Dear Vancouver, It’s about time you stopped talking about the weather

I’ve always been quick to bring up the weather in conversations and despise myself for it. I never quite understood why so many of us do it. All those times we’ve found ourselves stuck on the train with someone we haven’t spoken to in months: “I hope there isn’t going to be this much rain on the weekend!” Blame it on living in Vancouver if you must.

As soon as I bring up the weather topic in a conversation, I feel slightly uncomfortable. As if commenting on the rain will be the death of the conversation. There must be better things to talk about.

Maybe we can think of it this way – we too often worry that anything else we bring up in conversation won’t interest the other person.

Sure it’s not common for us to know too much personal information about our co-workers and acquaintances – but does that make it a bad thing to ask? Since when did asking how their parents are doing become classified as digging too far into uncommon territory?

Not that I’m particularly preaching upon the fact that technology is making people extremely disconnected or whatnot. Certainly communicating through technological mediums did not suddenly make all of us decide that our only common denominator comes in the form of discussing the rain and how many umbrellas have been flipped.

If you’re thinking this is about whether we’re being pessimistic or optimistic judging from whether the conversation is based around the rain or sunshine, you’d be wrong. Just because you sounded excited when mentioning the sunny weather doesn’t dilute the fact that you refused to make some sort of social connection.

You might think that all the talk about the depressing rain is getting you down but maybe it’s just refraining from a social connection that’s hurting  your personal well-being more.

Mind you, it doesn’t always have to be an ongoing meaningful conversation or so to speak. What really matters is that talking about the weather or whatever your go-to topic of conversation is – stops becoming a repetitive fallback when you feel like there is nothing left in common. And hey, if you’re not a meteorologist or just someone that religiously refreshes the weather application on their phone every 5 minutes, I don’t see why the topic of weather should really extent beyond a minute at most.

Stop being lazy and make a bit more of an effort tomorrow morning. Sure most days we wake up and it’s raining. Sure the commute to work is long and treacherous. Sure you feel just a little bit irritated when someone tries to start a conversation with you while your socks are wet. But who is to say it won’t be worth it if you’ve never tried?

So Vancouver, here’s my challenge to you: The next time you feel a sudden urge to throw out a line about the weather, mention something more fun. Like seriously.

— itsfruitcakeweather.

Make Your Own Life

You’ve been over this before. Frankly, your brain is sick of hearing it. There is something you want to do that you just haven’t yet. You want to go back to school, you want to start your own business, you want to learn to cook…

The non-existent book you have yet to write.

Perhaps HALF of a book draft that you just haven’t been able to bring yourself back to touching since work got in the way.

And I could go on with this list, but what’s the point? You’re such a smart cookie you’ve already got where I’m going with all this talk.

We’ve got to take the “you only live once” and direct it in the most positive way possible. It shouldn’t be an excuse for acts of recklessness. What it should help us realize, is that we ought to stop preventing ourselves from doing the things we want to.

Funny thing is, we like to assume we’re being realistic and logical for not pursuing the things we are deeply passionate about. Common logic: No money, no time, not young enough to fail again, don’t want to start over, don’t want to do something you’re not the best at etc. They say we’re afraid of failure, but it seems we also have a fear of great success. To know so much is to have more potential fear.

At some point someone might have told you you’re not capable of the thing you wanted. You didn’t want to believe it. You thought you were capable of not listening and not caring about what they said. Why is it that you went ahead and followed through on someone else’s words instead of your own?

Your single belief should be the only thing that matters.

Some of us are just naturally the ‘glass half empty’-types. We pride ourselves on being able to avoid all disappointment because of the lack of risk in our lives. And as our ancestors might have advised us from the dinosaur era, stay in a place where there is the lowest possibility of your predators ever hurting you.

There is no short-cut out of the pessimistic mindset. For every 10 lovely compliments you receive, you may only find yourself pondering the one time someone doubted you. Not only doubted your dream but also doubted you as a person. It’s important we make an effort to facilitate encouraging interaction between those that we care about and care about us in return.

We will forever notice more reasons to not do something we want than to go for it. At the end of the day, we don’t ACTUALLY need a perfect track record clear of failures in the long-run –so stop being so OCD about it. Take the first step. And if it doesn’t work? Well, now you know what the better step is to take the next time around. To give yourself a chance at succeeding is to gift yourself with a new habit; the habit of accepting better solutions to old problems.

You’re doing it for yourself. To remind yourself that you’re amazing and deserve to follow through with your own words and not others’.

Make your own life.

— itsfruitcakeweather.

Why You Should Travel

Photo Source

Let me start off by saying that I’ve always been the scrimping-to-save-every-last-penny type of person.

That being said, I’m no stranger to being told that I should travel and do the things I want while I’m young and have the chance.

I’m working on a happy medium here.

Day after day, we are bombarded with the idea of quitting our jobs now in order to pursue a life of carefree travels  –why we should travel. For whatever reason, those that are only taking their annual 3-week vacations are deemed to be restricting themselves to unfulfilled lives.

From the very beginning we’ve had misconceptions over what the ideal career would look like. Having the most fulfilling jobs that are best fit for each individual never meant that it wouldn’t come with pain and frustration. The concept of ‘loving every moment’ of our work is simply too abstract for our complex lives.

Feeling hesitant to pack up your bags and jump into an unknown world doesn’t mean you’re fearful of living on a budget or even clinging onto a stable life for fear of change. You see, life isn’t defined by whether you leave your cubicle to travel; it’s a matter of bringing Paris, New York and Rome all to a warm and fuzzy place you call home.

The only time we can truly grasp onto is now. We scrimp every last penny to go on what we’ve labelled once-in-a-lifetime trips. On these days or even weeks if we’re lucky, we neglect all our e-mails and even the internet because we’ve come to understand that perhaps we’ll never visit this geographical spot again.

Now allow me to suggest that you were never able to go on this once-in-a-lifetime vacation. Instead you were home with the people you love the most. Certainly being with these people is once-in-a-lifetime.

Why is it that we don’t jump upon these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to spend time with the ones we supposedly care about the most? Instead, many of us can be found purging on television shows and internet fads as if being home makes time a limitless commodity.

We’ve forgotten that home –like Paris, New York and Rome –is also, once-in-a-lifetime.

— itsfruitcakeweather.

Hoarding Memories

Does it make sense when I say: I really want change for improvement in life but continue to be a nostalgic hoarder of objects that remind me of the past? These days, I tend to consider myself as someone open to change and new things in my life. That wasn’t always the case. I remember leaving my first home of 10 years for a newer, more beautiful home. While I was incredibly excited about my new room, a part of me was devastated. I wanted to keep a grasp of the feeling of familiarity that my first home gave me so much that I vowed (as the naive ten-year-old I was) to one day move back there.

None of those thoughts ever made me realize that it was the people, friends, family –loved ones –that made empty objects seem like they held more significance than they deserved.

Like the little overpriced restaurant at the street corner of my former home, it still holds an unexplained amount of significance. I lived in the area during my earliest, most blurry phase of my life and bought meals from the restaurant on what seemed to me as the rare special occasion and once before the school year began. This would make me illogically obsessed with the idea of going back every September. As if not having done so meant unfinished family business or a sign of something misplaced in my little cycle of life. It become a part of my history, my family’s history too if you will.

When I took walks in the summer I often found myself spending extra hours just to visit the place I once called home. The driveway seemed much narrower than the one that remains in my collection of vague memories and different flowers had been planted in place of my favourite daffodils. But my family wasn’t there. Suddenly the hoarding of such memories and giving them great significance meant nothing. But that didn’t stop me from wanting to visit again or stop feeling an odd connection with the place. Walking by the elementary school near the home was a similar story. The hopscotch lines are now covered by the perfect, impeccable pavement. Even the tree I used to climb had been chopped down and thus, remains no evidence the memories I have hoarded over the past decade ever existed.

This isn’t a sad story though. Being too attached to the memories despite having the people who created them with me turned the spotlight away from more significant things that are currently forming me new memories (likely better).

Despite the old box of picture books being of little use today and my refusal to give them away because of the memories, there is no turning back to the time when I most enjoyed them. When I am reminded of the memories I hoarded for so many years, I see a person that lacked the optimism to face a better future ahead. Time is unforgiving and waits for no one.

— itsfruitcakeweather.

Turning 20

Turning 20, in this day and age, I suppose… can be considered more or less a monumental sign. While the 19th birthday introduced many to an already known world of legally drinking, smoking and two years away from Vegas –20 is a more welcoming number. Maybe even the ‘Quarter-Life Crisis‘ if you will. Despite what might appear to be the beginning of a hectic school year, there are still a good number of things on the list to do.

Among other things, I could be hitting up a club (because apparently this is a popular pastime nowadays) and be suffocated by a mixture of Victoria Secret perfumes and Axe sprays while sweating up a storm next to a friend that is more-or-less well intentioned for “trying to show me a good time”. Maybe I will even receive that same perfume I caught a scent of at the club as a gift and realize that thanks to the big end-of-summer sale, every other person I walk by is wearing it too. None of the above seems to be quite appealing and regardless of what I end up spending my day doing, it is always assumed that there will be people present. After all, isn’t it the presence of other people in your life that make it that much more worthwhile? I suppose to make any birthday appear to be a monumental sign in one’s life, there must be the significant people around to legitimize it.

I learned that happiness is better shared –like passing around a plate of cookies. Despite the stress that fast diminishing cookies present in a group setting versus when alone, sometimes nothing is more overwhelming than pressure to be loud when greeting everyone during the occasion. The younger version of us will recall loud, screaming friends running around at birthday parties. As we age, some of us derive more value from the quiet introspection of our days. Although there is certainly nothing wrong with spending special days and celebrations with the people you love.

There will be no doubt that on my 20th birthday I will consider what the next few years will look like. Right now, I can picture sitting alone in front of a laptop screen while the rest of the world is fast asleep or more times where I will end up embracing the qualities of a hermit and decide to stay at home rather than move out of the house to meet people (Logic: Pajamas > People). I will look outside to the yard and question the idea of sitting outside upon damp furniture after endless days of rain in Vancouver.

Right now, I will personally admit to myself that it was rather illogical of me to have spent so much of my time in the past considering the stages of my life that has yet to happen. It is rather liberating to think without the social structure. As the evening is wearing on and my teenage years coming to an end, I might think about where I’ll be after graduating from a business school at the age of 21. I can only imagine that given the same circumstances, I would be in the exact same place with or without my degree. Besides the couple extra dollars –how would I be making use of that piece of fancy paper in a $100 dollar frame? When I consider the reactions of my peers also living in this ‘jobless generation’, I imagine many of them will consider the pursuit of yet another degree in graduate school to be a time stall (which to be fair, could be the case). Maybe one day I’ll tell them I’d also like to travel the world and wake up to a new country every 6 months where I can play a part in improving their local education system. Nothing is wrong with trying to figure out what a happy future may mean. The hours will still slip away like water in my palms but the skies will be clear like they are tonight.

A midst all the pondering of people that are no longer in my life, the favourite necklace that was lost on a walk and amazing work experiences, I want to think about today. In fact, I will. I will have thoughts about today and my future choices: Family, close friends, my major(s), job applications, getting over my chocolate addiction, cats and even the creaky furniture I have yet to attend to. After that, I might consider this entire process to be unoriginal. It isn’t like no one else has done this before their birthday prior to me. Of the 365 potentially beautiful days of my year, I, like the rest of you, have and will in the next 365 grow as a person and move to various stages of my life. And as much as I like to collect cat things, there is nothing more amazing than adding to your very own collection of what I call pint-sized epiphanies on a daily basis. For some, all the pint-sized epiphanies are fit together like puzzle pieces before they leave the familiar behind or before they go to sleep. For me, this is before my birthday.

Funny to think but this year I won’t be spending my 20th birthday alone. With all this talk about turning 20 and having chosen to designate my time to writing this, I’ve been able to spend it with all of you. I hope your pint-sized epiphanies will come together as mine have tonight.

Happy Tuesday, everyone.

— itsfruitcakeweather.