Every time I come back to my life journal after a long hiatus I feel bad about how long it's been since I wrote in it. I know I probably sound like a broken record (if anyone's actually reading this anymore) because in the world of blogging, two posts from two years can be next to each other.
Today a friend posted on Facebook asking how all her friends controlled and kept their memories safe. I was immediately struck by a pang of guilt. for over a decade blogging was the way that I did that and up until recently there are a lot of reasons why my life journal was starting to die out.
I think the first and maybe the saddest reason is that when I moved to Edmonton a lot of my friendships were put in crisis. I had never really had long-distance friendships until after I got married. These days I struggle less than I used to, but I do still find long-distance relationships to be a challenge that I haven't fully overcome. when I look back at all of my old post here, I realize that so many of them were about time spent with friends. these days I can definitely claim that we have friends in Edmonton, but I'd say it's only the last two years but Paul and I have started to feel like we have relationships here.
The thing with a long distance relationship is that you can't go to karaoke together. You don't end up at the coffee shop sharing a chai latte and tales of what happened to you last week. And when there's a concert in town you just don't go because there's no one to go with, and everybody knows things are better with friends. With so much time away from my friends and in a city that is very large and certainly qualifies to be the kind of place it can be difficult to make connections, I made a habit over almost half a decade of all my evening plans are there involving work, one of my hobbies that didn't require any other people: like watching TV or reading books, or cooking, or of course spending time with my husband. I got out of the habit of blogging because I wasn't going out and doing anything with other people there's only so much to be said about a book or movie so I said those things on Facebook for the most part, or chatting with friends online which is something I have been doing since I was first on the net.
But I'm being honest with myself though, Paul and I did a lot of really interesting stuff over the seven years that we've been together. Early on in our relationship I recorded almost everything that happened, because it was so exciting. But I look back on my life 10 years ago when I was 20, and shake my head at all of the things that have changed. On one hand, there's a part of me that is disappointed with the lot I've had in life, On the other I'm incredibly grateful because if I tried to start listing the blessings, I'd have a document that I couldn't even scroll through in a day, Like those scrolls that they have on comedy TV shows for contracts with the devil that fall open and roll through a whole room…
Today as we near the middle of 2016, There are really only two moments in time that I have recorded, and since in many ways this blog is my memory, I am sorry for that. And so I'm going to do my best to go back in time and talk about some of the things that have happened.
This weekend Paul and I took a live online course in Warren Buffet style investing. Paul has always wanted to invest, and has even invested in some higher risk ventures in the past. I once took an investing course because a company paid me to do it and then never called in on there I have to admit that while I think I will be good at it, initially it really bent my brain out of shape because there's a whole new world of lingo and acronyms to learn. On the other hand I'm very excited about the potential to make good investment decisions and have excellent returns that will help us to have a good retirement, and if we do a really good job, an early retirement. I think the best thing I can say about a course like this and why I think it's true and good and useful is that it's essentially asking me to get rich slow and with as little risk as possible. That's practically the opposite of what most courses are offering nowadays.
As they say in my entrepreneurial classes, all everyone wants to do is get rich, look and feel younger, and have more sex. You wouldn't think that investing is very sexy, But having a lot of money certainly seems to be!
We actually started studying investing a couple of months ago with the online course that's a prerequisite, and as I got more and more excited leading up to the live course, I started asking Paul to play Stock Ticker (which is wildly innacurate and speculative), and we ended up watching The Big Short, which was a great movie.
For the last few months we have started hosting guests through AirBnB, Which is been a really unique experience. Since I have always had a little longing to own a bed and breakfast and always enjoy staying at them, it was great. On the other hand, the reason we actually set up our room for bed and breakfast use was because of the fires in Fort McMurray. It's not every day that thousands of refugees from one of the next cities over land in your lap. As Paul said when I asked him if he wanted to host one of the temporary homeless for free using the AirBnB platform, “How often will we ever get a chance to be this generous with our home?” We actually did end up hosting one young man for just a few days before he returned home to his thankfully intact house. So that’s the story of how a natural disaster got us into AirBnB hosting. For real. We actually have a couple and their toddler staying with us right now, which is why I was reminded.
A couple of weeks ago while everything had been becoming kind of awful in the world to parallel my own frustration and sadness with different parts of my life, I decided that things had been depressing long enough and got together with a couple of friends I know in Edmonton and went out for karaoke to the place that's right next to my one friend's house.
Today I headed down to Calgary on the bus, thankfully I didn’t have any special appointments today because I ended up missing my morning bus because I had planned* the trip last minute. *And by planned I mean didn’t really plan anything, and didn’t properly think through the need to be at the depot significantly before the bus departure time, and then failed to look up the current address of the bus depot and ended up 15 minutes away with 10 minutes to bus departure. Whoops. At least on the financial scale of mistakes it was a $20 mistake. And I had really intended on spending today relaxing because the financial stuff I did on the weekend was really, really taxing on my mental faculties. I would say that I am not significantly functional… Thankfully the time in the station gave me a bit of photo editing time. The unfortunate part though was that I had only brought snacks, the machine with the sandwiches in it wasn’t accepting coins, just bills, and I had no bills, just coins (which I had brought specifically for this purpose, so that was a downer.)
The guy behind me on the bus was a member of the Hell’s Angels. His hand was all bandaged up and he was heading across country to the West coast. I realized I knew very little about motorcycle gangs and looked them up on Wikipedia. He was too busy to notice, because I highly doubt he would have appreciated my internet sleuthing. He was nice to the ladies on the bus nearby, and I was struck by the difference between bus and car travel. There’s a fellowship between bus travellers that rarely happens on a plane - a brotherhood of sorts.
Which got me thinking about why people need families and friendships and networks. They need support and company and that sense of belonging somewhere that gives people assurance they aren’t alone.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, because I was part of the birth of a new internet community devoted to helping people find those kinds of connections, and having become active in that community, I’m doing my best to evaluate my own need to connect with others and ensure that need is met.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be human lately. About all our flaws and failures, and all the times we shoot an almost perfect game. About how we are drawn to violence and separation, and long for peace and connection. About how one of the most pervasive fallacies that most modern people believe is that their hearts and minds can be trusted to lead them into all good things.
There’s nothing like a long term struggle with a debilitating mental illness to help one realize that even for a person with typical psychology, the mind lies, and so does the heart.
It tells us that it’s better to be in a violent gang than to be alone, or it tells them that self-reliance will be enough.
I am working on disabusing myself of the notion of being an island.
This is where I stopped writing that day.