Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Were the Mayans Right About 2012?

Okay, I don't think the world is actually going to end this year, but here's what I do think: twelves don't seem to like me very much. 2012 has not been a great year for me, and I think for a lot of other people as well. Maybe it isn't a numbers thing, or a doom-and-gloom kind of thing, but for whatever reason I for one am waaay looking forward to a better year in 2013.

I won't go into why it's been a lousy year for me--people really aren't excited to hear about anyone else's sob story--but suffice it to say this has probably been the second worst year of my life (right up there with the year my mom passed away when I was 14). It hasn't just been my health (which you could read about in a previous post), it's that darn near everything has gone wrong and that circumstances right now are pretty tough. I am grateful (don't get me wrong) for many things (repeat MANY things), but you also have to acknowledge the things that cause you difficulty--or else how honest with yourself and others are you being?

So it's been a difficult year, so what--we all have them. We try to get through them the best we can. I could have done better--tweeted less, been less annoying with my tweets, meditated more, found the time/energy to write more, whatever. But when you're really struggling just do the best you can, until you can do better. Don't linger or wallow in the pits, but don't feel guilty about feeling the pits either.

One thing about bad times is they can teach you a whole lot. It's like an intense, condensed lesson in things like patience, compassion, resiliency, and hope. It's also taught me to embrace my inner curmudgeon. I can, at times, be too much of an optimist, too annoyingly cheerful, laid-back or worst of all--nice. I now feel safe with sharing my grumpiness from time to time with others. Being grumpy isn't being mean or rude or hateful, it's just showing displeasure with the state of things. It's a natural reaction which can be a positive catalyst to change, especially social change. Think about all the people using social media to voice their frustration with what is wrong in the world, in order to make the world better. Besides it's also quite cute and funny in a way--as long as one is not so grumpy as to lose their sense of humour. Being able to laugh at oneself, even while being grumpy (or as I call it "curmudgey"), is still preferable to taking yourself oh so seriously all the time.

So for me and others who have not had the best of times with 2012, we can't wait to kick this year in the ass and say "Welcome 2013." For others though, 2012 may be going great and they may not want it to end. I think the Mayans were right in one thing: life is a series of cycles for everyone, it just depends where you are in that cycle, and when one cycle ends another begins. But wherever you are in the cycle of life be aware that it will change. Learn from the bad times and enjoy the good times, but never lose your compassion for those going through the bad times. Because you'll be there yourself sometime and you'll need a little compassion from others when you are.

I tend to think of cycles in terms of the Medicine Wheel. In many First Nations' teachings the Medicine Wheel represents several ideas (all cyclical), like the four directions (east, south, west, north), the four stages of life (child, youth, adult, elder), the four elements (fire, water, earth, air), the four seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter), etc.

We move along these phases, usually starting in the yellow section symbolizing childhood/east/fire/Spring, through the other phases. Sometimes we go back, like every year when we return to Spring again, or when we start a new job we may be an adult but feel somewhat like a child because there are many things we have to learn. But it is cyclical. A circle. The circle of life....

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Decisions, Decisions or It's Not Easy Being a Grown-Up

It's Fringe Festival lottery time again, and this year I have left it to the very last minute to decide if I want to enter. Truth is I want to enter the lottery (I even know what I want to do), but life gets in the way sometimes of what we want to do. Responsibilities (i.e. bills), fears/worries, confusion--these things make decisions much more complicated than simply choosing to do what we want to. For instance, I could eat marshmallows for breakfast every day (really I could), but would that be a very wise decision?

I've never regretted any decision I've made, but I have paid for a few. Two years ago I made a very painful decision to leave a job. I don't regret my choice but it did cost me (financially and professionally). Did I learn from this experience? Absolutely. Every decision we make can teach us something. Sometimes something quite profound, about ourselves or life in general.

It isn't easy being a grown-up--having no one else make our decisions for us like our parents used to. We get to take the sole credit or blame for every good/bad choice we make. Still, when I want to eat marshmallows for breakfast and do, there's some rebellious kid in me that thinks "Hah. Look what I get to do cause I'm a grown-up!" Of course, my responsible side is all "That was a very poor choice--oatmeal would have been better for you."

So now I am left with this choice, to take a chance, face fear/worry (again), push myself to work harder and lunge into the possibility of another Fringe show. Or take the responsible way and wait until next December when the timing would likely be better and apply then.

As I write this, I still have not made up my mind. And the hours are ticking away. I have less than six hours to decide.

Marshmallows or oatmeal???