Monday, February 21, 2011

An Unoriginal Crisis

Why, hello! Another blog post so soon? Who are you, and what have you done with the real lazy author who normally waits ice ages between posts?

There is a simple explanation for why I've taken to blogging again so soon - I am procrastinating. Naturally. I have several assignments due in the next two weeks, I haven't left my house all day and consequently "got dressed" by changing into different PJ pants, and I am tired of trying to simultaneously contain and create passion for a illustrated book into 115 words. And so here we are.

Millie caught in the act of procrastination!
I've been thinking about how much people change, and how constantly we do it. I used to think that some personality traits are inherent and never leave you, no matter how many experiences you have, who you meet, or what tragedy befalls you. But now I'm not so sure.

I used to be really decisive. I would make decisions before I'd heard all the options, and I felt confident and sure of myself. In high school, Kayla and her then-boyfriend would sit around the house, not making any plans, until one of them would whine "Jillllllian, what should we doooooo?" I loved making choices, being in control, choosing for myself and other people what I thought would be best.

It seems, however, that sometime between September 2010 and now I lost my gift. It started with small, everyday tasks - unsure of which McDonald's meal to order, even though I've bought the same thing ever since high school, wavering between which time would be best to go to the gym, what t-shirt looked best with which cardigan. But I feel like it's gone to a whole new level now, where I am actually incapable of deciding anything. On more than one occasion in the past month I have walked into a familiar coffee shop and stared at the menu for an unreasonably long time until the Barrista, noticing the look of pain and confusion in my eyes and my furrowed brow, asks what I'd like to order; with an air of hopelessness and dejection, I reply "You choose." I have an impossible time deciding which bus route to take, which pair of earrings to wear, and what music to listen to on my iPod. It's exhausting, really.

I'm no psychologist, but I'd venture to guess that my inability to make small decisions stems from my current crisis about my future. I have no idea where I will be living in three months, let alone the rest of my life. I don't know if I'll be leaving Vancouver and taking some time away from my MA and moving to Ontario to try something new, moving home to Newfoundland to get a job and a car and resume life as usual, or returning to BC to write my thesis. I don't know what kind of career I want, where I want to live, who I want to marry or even if I want to marry, what kind of car I want to drive, if I want to get a kitten or a puppy or any animal at all, if I want to become a vegetarian because of health reasons or because it's culturally cool, or what type of earring style I should be reinventing my collection into. You know, the really big life decisions.

This is not unusual, and I am by no means unique. Just today my roommate, who is working on her PhD in psychology, told me that she's basically sticking it out because she doesn't want to face the real world. Because making real choices for life is scary. What if you make the wrong one? What if you buy a house in a city that you don't want to live in, and then you're unhappy for the rest of your life? Who wants to make that kind of commitment? You could screw up your life with one bad decision. That's a lot of pressure, man.

So, I've resorted to the only method that's left: letting other people decide what I'll do with my life. What do YOU think I should do? Where should I live? What career path should I choose? What kind of car should I buy (who am I kidding - I'm totally getting a Civic)?

Prayers will also be accepted in lieu of, or in addition to, advice.

I'm going to leave you with something really cool: YouTube has a symphony! People from all over the world are meeting up at the Sydney Opera House to perform together. Here is the link to their YouTube channel, where there are videos from members of the orchestra, and soon they'll be broadcasting their performance for 2011. Enjoy!


Friday, February 18, 2011

Epic Blog Fail

Hi, remember me? I used to write a blog. And then February happened.

All month I have been existing in various sloth-like states, alternating between wandering aimlessly around Vancouver to sitting in bed for three days watching downloaded TV series. I was feeling pretty terrible about my complacency and inability to force myself into something other than sweats until I realized that this is not unusual. Every February since I started my post-secondary education has been spent in varying stages of hum-drumity. In 2008 I lay in bed every night after school watching TLC until I had convinced myself that Evan Farmer, host of the terrible While You Were Out home makeover show, would marry me if only I stopped eating rice cakes in bed. There's something about this month that makes me useless.

However, I may have nipped the February TV Addiction of 2011 in the bud by taking a vacation. I decided to head to Ottawa for reading week to visit some friends and be a tourist in our nation's capital. It was an amazing week! I did all the requisite touristy stuff - Parliament, Museum of Civilization, National Gallery, Canadian War Museum, Winterlude ice sculptures, eating Beavertails on the Rideau Canal. All that stuff was great and interesting. But I also got to spend time with dear friends from the Rock, and that was definitely the highlight of my week. It's just nice to be with people sometimes who know your history and your friends. It feels so comfortable, natural. It fits.

This is a half-hearted entry, of that I am fully aware. But I haven't slept much since last Thursday (Newfies certainly know the value of watching movies at 2am) and I'm trying to catch up on all the school work I've ignored for the past month. I am alive and well, Blogspot, and I will be posting more soon.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Contented Jillz is Content

Happy February! I kind of can’t believe that we’re already into the second month of 2011. I’d forgotten that it was 1st until I went to buy a coffee at the cafe in the Learning Centre and I was greeted by pink sugar cookies, red velvet cupcakes, and heart-shaped shortbread dipped in chocolate in a wicker basket at the counter. I was there yesterday and there had been nothing in any shade of red on the pastry counter, so I knew that this must be the "Single's Awareness Month".

I feel like I haven’t much to write about because the past month has been pretty much drama-free. I had a bit of a panic attack the first week back to school because I had missed a few classes and already felt behind, but that’s been sorted out. I haven’t been doing much, I suppose, if we’re to look at ways that I’m changing the world. Which are none right now.

I’ve pretty much spent the past three weeks reading, watching Fringe, going to class, and taking long strolls around UBC and Vancouver. I’ve finished 10 novels since January 11th - granted, they’re all young adult and most were re-reads, but still! That’s taken up a lot of time. (I should note that these are simultaneously for school work and for pleasure. It’s nice mixing both). I’ve watched almost two seasons of Fringe, but that’s because I seriously can’t stop. I love Walter, the old, crazy scientist. He calls his assistant, Astrid, everything but her name: Asteroid, Asterisk, Ostrich, Aspirin. He cracks me up.

I’ve had a fair share of outings with friends, of course. Coffee, dinner, movies, walks, window shopping, going to the gym. I’ve had friends over for supper and tea, hiked down to Wreck beach and back, and ridden the Skytrain for extended periods of time because it’s fun.

I do miss my community back home sometimes. I get invites to different events on Facebook - lectures, parties, shows, book launches, gatherings - and I wish I was connected here like I am at home. I think that is partly why I had such a rough time last semester; I thought I would move here and have instant connections. But I’ve realized that it took me 23 years to build the networks I had at home, and it took me four years to find my footing at MUN. I can’t expect the intricate network I had at home to replicate itself here in three months.

So now that I’ve accepted that, I’m much more content. I go to lectures, and I’ve signed up for mailing lists for societies. I’m slowly meeting new students and professors and educators. It’s a slow process if you do it right.

Also, and I know I keep talking about the weather, but I really believe that the fact that I’ve seen sun almost every day is totally keeping me in good spirits. I’m not necessarily one who subscribes to the Seasonal Affective Disorder deal - why is everything a disorder now? - but I definitely believe that your body and soul wilt without sun. I can’t remember feeling this good, kind of in general, in any Winter semester. It’s really hard to feel crappy when the sun is beaming down on you and you don’t even need a coat in the middle of January. In Canada.

Only 14 days until Valentine’s Day, my friends. Whatever shall I wear?