Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Heart Day

Yeah, its that time of year again. Commercialised? Sure. Ridiculous? Of course. Made-for-suckers? Absolutely.

Me? I love it. I don't decorate with hearts or bake heart shaped biscuits for my husband. I also do not hand out mini valentine cards with mini chocolates to my co-workers. I do not give my husband the printed list from the Tiffany's & Mulberry Registry (though I do sort of wish I could).

I do love the idea of love. I do love that an entire day is dedicated to love and loving. Life is busy. And its tough! Its a small blessing to have a day designed to remind you to treat your beloved kindly.

This year, my husband woke up to a gift bag with Garfield comics, TinTin, travel Scrabble and a heartfelt note written inside an adorable card by Papyrus. It cheered him up, gave him a tangible reminder of my love for him (and his interests) and gave us another activity to enjoy in bed - the scrabble tiles clip into the board. Happy days!

This evening, we gave my mom (a super gift I'm sure) double-walled glass Bodum coffee cups and a thank you card. It might be valentines day, but my mom is my beloved as well. And considering she's graciously opened her home to us (and allowed our Yorkie to take charge - mostly), she is very deserving of a loving reminder. It made her day and that made us glad.

I have thus far enjoyed it - despite my tedious work day. Beyond expressing my appreciation and affection towards my beloved, I have a further reason to really love this day.

I find a gentle humour in the way this day so openly displays my humanity. A day marked on the calendar, roared from rooftops, besotted by couples hoping for engagement, hated by singles (and bank managers), loved by retailers and chocolatiers. A day specifically set aside to remind people to show one another that they care. A stark contrast to the quiet, everpresent thrumming in my heart: God's gentle reminder to me that He loves and cares.
For me.
Every day of the year.
Without pomp and ceremony.

Now that is something to celebrate.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Twenty Eight is not a beautiful number

Disclaimer: For all my friends who are older than me, for my older and wiser family, I love you, dearly. This blog is in no way a reflection of my views of you, only the expectation on myself.

Twenty Eight.
Twenty Eight Years.

Heaven help me. Please, God help me get my act together I clearly am not being successful on my steam, with my own plan.

On the day of my 25th birthday, I woke up in my aunt's guest bed in Cambridge, England, feeling responsible and adult. I woke up knowing that the time for excuses and mistakes was firmly behind me. That I had reached an age where the world would no longer cut me slack due to inexperience or naivity. It was time to grow up. This revelation came to me in a flash, not a slow understanding resulting from introspection and planning. It was a shock. I think its one of the main reasons I stayed in England, and had a whirlwind of living these past 3 years.

During the week of my 27th birthday, I cried. A lot. There was pressure in having our lives on hold while we redecorated the house in order to sell, moved through the process of immigration and feeling like we could not move forward in life in England while waiting to start our lives over in Canada. I felt that at the age of 27, I should've started a career, started a family, or furthered my education. I felt that I had spend an entire year waiting rather than doing. 27 was not a good birthday. A few weeks after my birthday, I committed to having a better year. We sold the house, immigrated to Canada and planned to buy a house and start careers in the following year.

28. We are still settling down. My career path did not work out. My husband's is on hold. We are living with my mother. My mother. May God bless her for taking in her controlling, bossy daughter, her son-in-law and their Yorkie. And for not kicking us out when our plans went awry.

The week before my birthday I cried. But only once. This birthday has not been as harrowing. Thank heaven. My husband woke me up at 7am with a giant cupcake and lit candles glowing in the dark of our bedroom. By far, the best birthday morning ever. I spend this year with my family, eating gourmet burgers, and bowling. It was low key, it was easy, but being around my family softened the blow of getting older. Getting old. 28. is. old. 28 is too old to not have started a career, or  started a family or gone back to studying or working on decorating our first home, our new home. It is too old to be stalemated.

I am thankful to be around my family. I am thankful that I reached 28 in once piece. I am thankful that I have plans for the next year. But I am wary that nothing stops while I plan and prepare and wait and hold out and stand in indecision.

I really hope I get something accomplished this year or 29 will be bad. Very bad. (this is not an invitation to tell me about The Secret). I will pray for direction, decision, opportunity and patience. And if not patience, grace.  And a good wrinkle cream.


I write this blog with an eye on the clock. Considering everything that I must do and that I want to do, settling on writing this - as it happens to fit under both categories, thus allowing me to cross an item off both lists. Efficient no?

We seem to be firmly placed in a rut. Caught up the daily routine. The list (my husband hates my lists) is never ending. We follow the routine in order to feel like we can carry on with life. Yet, when we diverge from the routine of sleep, cleaning,  laundry, budgeting, work, running, groceries, cooking, (the list goes on) we feel harried and tired.

Our options seem thus: be productive, feel in control, stick to the list and be tired but with peace of mind or consider the list loosely, do what must, allow for spontaneity and be tired but also anxious. Yes, there is anxiety when we have not done what we set out to do.

This weekend, I booked 3 days off work to celebrate my birthday. (The awfulness of turning 28 is another blog waiting to be written). My idea of celebration involved sleeping in an extra 2hrs, running unhurriedly, and having time to write blogs and emails while still working through the daily routine. We diverged from the plan on day 1 and I can now feel the low burn of anxiety because of unwashed floors, sleeping in too late, skipping a planned a run, watching too much tv and drinking caffeine with abandon.

I know what you all will be thinking. That I am caught up with being in control, neat and tidy. Its not true, entirely. I keep thinking that if I can just manage to get on top of the list, I can relax in peace. I can have fun with a clear conscience. I cannot fully relax in a messy house. I cannot spend the day wantonly reading or watching films when the budget hasn't been tackled, the laundry hasn't been washed and the groceries for the evening meal not purchased. I cannot fully relax until after the list has been completed. It just seems that the list is never quite done.

I digress. We find ourselves caught. Functioning as required, with the "living" bit being left until we have time. Living requires money. Living requires time. Spare time. The formula seems simple to me. In order to have money and time, one must live responsibly, in preparation for the future. Well, the majority of us anyhow. Neither my husband nor I work in finance, we do not have connections to put us in preferential positions. We are the low flyers. Fighting and clawing and sweating to keep our heads above water and hopefully be recognised for upward movement in the future. Thus, we live responsibly, doing what must in the hope that in the future we can balance what must with what is desired.

Weekends away, dinner out, date night, shows/plays involve money or time and presently, they are in equal short supply. Hence, the rut. Ah, the solution surely is "balance". Life must have balance, relationships require balance, et al. In order to have balance, something from the present state will have to be sacrificed. And therein lies the problem. My husband and I have looked into the face of this before, and have decided to deal with it when we have more time. It is inked on the long-term to-do list.
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