under my real name, but I realize doing that has implications on my professional image.  I like having the potential for wider audience than a friends-only Livejournal post, but don’t feel as free to write about more negative emotional states or sexuality here than I would there.  This space is supposed to keep me writing, but I find the block is coming at me again when I’m here.

I was glad to see 2012 off: there were a few highlights, and an important life change, but I also had another bout of illness (whooping cough in August/September), my parents’ dog died in Novemberand the whole spell of unemployment I went through until I did get work took its toll on me.  It really did not help that I was living at home in an atmosphere that seemed to enable pessimism and reclusiveness, and the combination of it all brought me the biggest crisis in self-confidence I suffered in about 7 years.  I’m glad to be in my own space again, and working at a steady job for now (even if it is a term position that may not last too much longer): I feel a bit more in control of my life and my destiny, and that helps.

But what of the new year? Where do I want to be at years’ end?  Grand pronouncements that a year is going to be better than the last tend to blow up in the face of the person that make them, as do promises of lofty goals.  I tried doing 30 before 30 last year.  Didn’t exactly get everything done, but it was worth a try.  I thought I would try to get another list of goals posted sometime by the end of the week, which I’m still trying to winnow down.

I think it’s time to think about what I really want out of life again, though.  I’m so used to practicality and trying to be satisfied with the low-hanging fruit, and I really need a little more inspiration this time around.  If you have a suggestion for something to get out of this year, I would really love to hear it.

Massacre

I was at work when I first heard about the massacre at Sandy Hook on Friday; I had seen stories pop up on my Facebook friend feed, but by the time everyone else at work was talking about it, the horror and revulsion had really set in.  Barack Obama’s emotional reaction to the senselessness of it all made it all the more real for me.

At this point, I have absolutely no tolerance for the pro-gun lobby in the United States.  I don’t know if it’s just because I can see it from a distance (being Canadian), but the way guns are woven into the history and culture of the nation  is absolutely absurd.  One of the first things I thought when processing the whole event was that there have been too many gun-powered massacres in such a short while, and that violence and guns are just so woven into the American history and culture.

It’s an understatement to say that America has a love affair with guns.  It’s become an outright detrimental fetish, as if to talk reasonable gun control was analogous to castration.  I’ve seen how some people talk about their right to own guns, as if anyone who doesn’t agree is an unholy, anti-American eunuch.  I’ve read fiction about armed citizens getting revenge on the criminal element that read with such eroticism infused in the act of pulling the trigger and ending a life that the author deemed to have forfeited its value.  It’s positively sickening.

Lack of access to proper mental health care is also an important factor in the tragedy that needs to be addressed, but I feel so strongly that this time the gun issue has to be dealt with now.  The pro-gun rights side cannot possibly say anything to really defend not increasing restrictions and regulations on gun ownership.  It’s not going to completely eliminate the problem, but there is no way that the blood of innocent children and other people can ever justify this particular freedom.  To continue to argue to do so just seems so fucking immoral.

Jane Devin has a piece on the whole issue that’s well worth reading.  One quote stood out:

I also know people who are hunters and responsible gun owners, although to my knowledge none of them own a semi-automatic assault rifle or have a stockpile of ammunition.

One citizen should not have enough firepower to kill that many people.

Experience

I’m at a point where I’ve settled into a fairly comfortable routine, but now that I’m here, I’m starting to wonder what direction I need to go in.  The temporary nature of a term position reminds me that I need to figure out what direction to go in fairly soon, but at the same time I’m just grateful for the slight difference in work experience that the low pay doesn’t really faze me.  If anything, it reminds me how much I wasted on shit when I was living in Riverview.  I’m aware, though, that people younger than me are deeper into their professional lives than I am.  I don’t really see myself ever becoming a doctor or lawyer, though.  I’m aware I’m now in my 30s and and only getting older, but I don’t feel like certain parts of me have caught up to my physical age.

I haven’t found myself on too many explorations or excursions lately, but I did go to Retro At The CoHo last month and am considering going again.  One of my friends suggested trying a bar I haven’t been to before; there are way too many to choose from in Halifax.  I’m also looking to try new restaurants in the city (when the budget allows).

I’ve been blocked a fair bit mentally lately; maybe this is the result of the routine.  Mental blocks are familiar to any writers, but I wonder if the way I need to get around them is to force myself out of the routine and do a little more exploration.  It’s one thing when the mental block prevents me from writing stories and blog posts, but it’s another thing when I can’t bring myself to leave a comment, make a Facebook post or tweet.  It’s the most frustrating feeling…maybe it’s just that I’m holding things back.

I should be using this time to finally let me be my true self.

Daylight adjustment

I’ve been keeping busy for the last few weeks; I went to Nocturne (I knew one of the presenting artists) and attended a week-long job search workshop at Job Junction.  I also ended up getting work; I’m not going to say where and what it is on this public space, but it’s a little different than what I had been doing for the last few years.  Money will probably be a little tight for me for a while, but I’m glad to get something so soon after I moved here.   It’s still a bit of an adjustment waking up so early, though: to catch the bus, I have to make sure I’m down at the corner by 7:20 (also want to make sure I don’t get held up in traffic): it’s quite an change from my days of staying up and sleeping in, which I admit I still do on the weekend.

I live in the outer edges of Fairview (depending on who you ask: Google Maps puts me in Clayton Park West and the HRM Neighborhood Map puts me in Mount Royal).  It’s not that close to downtown but at the same time it doesn’t feel cut off from it; that was the big problem I had when I lived in Riverview.  The bus system isn’t perfect but it’s by and far better than anything else in the region.  I think I’ll post pictures of the apartment once I have it all cleaned up a little bit more.  I still haven’t unpacked/sorted all my stuff, owing partially to exhaustion and owing partially to procrastination.  Still, a good chunk of it is in its proper place.  I’m fastidious like that.

There’s a lot to do here: different food to keep my palate from getting bored, cultural events and artistic exhibits, a decent music scene and a greater openness.  One thing that really helps is that I know some people in the area, either from school or online.  I know I need to be putting myself out there a bit more and meeting new people, but I’ve met up with a couple of friends already.   Now that I know I have money coming in, I’m more willing to meet people up for coffee or a beer.  The important thing is to network, though, and meet new people: not something that comes easy to me.  I don’t meet people sitting in my apartment, though…I need to summon my boldness.

I’m convinced that moving to Halifax was the best decision I made in a while.

Return to blogging

Sorry for the month-long break in blogging, but I’ve actually gone ahead and made a huge change in my life: I’ve finally moved to Halifax, NS.

I’m mostly settled in: I still need to find a day job (fast) but I’ve been doing what I can to get something here, even just for the short term.  I’m also looking into different areas where I could volunteer and trying to think of other ways I could network and meet people here.  Despite the number of friends I have in the area I haven’t really been too social this last week.  Better fix that soon.

Any other bloggers in the area, feel free to get in contact with me.

Frames of mind

I’m still under the weather; I had a doctor’s appointment on Tuesday where I was prescribed more antibiotics and sent to the hospital to be tested for whooping cough: nasal swabs are not fun.  I got a few calls back about potential employment, with a phone interview scheduled for the coming week so I would be less likely to fall into another coughing/vomiting fit (there, I’ve made you all sick).

I sometimes get a little panicky about my perfect storm of illness, unemployment and my EI benefits due to end sometime very soon, and wonder if I’d have to spend another year at my parents’ house, in a pseudo-city that offers little in terms of employment, and is about to become even more isolated thanks to cuts in public transportation.  I sometimes feel like I’m always waiting for the “start” of my life.  What’s worse is that I feel mentally blocked a lot more these days, finding myself in the same feedback loops and experiencing this repetitious story that I don’t feel any power to get out of.  Whether that’s actually true or not is irrelevant; it’s all a matter of frame of mind.  This frame of mind makes me only put minimal effort into cultivating and nurturing relationships with friends and acquaintances; blogging, Facebook posts and tweets directed at nobody are my half-assed efforts to say hi.

I think I’ve got way too much clutter in my life.  Too many piles of unnecessary stuff to sort through, compartmentalize, and decide what to get rid of.  I don’t know; I just feel weighed down by material possessions, old clothes, and bad habits.

Wardrobe

I really think I should be cultivating a new look for myself.   I find myself dissatisfied with the clothes in my closet.  What kind of image am I trying to present for myself?  I often feel like I’m hanging onto a version of myself from 10 years ago with all these T-shirts.  My “work clothes” from Riverview didn’t even feel like a step up.  My fashion sense is not great, but I got the feeling I looked like I was trying too hard to mute myself with those clothes.  I also don’t really have a lot that would be suitable for a night on the town.

What kind of clothes should I go for that would actually flatter me?

Hack, wheeze

I haven’t been blogging or even commenting on other blogs for the last few weeks; ever since I got back from Sappyfest I’ve been fighting something.  I’m not entirely sure whether it’s a virus or something bacterial, but I’ve been going into coughing fits.  It’s no longer as bad as it was, but every so often I start coughing, and need to get to a garbage can or Kleenex box ASAP so whatever comes out has some place to go.  I’m back to applying for jobs, but lost time and momentum due to the worst days of my condition.  I don’t know what’s worse: unemployment or being sick.

Brief jaunts

I took a day trip with my sisters on Saturday.  They had to pick up a friend of ours from the ferry terminal in Saint John, and they also had tickets to a production of Spring Awakening in Moncton that night.  I had been waffling whether to go or not but decided I might as well get out of town for the day.  Even though connection is just a message away and exit is possible, I can’t help but feel more isolated than ever when I’m in Miramichi.  Part of it is all the time I spend in my room at my computer, applying for jobs. Thanks to my impeccably bad sleeping pattern, I didn’t really get much sleep the night before, so I tried to sleep while they drove down to Saint John.  Once we picked up our friend, we decided to hit Rockwood Park for a quick dip before lunch.

I don’t mind visiting Saint John, but I’m not sure if I could ever live there; it feels more like a city than Moncton does (Saint John has that worn, established, urban vibe, where Moncton feels newer and more suburbs than city), but for some reason it just doesn’t feel like anywhere I’d settle down.  I can’t really explain it: I like the character of the city enough, I like Rockwood Park, it’s certainly not small…maybe it’s just that I don’t really have too many personal connections there.   I think part of my fondness for Halifax comes from childhood memories from when my family lived in Pictou.  Anyway, I’m rambling.

The girls and I headed to Moncton after a late lunch at East Side Mario’s (New York themed Italian restaurant chain in Canada).  It started to rain pretty heavily on the part of the highway between Sussex and Moncton, but let up by the time we had to do some walking around downtown Moncton.  The production of Spring Awakening was well done; it was the same group that had put on Rent about three years ago (Ghostlight Productions).  They’ve really grown as a theatre company and it’s always good to see cultural events organized nearby.  We had a late dinner at the Keg (worth every penny; I don’t usually go there because of the price but I hadn’t been for about two and a half years…) but decided to call off club-hopping due to a combination of exhaustion and an under-the-weather passenger.  We ended up getting back to Miramichi at about 3 am.

I’m heading to Sappyfest on Friday; I’ll be taking the train down there, staying in one of the Mount Allison University dorm rooms, and just hanging out in town enjoying the music.  Hopefully I’ll be less inclined to avoid the crowds as I was two years ago (read here, here and here for my “creative license” take on that weekend).  We should have a beer at Ducky’s.

I have a phone interview coming up on Tuesday; fingers crossed on this one.

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