Monday, November 30, 2009

When Once Upon a Time doesn`t necessarily end in Happily Ever After...

What do you do when things don't turn out quite how you expected them to? And by 'quite' I mean not even close, not even at all. What do you do when your blessing doesn't leave you feeling very blessed? Do you learn to love things the way they are, or refuse to settle for nothing less than what you really want?

I think I've come to that kind of a crossroad, even despite the short experience I've had with my recent endeavors. Week 1 left me exhausted (after 60 hours of work), week 2 left me drained (after tacking on a second job to my schedule), week 3 gave me much more time to breath (but somehow my sporadic outbursts into tears became much more frequent), week 4, not even yet begun and my motivation is absent, my strength to start the week nonexistent, and my desire for it to be Sunday again is feverish. Maybe my lack of satisfaction stems not from a flaw in the actual jobs, but a flaw in my strength of conscious, physical strength, or something else. Maybe I tend to put things up on too high of a pedestal for them to ever live up. Maybe I am bad at judging my own character--maybe I don't know exactly what I want. Or maybe I could be right. Right in the sense that when something isn't for you, it just isn't for you and you don't need to force yourself to love it.

Let`s break it down. The internship--a dream come true for an inexperienced aspiring event planner. The reality--a not-so-welcoming cramped office working for people who don`t really seem to enthusiastic about their jobs, or the state that it leaves their bank account in. (Leaves me less than thrilled for a position in that company) The restaurant--chic spot downtown, frequent local sports celeb diners, easy and great money and a great learning experience for a growing server. The reality--doing a lot of ego-fueling (def not my thing), sore feet, lack of personal time, feeling alone despite being in a busy restaurant, and no nights to myself. The later starts give me ample gym time, but the amount of hours leave me with not much time for anything else. Recent messages from old coworkers make me miss a past that I was once miserable to call my present.

Now here is the question that I pose to you: (feedback would be greatly appreciated, via facebook is fine): What should I do now that my dream come true is actually a dream fallen through? When the item on the shelf isn`t quite as shiny as whats on display in the window? Do I settle for something less or pass it up to look for something more?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Test, test, 1,2 3

There's definitely been alot to say about my life lately. I'm going through a transition period that has left me feeling, fortunately or unfortunately, like everyday holds another lesson to learn from, and another challenge to overcome.

As I write my blog on the memo pad of my phone traveling from the Bay St station to Union, I realize I'm very much living my life in transit right now. It is where I conduct most of my business-eat meals, catch up on reading, sleeping, update myself on the lives of my friends, make my plans (really, what plans?), take my unpaid breaks...It`s tiring, but it's not bad. After four years of the commute I am clearly used to it. At least now I'm traveling to places I want to go.

I can't say the transition hasn't been difficult. I'm in the middle of a learning curve where nothing feels familiar and everything requires an effort. Two new completely different jobs, two completely different lists of things I have to master. I know I have been pining for this change for quite some time...but I was not made aware of the toll it would take on me physically, emotionally and mentally. Criticisms, small and big, have made me overly emotional---cut to me, hiding away in the washroom for a quick cry in the middle of a rush, or for a lenghty sob in a late night cab ride home as I listen to my drivers long distance call to Pakistan instead of the radio, while eating dry cereal (are you surprised), half of which misses my mouth and finds a new home all over my jacket, scarf and nylons.

If there's one thing I have learned from these past particularly trying days is that attitude can go a further distance than I have ever imagined. How do you handle the curve balls that come your way? When your not as good at something as you hope to be? When you make a mistake you know you could have avoided? When, instead of getting a shoulder to cry, your ignored with a cold shoulder? What's your breaking point.

I met someone new this past week. Or should I say I had a visit from the figure of the past. The playground bully. Yes, for those who may not know, or those who may not wish to believe, he does exist outside the brick walls of our elementary past. He has infiltrated the boundaries of the real world and, no, he has no mercy. He is no one in particular. He is not only one. He is everywhere--lurking behind wine bottles and server trays, office desks and water coolers. Just waiting to prey on any unsuspecting vulnerable victim--someone I have very much made myself out to be lately...someone you should never allow yourself to become.
This week, the playground bully put me to test. His challenges left me feeling weak and defeated on nights after long days of waking up too early, traveling from here to there, typing in the wrong client number, ringing in the wrong drinks and missing a newly sat table. This week, after coming face to face with the playground bully of my version of the real world, I was faced with two choices. Do I let it weaken me? Do I take the criticisms that I know are not true and rework them into the once confident definition I had of myself not too long ago? Or do I stand up to my bully, deflate his ego by proving him wrong and chuckle to myself as I watch him pretend to not see it, not admit it, as most bullies often do? I think we can safely say we've all met our match. If you haven't yet, count yourself lucky, but remember this for the time when you do: the bully is only as alive as you allow him to be. Don't let him test your opinion of yourself. It has been formed by someone who knows you best,  after a lifetime of jumping over hurdles without knocking down the bar, or knocking down the bar and picking yourself up again to finish the race. He is another hurdle. His criticisms are not what defines you, but what defines him. He creates them from anything, anywhere, at any opportunity, to feed his soul and corrupt yours.

A conversation had at work yesterday got me thinking. Why do our minds only cling to the memories of criticisms from others? So quickly casting aside the compliments, filing them to a part of our mind it takes too much effort for us to retrieve them from on a rainy day? Why do we let the playground bully stay alive in our thoughts, threatening our self esteem, and forget about our desk partners who complimented our hairbands and brought us chocolates at all the appropriate holidays?

Yes, I have learned that well in a short period time. Life in the real world isn't all I dreamt it would be. There are days when I skip to the subway, and others when I watch the time go backwards on the clock. There are nights when I`m close to giving up, followed by mornings of post-workout rejuvanation, followed by days of success. There are days when you are hurt by people who you thought were there to help, and surprised to be helped by those who you thought wanted to see you hurt.There are times when it breaks your heart to learn that a smile and a sweet demeanor won`t get you what you want, when nice guys will not finish first, when not everyone you meet will like you or think you`re smart.  But it`s time to face it. I am here now, world. I am here at least in my new world. I either have to face the challenge, or risk the loss. The true test is letting your mind chose which one is more worth it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tip toeing through the minefield

Why is it that when things are going good in our lives we automatically retort to saying that "it's too good to be true"? Lately, I've found that line running through my head more often than I am comfortable with. When times are rough, its always a grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side scenario. Isn't the whole point of that phrase to get us to appreciate what we have, no matter if it doesn't exactly meet up with our expectations? But when we finally get everything we ask for, instead of being grateful, we simply begin to anticipate our own failure. After landing a sweet job at a hot restaurant right in the heart of the city, an amazing internship with a prominent company doing exactly what I want to be doing in my future, celebrating an anniversary of a relationship that makes me happier daily, being in a good place with friends and family, I can't deny that I am not walking on eggshells. When will this all come crumbling down? How can I be so lucky? Is this all just building up to an even harder downfall? To put the stakes even higher, on Tuesday, day 2 of the internship, I was offered a part-time position (yes, paid) by the director of events and the same moment that he shook my hand after meeting me. I'm trying to stay positive, think like The Secret taught me and attract only good things to myself. But I must admit, it is a challenge when you lived a life with many many downs and not always so many ups. If life is a game, my winning streak is only making it more likely for an impending loss. But I refuse to be a statistic--this time I want to beat the odds. I will appreciate what I am being given without fear. I'm sitting at the highest table, with a full house...I'm raising the stakes, I'm going all in....will I take it all or will I flop?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Excuse me, Mr. Webster, can you please redefine lavish?

Is there something wrong with simply loving the simple life? I don't wish for extravagance. I don't enjoy dressing up (or barely dressing) on Saturday nights just to go somewhere that you can't hear yourself think, to waste calories on drinks you don't want to drink, just to waste your money on memories you won't remember. Not saying I judge those who take pleasure in this at all, I was once the downtown Toronto nightclub scene mascot. I have just learned to like early nights and even earlier mornings followed by productive days that lead into relaxingly rewarding nights. I prefer Sunday afternoons to Saturday evenings. I enjoy tasty dinners accompanied by exotically flavoured martinis and full-bodied wines at a dining hot-spot on the town. Even more I love home cooked dinners in, maybe not as a tasty, with a bottle of randomly chosen LCBO wine, sometimes not as prized. I find pleasure in comfort--in coming home from a long days work to curl up with a good movie, your favorite show. I find it in tacky decorating for the holidays and cooking festive treats, in books about women who walk stylishly and purposefully to their Manhattan offices, or books about history and legend. I daydream about a house with a backyard and a dog and a barbecue. My favorite channels feature shows that reinvent the living room and cook you dinner. I like to turn off my phone ringer sometimes, so I can live alone in silence, even if I do this as I sit in a noisy cafeteria at lunch time. I question whether my interests are strange. Or why they don't include the normal activities of someone my age. Did I miss out in Europe when my days were filled with sun and sand and my nights simply with gelatos, wine and my dreams? Should I put my name on guest lists to force entry to these standard weekend venues? Should I shop for clothes that I can only possibly wear out to ensure social activity? Or should I continue my life down under the radar, guilt free, where I am admittedly most content, yet where I risk most judgement for being an awkward social hermit?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Take Me Away

We all have those days when we want nothing else but to disappear...for a day, for a week, for a a place real or imagined... to explore, to learn a new culture, to get away from our troubles or to revisit the magical lands we were introduced to as a child. When I get into one of these moods, and a vacation is not on the horizon, I have only one indulgence that will satisfy my craving (besides cereal). To me, there is nothing like a well-crafted animated film that can take me away to serenity in a restless mind. It doesn't take much to make me happy...a Disney classic of fairytale lands, princesses and dragons, a Tim Burton ingenious creation of pumpkin men in Santa Claus suits or travels to the land of the living dead, and most recently, a trip through Henry Selick's trap door to meet the people with the button eyes and their sinister abducter. What can be more exciting than wrapping yourself up in a blanket and being taken on a journey to an unknown far-away land? To meet creatures of the underworld, ghosts of christmas past, misguided Halloween icons, madhatters and rabbits who can tell time? To watch candles come to life and sing and dance, to dance with a friendly beast, to see your imagination come to life on the screen in the form of the North Pole, of hobbit holes and giant peach houses? The two or so hours is all it takes to refresh your thoughts and invigorate your mind. The credits roll and I am ready to work even harder to make my dreams come to life.

I patiently wait for 1 oclock to roll around, when I will indulge once more in the much anticipated (by me) Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey. I'm sure it will be just as whimsical as I expect it to be with just the perfect amount of Christmas to inspire my holiday crafts. Expect my feedback to be posted shortly.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Confessions of a procrastinator

I always follow the same routine when I get into a new hobby, past time or interest. I usually attack it feverishly on the onset--buy any product that has to do with it, spend all my time thinking about it, working on it, etc etc. Then, slowly but surely (quite obviously as no intensity that strong ever lasts), the interest wanes and the hobby is usually either placed permanently on the self of the past or sticks around in the back of my mind, re-surfacing on rainy days when my mind is empty. That would be my explanation for the lack of recent entries on my part. My days, however, have been anything but empty. I won't bore you with the details, just a quick update on what came to be of all the exciting new events I had on the horizon. Ki Restaurant: I officially finished my training shifts last night. All I have to say is: Thank God I wasn't in school during this process. On the upside, I now feel fully educated in Japanese cuisine technique and terminology (pshhtt and I thought I'd stop at Spanish...) But I must admit that I am extremely happy here. Although the learning process has been challenging, I have felt both supported and warmly welcomed throughout it all. The clientele is awesome from what I see-similar to a Moxie's weekday lunch crowd. The hustle and bustle of the Bay street diners makes me yearn to be a top notch stock brocker or lawyer (just so I could wear fancy woman's power suits and demand all the attention and special treatment I could get!) I start on the floor next Wednesday I believe...until then I will anxiously wait to put my new skills to test and finally start making some dinero. Equally, if not more, exciting is the new internship I started this past Tuesday. Yes yes! I am officially an intern girl. And for one of the big boys in event and catering--Eatertainment. My tasks for now will be contract data entry and just generally learning what happens before an event comes to life. From there, I will move into more hands on stuff at actual events. Despite the fact that my boss Meelee warned me the office work was anything but exciting, I was loving my tasks on Tuesday. I guess I just had the geeky newbie thrills. Extra perk? Free food and drinks at the Bloor Street Diner express cafe...I guess my obligatory coffee runs won't be so bad now that there's something in it for me too;)...With my internship being in the Manulife centre in the beautiful Yorkville district on Tuesdays and working at Ki at Bay and Wellington every other day, I am now happy to call downtown my new home...(and will it officially be so in the near future? That seems to be the new household proposal for now)

I am feeling, finally, extremely fulfilled. My new schedule leaves me little time to dwell on my future and I am now working towards my career goal. I am so lucky to have landed two excellent positions in two thriving companies in the two fields I love the most. Only time will tell if I can make something permanent and successful from either of these opportunities.

But first, this calls for a celebration...and what is truly better than 3 nights up north relaxing with wine and food and my great boyfriend?

Till I return..maybe...or maybe in a month, or so?