Tag Archives: shallow

I Need a Plan

I’ve never been much of a planner. I’m guessing I don’t have to tell you that. After all, you’ve been reading about the life of a shallow person for many, many years now and, as such, I’m pretty sure you have some idea of how this little brain of mine works. What you may find a tad ironic is that I spent a good deal of my working life as a career planning counselor helping others figure out what they wanted to do when they grew up. But I suppose it’s not that unusual. You can liken it to the carpenter who never has time to build her own deck. Or fix the hole in the wall. Or finish the doghouse she promised to her pooch when she picked him up from his foster home. You get my drift. There are things you can do well for others that you never do for yourself. And for me, planning my life was one of those things.

It’s not that I don’t plan anything. Oh contraire! There are a plethora of things that I plan for. Like vacations. Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m really good at planning vacations. There’s never anything spontaneous when I hit the road. By the time I’m done with that planning  I’ll know exactly where I’ll rest my head each and every night. Not only that. I’ll be able to tell you my estimated time of arrival, give or take a minute or two depending on traffic and road conditions along the way. I’ll have gotten the best possible price on the best possible hotel in the vicinity and likely know where I’ll be satiating my hunger that evening. The last thing I want is to end up sleeping in my car on the side of the Trans Canada highway somewhere between Princeton and Vancouver, in the pouring rain, because there are no vacancies due to an obscure peach (or other kind of fruit) festival being held, of all the silly times, on a long week-end in August. I mean who wants that to happen…again. So I plan my vacations.

To tell you the truth, I’m not too shabby on the financial front either. Not that it has made me rich beyond my wildest dreams. But I’m doing all right. Sure I’ve made some mistakes but nothing that has proved to be catastrophic. As it is, I have a lovely roof over my head, food on the table, jeans in my closet and enough left over at the end of the month to take one of those well planned road trips. All of which I am truly grateful for.  And while there may have been some luck involved, for the most part, it was planning that made it happen. Which probably leaves you wondering, why all the fuss and bother about not being a planner? Because on the surface it would appear that everything is hunky-dory. The important stuff has been worked out and as to the rest, well maybe I should just let the chips fall where they may. Of course, you’d be right. Except for one thing. You see, in the very next little while I will be retiring from my current job. And if I have to be honest with you (as I always am) that’s something I really haven’t planned for.

Don’t get me wrong. Like most, I’m looking forward to this new stage of my life. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed working. The truth is, I’ve always loved my jobs and the people I’ve had the privilege to work with. At least most of them. Which could be the reason I face this next adventure (as some would have me call it) with more than a little trepidation. You see, I’ve been racking my brain as to what I am going to do with all of the excess time I will find myself in the midst of. Yes, I know. Friends of mine who are retired tell me they are busier now than they ever were when they were working. Over and over I hear them exclaim “I don’t know how I ever had time for my job!” I can tell you how. They paid you to be there, so you were there.

The truth is, I have had no shortage of suggestions made to me. There’s volunteer work to be done (isn’t that just a job you don’t get paid for?), lunches to be had, books to be read, places to go, dishes to be washed. I get it. There’s lots to do when you retire. The question is, exactly what is it that I will do? I suppose I could say I will spend more time meeting my friends at  the local Starbucks but that just doesn’t seem to cut it. Not that I don’t want to see my friends, or spend my excess cash drinking fancy coffees. The thing about going for coffee is that it only works when you are taking a break from “something”, not from “nothing”. Some people have suggested that my new found freedom will provide me with much more time to spend writing this blog. I’m guessing they are mostly people who don’t read it.

So there you have it. Even for a shallow gal, the prospect of an uncertain future seems somewhat daunting. Sure. Over the next little while I figure something will come up that I can latch on to. I’ll take a class or two and see what happens. Do some sightseeing around this Island of ours. Reconnect with friends I haven’t seen for a while. But in the meantime, if anyone happens to know the name of a good career planning counselor, this would be a great time to pass that on to me.

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Back Again!

I know. It’s been a while. Not that anyone has been calling to ask what’s goin’ on with the blog. Nonetheless, I’m guessing that by now you’re thinking my transition from a shallow person to a non-shallow person (that would be the opposite, would it not?) has been complete and I can no longer sustain a blog that would claim differently. Can’t say that it’s so. There’s a funny thing about time and distance. You see a month or so ago, when I was 2,120 km (that’s 1317 miles for those who resist the conversion) from home, I was in the thick of it. I kept my eye on things. I knew each and every move that was being made by what seemed (and still does seem) to be someone who might not have been an appropriate choice to run one of the most powerful countries in the world. I suppose I could now conclude that at the time I was residing in our neighbor to the south, it was pretty hard to escape the “goings on” and yet, it was more than that. I was drawn in. Sucked perhaps into the midst of the political debate, discussion and controversy that surrounded me.

But time and distance have made all the difference. Don’t get me wrong. I remain painfully aware of who’s in charge and continue to have moments of pure trepidation as to what news I might awake to on any given morning. And I realize that no man is an island. Although I do actually live on one. But it’s not as intense. Not so immediate. Not so welded into my existence, day in and day out. Besides. There’s no one at the local Starbucks that’s even talking about “45” these days. Trust me. I’m a pretty good listener.

So here I am. Back again and ready to admit that I realize all of what’s been said above doesn’t account for my rather extended absence. And here’s where a shallow person’s colours really shine. You see, shallow people are unabashedly unapologetic about coming up with excuses for pretty much anything that needs explaining. There’s no uphill climb here for me so let’s just get this show on the road. 

Excuse #1: First there’s the “settling back in” stuff that comes with having vacated your homestead for nigh on two months and a bit. The trips to Costco, the local grocers, the butcher, the baker, the bank (bet that’s not what you thought I was going to say) back to Costco. And perhaps with a little less gusto, the now unavoidable dentist appointment that can no longer be sidestepped with a “Sorry but I’m going to be out of town for an extended period of time” excuse. It all has to get done and it all takes time.

Excuse #2: Next there’s catching up to do. Lots of people that haven’t been seen for several months need to be called, arrangements made to get together for a chit chat, and time set aside for that get together. Since I’m normally not the most social person in the universe, the meet and greets tend to take a fair bit of energy on my part, leaving little left in the evenings for my musings. Not that I’m complaining. I mean it’s nice to make some time for friends particularly when it becomes a stellar excuse for my rather flagrant procrastination. Which might not be so problematic if it wasn’t for NetFlix.

Excuse #3: Yes, Netflix. The current scourge of my existence. I can’t even begin to count the number of quite awful movies that are consuming my time of late. In retrospect it may have been a less than good decision to purchase a subscription to this dastardly service given my propensity for watching B list movies. Honestly, why would I think that spending hours watching them on the TV stations was not enough?. Did I think my life could be improved by having access “on demand” to a seemingly infinite number of bad movies? Don’t get me wrong. There are actually some very good offerings on NetFlix (who wouldn’t want to spend an evening with Grace and Frankie?) and there’s something to be said about having the freedom to call up “Eat, Pray, Love” whenever one has the inkling to do so.  But again, all of this takes time and in my case, time away from the blog.

Excuse #4: My laptop broke. Sure I have other computers that I can use for the blog. After all, the blog is on the internet so theoretically I can access it from any electronic device. I have lots of those. But I’m accustomed to writing the blog on my laptop. It’s comfortable. I can move around with it. If I need to leave one room for another I can take it with me. It lets me multitask. I can also watch TV with the laptop on my lap. It’s not that hard. Really bad movies don’t demand all that much attention.

Excuse #5: It’s not that I can’t come up with more excuses but for now I will leave you with this one. I just haven’t had anything to write about. As you may know, I spend a fair bit of time observing the human condition (some might call it drinking coffee) and that usually triggers an idea, a thought, something that inspires me to put pen to paper, so to speak. Lately of course those triggers have been fewer and farther between but nonetheless, they have been there. But now there’s nothing. Nada. None of this half empty/half full glass for me. It’s just plain empty. I don’t know. Can’t really explain it.

Funny story. I’m still sitting here with nothing to write about and yet, what do you know. I’ve written a whole blog post. It’s a post about nothing really. That sounds vaguely familiar.  Makes me think this just might have some potential.

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The Unmaking of a Shallow Person – Part 2

Cute kittens

Very cute kittens

Over the past couple of weeks I have come to realize that this “unmaking” of mine is more of a process than a transformation. Perhaps it will take a little longer than I anticipated. Perhaps more effort. It seems to me that I am now in what some might call “limbo”. Others purgatory. Whatever the moniker I am now betwixt and between. Sitting on that proverbial fence. Too far over to turn back but not far enough to seriously consider doing so. I seem to be treading water, but not quite in the deep end.

It’s like this. I’m still glued to the “fake” news channels, to witness first hand “45” blame just about everyone for the apparent mess “his” country is in while at the same time taking credit for anything positive that has happened since Eve took a bite of that apple. And I stay tuned to listen to the reasoned analysis of those who can’t seem to wake up from the nightmare they only wish they were having. At the same time, if truth be told, I am anxiously looking forward to the return of The Voice and I simply can’t wait to find out if the Survivor “game changers” are still willing to change the game. So you get what I’m saying. Seems like this whole thing has left me in a mess. And I’ve gotta tell you, it’s making me feel a tad out of sorts (as my Mother would say) and flailing a little with how to reconcile these very divergent perspectives. So forgive me if my posts appear to go this way and that because these days it’s hard to know which way to turn..

Here’s how I see it. There are a lot of creepy things going on in this neck of the woods. So many people are hating so many other people. Clearly there has been a resurgence of anti-semitism, not only in this country but pretty much everywhere. There are those who would like to blame the Muslims for, well everything, and if it’s not the Muslims it’s the Mexicans and if it’s not the Mexicans it’s immigrants from pretty much anywhere. The top guns think that telling the culprits to “stop it” will do the trick while they continue to embrace the very people (and some of them are those people) who have overtly espoused these sentiments in their rather sordid pasts. Meanwhile long time undocumented immigrants who are contributing members of society, who work hard and pay their taxes, are being rounded up and sent away, separated from their families by a wall, or maybe a fence. Whatever it is, it’s simply not right.

And it doesn’t stop there. Marginalized people of all sorts are being left to fend for themselves as those in the government decide to sit back and see what happens. School children who are already struggling with their identity will now, in many States, not be able to use the bathroom in which they feel most comfortable. Coal miners who could possibly get back to work, may find themselves without the health care they will surely need when they suffer the inevitable consequence of the work that they now might get. Maybe. Because the people in control seem to know how to “repeal” but not how to “replace”. Given this hands-off approach, I suppose it’s not surprising that the country has been relieved of regulations designed to protect investors, the climate, and endangered species. And yet, in the midst of all of this deregulation these men (and yes they are) have the audacity to regulate a woman’s right to choose. All of this is going on while we are being told that the “real” enemy of the people is the free press, or to be more accurate, the ones who don’t say nice things about 45. 

Yet, in the midst of this debacle there is a bright light. There has been a resurgence of interest in the political process and an understanding of the power of protest. And that makes sense. Many of our young people know that there is no place in their world for intolerance and hatred based on race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or any other defining human characteristic. They refuse to stand silent about what is happening now. But it’s not just the young. There are many of us who remember what it was like to march against the war in Vietnam, who railed and fought (literally) against the racial inequalities so prevalent during the 1960s. We lived through the feminist movement and lauded those who stood at the forefront, the ones whose tremendous strides paved a path for the rest of us. And sadly, there are still many whose parents and grandparents endured the horrors of the concentration camps, not only overseas but in our own countries, and to whom “never again” has the most profound meaning. These people know that the time has come for them to stand together and let their voices be heard once again. They bring with them not just the hope that what is happening is an anomaly but the understanding that a just and sustainable future depends on what they do now.  So you can see how all of this has made me reconsider my dedication to being shallow and, as result, to repurpose this blog and pontificate a little on what I think about the current events.

I’m guessing at this point you’re saying, perhaps not out loud but at least to yourself “what’s she talking about? Seems to me her transformation is pretty complete!”  And right about then you notice the pic of the very cute kittens at the top of the screen and wonder what they have to do with this post. Let me explain. I have it on the highest authority (thanks again Wader) that cute kittens are a surefire way to make a blog go viral. I figure anything is worth a shot at this point so what the heck?.  And hey! You can’t say I didn’t tell you this was a process.

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The Unmaking of a Shallow Person

take-the-high-roadHonestly, I never thought it would come to this. If there was anything I was ever committed to, it was my commitment to being shallow. Flashback five years ago. Way back then I prided myself on having spent one whole week writing this blog. One. Whole. Week. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would still be here five years later. Five. Years. Later. (I’ve never truly understood why people do that but what the heck.) I know. You’re going to remind me that paying my 24 buckaroonies every year around this time was at least half the reason I stuck around. Perhaps. But I truly believe it was more than that. I had a mission. I wanted to share with people what it was like to live life as a shallow person. I wanted them to know that it was ok. That one could live a rewarding and meaningful shallow life. I went so far as to let people know that it was possible to be shallow and sad, shallow and irritated and even shallow and a little scared. It was this dedication, this steadfast belief, that kept me going, posting each and every week, and then each and every other week and finally each and every month. What I didn’t anticipate those five years ago, was that it is not possible to be shallow and angry. And that’s what I am now. Angry.

Some of you are going to say “I told you so”. You’re going to confront me with some alternate facts. Facts that you think are definitive proof that I was never really all that shallow in the first place. You’ll label me a “so called” shallow person. You’ll tell me that the very act of writing this blog, of being as introspective as I have been about my shallowness, is testament to your point. That my deep thoughts about being shallow are the very antithesis of what I have professed to be over all of these many years. To you I say balderdash! Because whether you think I’m shallow or not is entirely beside the point. If I think I’m shallow then I am shallow. Sure, you might have evidence to the contrary. So what? I have better evidence that I am, or at least that I have been, shallow for the better part of my life. And I know this to be true. I mean would a person who is not shallow admit to having watched almost every reality TV show (and let me tell you that’s a very big number)  that has ever been foisted on the viewing public? Including “The Apprentice”. Before Arnold. Face it. I saw Omarosa get fired not once, but twice and even though I may have missed that lucky third time, I do believe that I have made my case. And now I expect you to think so too. And anyone who tells you different, well they’re just wrong. Probably getting some fake news from some fake person from somewhere fake.

Sorry folks. That last paragraph was just too easy. Perhaps even a little self-indulgent. It’s just this. From where I sit (literally) it is very clear that these are troubling times. The fellow that’s now calling the shots (or should I say fellas) seems to be more than a little problematic. He’s caused me and a whole whack of other people reason for concern. On very many levels. From this vantage point I would have to say we are in a kind of  time machine heading at warp speed towards the 1930s, to a place on this planet that many of us are not going to enjoy very much.  This is a guy who doesn’t trust the mainstream media, doesn’t trust the “negative” polls (which at this point would be most of them), doesn’t trust a majority of the people who live on this earth of ours, certainly doesn’t trust his political opponents, and really doesn’t trust those who have been entrusted to uphold the laws of this land of the free and home of the brave. On the flip side he does seem to trust the guy who thinks he has disguised the white supremacist movement by renaming it the “alt-right” (does he think we don’t read?) as well as the current leader of Russia who I understand might not be as trustworthy as our fella seems to believe. And here’s the thing. It’s really, really hard to be shallow when the guy at the helm who trusts almost no one can’t be trusted to do, well pretty much anything we might actually want to have done.

Perhaps not surprisingly, all of this has made me angry. And, I have to be honest with you, a little less shallow. I have abandoned “Survivor” for CNN. “The Voice” for MSNBC. I feel as though if I ran into Anderson Cooper on the street we would be on a first name basis. Rachel Maddow might as well just move in. In the past 3 weeks I’ve learned more about the U.S. Constitution than I ever expected to know and I think, if given the chance, I could probably take a reasonable stab at arguing the “merits of the case” with regard to the recent stay on the Muslim ban. (Did I say “ban”?). Quite frankly, this whole thing has pretty much turned my life upside down.

All of this, as you can plainly see, has led me to the crossroad on which I now stand. How do I continue to write about being shallow in a world that deserves some very serious attention? How do I ignore the alternate facts, the discrimination and loathing that I now see every day? And that’s when it occurred to me. This is my blog and I can write what I want to. If I want to write about being shallow, I can. But if, as has happened today, I’m feeling a little less shallow and I want to write about that, I can. I’ve written about non-shallow things before and it hasn’t worked out all that bad. As a matter of fact, people seem to like my non-shallow posts. I know that’s true because I see the numbers. And let me tell you, they’re fantastic.  Huge. Really huge. But you’ll just have to trust me on that.

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Shallow and a “Little” Scared

prairie-roads-1220316Well enough time has passed and I think I can talk about it. You know by now that, come January, we gravitate to more moderate climes. In past years we have done so using the most efficient if not, admittedly, the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation and it takes about 5 hours, give or take an additional hour or two in some airport lounge along the way. Flying may not be my favourite activity but barring extended and extensive periods of turbulence (in which case all bets are off), deep in my heart I’m pretty sure that when I board that airliner I’m going to debark safely at my intended destination. But that was not the case this year. This year one of us said to the other “so how about we drive down south?” to which the “other” foolishly responded “good idea”. Because while this “other” doesn’t mind hitting the road, especially since we are doing so in the cutest little buggy ever, she (that’s me) really only likes to drive the blacktop when the sun is shining and the roads are clear and dry. And believe me, that was not the case on any of the seemingly many days we spent making our way down to where the turf meets the surf. Which, and this is not an “alternative fact”,  made me just a little scared mostly because I happen to like being on this side of that pearly gate.

Now people are going to tell me there are lots of things to be scared of that are much worse than driving in the rain, ice and snow in a tiny little car. Like spiders. Lots of people seem to be afraid of spiders. I’m not sure why. To me spiders are just little creatures, with lots of legs, who make quite lovely and intricate homes for themselves. Ok, I suppose they do use those homes to catch unsuspecting other bugs who unwittingly venture into their webs and, I imagine, quite unceremoniously become delectable morsels to be enjoyed for a late night repast. But unless you’re my friend Wade who has chosen to live among some of the more treacherous members of the species, you’re probably not going to suffer any harm from an encounter with that Daddy Long Legs who decided to take up residence in your basement. Certainly (and this is from my perspective) it’s not worth stomping out his rather precarious life when we know full well that doing so will no doubt result in the proverbial downpour I’ve mentioned above. At least you won’t find me making that trade-off any time soon.

Then there are clowns. I’ve mentioned this in the past but that’s no reason not to include them here. Some people are afraid of clowns. So much so that there’s even a name for it. Coulrophobia. You can look it up. This fear I kind of get. Let’s face it. There have been some pretty scary clown like figures around in our time. Like the Joker. Not the nicest guy and unless you are a superhero of some sort, probably not one you want to bump into when taking the garbage out at night. And more recently, those people who for some unknown reason decided it would be a hoot to dress up as creepy clowns and scare the bejeezus out of little children.  But let’s put those aside for a moment. Most of us encounter clowns under happier circumstances. Like at a birthday party, or the circus, or even at the rodeo, which, if you ask me, has much scarier things going on than clowns. These are happy clowns. They do tricks, hand out balloon animals and generally do their best to make people laugh. Given the choice, I’d rather watch a clown slip on a banana peel than find myself sliding my way through a sea of black ice.

Ok, I know. There are plenty of people in this part of the country who will tell you there are way scarier things than spiders or clowns or even driving in the rain. The fellow who has taken hold of the reigns in this neck of the woods seems to have sparked a whole new level of fear amongst the people. In many cases they are scared because they don’t really know what he will do. Then there are those who are scared because they do know what he will do. Certainly women are scared they will lose control their bodies. Immigrants are scared they will have to leave the country they love and call home. The LGBTQQIP2SAA (I do my best ot be inclusive) are scared of losing the rights they fought so hard to obtain. Some people will tell you they are scared that they will no longer get the facts but rather something called the “alternative facts”. Others think the “real” facts will be scary enough. Everyone is scared about how the world will react to the policies that are designed to keep America great again. You don’t have to hit me over the head. Millions of people right across this world of ours are marching in the streets to let us know just how scared they are. I can honestly say that, even though I’m a shallow person, it has become quite clear to me that at this moment in time there is no shortage of things to be scared about. 

With that said, I’m starting to think that maybe driving in the rain and snow isn’t so scary.  I’m also starting to think that perhaps I should be more than just a “little” scared.

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