The Game of Life

Since turning 19, have you ever thrown your arms in the air and hoped for a do-over? Hoped to get a second attempt at this whole adulting…thing? If not, tell me your secret, because I certainly find myself struggling every now and then.

When I was younger, my parents, uncles and aunts, teachers and other adults would often tell me, “Don’t be in such a rush to grow up!” And I always thought, that’s just because you’re trying to keep me from all the fun you folks get to have on the other side of the legal drinking age. You can stay out as late as you want, you can drink whenever you want, you don’t have to answer to your parents, you don’t have to ask for pocket money, and you have to shove your ass to school every single day. I mean what are you complaining about! That sounds absolutely dreamy!!

Ahhhh that naivety…

Kids, if you’re reading this, let me tell you: Adulting isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be.

As a teenager, or even a pre-teen, I couldn’t wait to grow up and have some of those “real,” “grown up” problems like mortgage payments and a humdrum 9-5. I mean, come on, childhood was lame. You had no freedom, no independence, no income. I hated being a dependant. But, knowing what I know now, kids please SLOW THE FUCK DOWN! Don’t sprint your way to adulthood. Enjoy your childhood, enjoy the perks of being a dependant.

Honestly, sometimes it feels like I woke up one day and suddenly I was a grown-ass human with very real problems, when just yesterday, I was worrying about midterms and that crush of mine who looked at me for one micro-sec. That unpredicted, un-practiced eye contact, it’s repercussions and a 2000-word English paper were once my biggest problems. Not. Anymore.

Now, for the adults reading this post, can I ask you something? And would you answer truthfully?

What happened to the dreams you once had as a child? A time when nothing was impossible, nothing was unattainable. No matter what anyone said, you knew in your heart that you could do or be anything you wanted. What I’d give to get back that innocent, no-strings-attached confidence in myself and in the world.

I realize this post is a bit of a downer, but any adult worth their drinking years will know that there’s some truth to what I’m saying. With each passing year, your count of unmemorable days increases and soon it’s all about milestones and nothing more. Your wedding, your first kid, your second kid, your promotion (maybe), an uncle’s death, and other major good or bad life events. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays blur into one special moment until you finally resurrect from the dead for the weekend. Even then, you’re often too tired from the stresses of the week to go WILD or YOLO. Let’s be honest, if you’re up past midnight on any given day, it’s not from a partying too hard. You’re either dealing with insomnia, stress headaches, or you drank coffee too late that day. And hey, let’s not forget what happens when you do muster up the courage to do downtown, and god forbid, have a few drinks. When the next morning is nothing short of hell, and you’re wondering if you should donate your worldly possessions and live out your days with some monks in the Himalayas because it’s all just too much.

You know, when I was younger, I used to think I would have my entire life sorted out by the time I was thirty years old. After all, thirty was soooooo far away; being thirty was like being ancient. I had a plan in my head and it all made sense chronologically. I’ll tell you right now: that plan was shit. So far, I don’t think I’ve checked off one thing on that list, and I’m closer to thirty than twenty-five. A LOT closer. I beat myself over it every now and then, for not living up to my younger self’s expectations. I give myself a hard time for not working hard enough or smart enough, for not saving enough money, for not investing enough money, for watching too much Netflix, for basically doing everything that kept me from achieving my goals. I do this and feel super crappy, at least until my fresh, cheap and reliable bottle of Hardy’s kicks in.

I probably sound like one depressed bag of disappointments to you. So put down your phone before you start dialing 9-1-1, I’m not depressed. I’m not a sad person. Far from it actually. But when did it become socially uncomfortable to talk about things you’re unhappy with, or reminisce about your younger, more hopeful days. It is, or should be, okay to vent about the mundaneness of adult life. Not everyone is living the dream. I know that’s a fact because I’m sure most of you don’t dream about sitting in traffic on your commute to and from work. Come on now, not everyone can be a travel blogger, running out of pages in their passport (yeah, I paraphrased Drake. So wut.)

Shouldn’t it be okay to want more from life without knowing how to get that? And shouldn’t it be okay to talk about it? It’s okay to want to “follow your passion, so you never have to work a day in your life.” And I think it’s bloody well okay to complain about the fact that you don’t fucking have a passion. (Does Netflix binging count?) I mean how do these people do it? How do they find out what they love and then have the courage and cleverness to do after it, AND make money doing it!

I don’t know the answers but I can damn well ask the questions.

Don’t quote me on this but maybe, I think, probably, at least part of the answer lies in the romanticized idea of “letting go”. Did you read that in Morgan Freeman’s voice with an echo maybe? If not, go back and read it again. Letting go… letting go… letting go… Letting go of my younger self’s naive expectations from life. I think I need to stop judging myself through Young Sonia’s eyes, and start experiencing who I am through my own. Sure, I have dreams that are yet to be fulfilled, but I also have some really cool stuff going on in my life that Young Sonia never predicted.

I have an amazing boyfriend (why does everything always circle back to a boy, huh? Well, it does and he makes me happy.) We travel wherever, whenever we want… still working on the whenever part of that equation. We order in dinner when we want (which is most days, unfortunately). We’re silly and we make each other laugh. We offer our opposite perspectives when the other needs it, and we argue like kids over stupid things. We also join forces to defend Westworld to anyone who dares say anything less than high praises for the show. Now doesn’t that sound like a dreamy romance? It’s got its ups and downs but we found each other and I don’t think that’s anything short of magic.

Another cool thing: I have bitchy best girlfriends. Wait, wait… that’s a good thing. If your girlfriends aren’t bitchy with you, what’s the point in even having them around? If I want someone to show me the better way, lift me higher, and elevate my soul, I’ll listen to Dalai Lama. But it’s not always about being the better person. It’s about talking shit about people or events so you can vent and be human. And when you have girlfriends who support that process — well that’s the fucking dream, innit.

What’s the point of writing all this? I guess it’s about accepting my life for what it is right now. It’s flipped 10 times over in the last few years, and I’ve been so busy “going with the flow” that I have not stopped to take it all in. So here’s the moment. I choose to be grateful for the gifts I’ve been blessed. I also choose to try to learn from the lessons I’ve been given. Even though I’m far from that checklist, I think I’m on track for the things that matter. I’ve evolved as a person, as a daughter, as a friend, and as a lover and I guess the fun of life is that evolution will never stop. Who knows what Future Sonia will have to say about this rant of a post, but the Present Sonia, me, in this very moment, is happy. Happy with this “rant of a post”, happy with my choices, happy with the messiness of family and work, happy with my body, soul and spirit. Just happy.

Thank you.

No Plastic, No Easy Feat

On my way home after a busy day at work, I changed my course and headed to the nearest coffee shop.

“Can I get an Iced Coffee, please?” I said to the Tim Hortons’ employee.

“We don’t have Iced Coffee right now.”

“Uhh.. umm strange. Okay, can I get a medium Iced Cappuccino then?” I asked reluctantly. I haven’t had an Iced Capp in years! But it’s way too hot to drink anything warm.

“Yep!”

“Great, thanks! Oh, and can I get it in my own mug please?”

“Sorry…?”

“I mean my travel mug. I bring it here all the time.”

“No. We can’t do Iced Capps in that because of our machine. Sorry!”

“Alright, I guess I’ll have a normal medium double-double then.”

Ughhhhhhhh! Suddenly, I was wishing I had just gone home. This was supposed to be a fun adventure – something to shake up my home-work-home routine – but now I’ve ended up with a hot coffee.

Right about now, you might be calling me picky, stubborn, divalicious, or something to that effect. Or, you might be thinking, “Does she know they have their own cups too?”

Yes, I do know that but I’ve been trying to avoid all things disposable for the benefit of the planet for over a month. You heard me, I’m trying to hop on the no-plastic, no-waste bandwagon. If you knew what I knew, maybe you would too. Maybe you already know and just don’t care or are too lazy. Trust me, I know what that’s like. I was just like you not too long ago.

But as luck would have it, I came across a video that blew me away (I’ve embedded it at the end of this post). Not to say that it will knock your socks off too, but it certainly spoke to me. I’d seen numerous videos about how plastic is taking over the oceans but the clip of the turtle in Amore’s video still haunts me. There is a very real, very big problem and we need to do our part to help – no matter how big or small our contribution.

I started with some purchases (glass straws, bamboo toothbrushes, bamboo toothbrush travel cases, because I’m extra). This happened pretty much instantly. Over the next few days, I took a hard look at everything I owned and consumed… and here’s a real footage of my face when I finally opened my eyes:

PLASTIC IS EVERYWHERE. No, I’m not talking about the oceans and landfills. I’m talking about in life. Think about it. My toothpaste tube is plastic. Coffee mug lids are plastic. Straws… hair clips… pens, my electric fan, Tupperware, food wraps, pencil cases, etc. I could go on and on and the list wouldn’t end. Do you get the point? It’s like I’d become blind to it.

Before we go into making drastic changes to cut out plastic from our lives, I think we a need major attitude adjustment as a species. I don’t know about you, but I was so unaware of my consumption habits (still am, by the way) it’s shocking. On more than one occasion, I have shared my new thoughts about plastic with friends over dinner and telling them how I carry my glass straw everywhere I go, WHILE I WAS DRINKING MY BELLINI WITH A PLASTIC STRAW! Heck, once I even took a picture of the cute little green PLASTIC elephant that the restaurant used to decorate my drink with. I mean come on.

I’m telling you, IT’S HARD. It’s been a struggle to cut it out even in small ways. Retraining my brain is tedious but it’s worth it. Today, I’m going to celebrate my victories:

  • I have used ONE disposable coffee cup from Tim Hortons or Starbucks in the last month. If I forget to bring my mug, I request the ceramic mugs or go without coffee. It hasn’t killed me yet but that’s a pretty effective way of remembering to carry it!
  • I have stopped using plastic water bottles altogether
  • I even carried my own travel mug at a friend’s BBQ so I could avoid using a disposable Red Solo Cup
  • I still have trouble catching myself and stopping to use plastic straws at restaurants
  • I try to finish my meals at restaurants because I know I can’t get it packed (don’t want to use their “disposable” boxes)
  • I now make my own toothpaste (two recipes: one with charcoal, and one with turmeric)
  • I’ve started using the menstrual cups instead of tampons. They say it can take 6 months to a year to get used to this. I admit it’s been a learning process but hey, even if I use 1-2 fewer tampons a month during the transition period, it’s something!
  • I’m starting to avoid shopping online or actually shopping at all. Packages usually contain plastic packaging materials.
  • I carry my own bag when I go shopping
  • Oh, and I try to shop for fruits and veggies at farmers’ markets, rather than big name stores. Even if you take your own bag, the cucumbers are pre-packaged; you’ll need a bag for tomatoes; it’s a whole thing)
  • I bought my first Avalon milk (which comes in glass bottles instead of plastic). It’s delicious but TBH, it’s pricey. Not sure how long I can keep that up.

The goal is to start making homemade items (like deodorant, shampoo, etc.) so I can avoid the plastic packaging they come in. I don’t have solutions and alternatives for everything in life but I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

Truth be told, I should have been doing a lot of these things already. But I wasn’t. I was lazy, and I think I just didn’t care enough. I know that sounds awful and absolutely the worst, but it’s the truth. Everybody has to start somewhere, and here I am, taking my first steps, and sips of my HOT double-double when it’s 35 degrees. But hey, we all have to make compromises.

I hope you will join me in your own way, someday.


P.S. Here’s Sorelle Amore’s video about living without plastic for 30 days.