Friday, December 30, 2011

As the door closes, a window opens...

As 2011 comes to an end, it is time to do a retrospective of the year, or at least of the main events.
My cousin sends out an annual 'newsletter' with pictures and comments, regarding how her family spent the year. I could do that too, however a single person's life does not have a lot of pictures, or rather, the pictures only have 1 subject, so it gets boring.

Nonetheless, when I look back on 2011 what will I remember?
It is the year my dad turned 60 and when I went back home to celebrate with him. 
We went to South Africa for a little less than 2 weeks and I sat on an ostrich.

It is the year I got promoted to band level 8 at work. 
That certainly does not say anything to you, unless you work for a bank and you know what band levels are. But that's not sufficient, you also need to know how many band levels there are and do they increase in number as you get promoted or do they decrease? I still do not know that one, because the previous bank I worked for has it the opposite way from the current bank I work for, so it's confusing. What can I do, I'm getting older, my memory is just not the same anymore. :)

It is the year I turned 30.
It's quite humbling to realize that time passes without you realizing it. I have just been invited to an 18-year-old's birthday party and I can still remember when he was a baby with chubby cheeks and I wanted to hold him and play with him in the sand. Now, what? What happens when you are old enough to remember 18 year old's when they were babies? Argh, you keep going of course, nothing you can do to stop time. You just hope it takes longer for them to turn 30!

It is the year I finally went to Vegas. 
This has been on my travel bucket list for a while and man, did it hold its end of the bargain. Glad I went with a group of friends that was fun and I had the opportunity to make a couple of new friends as well.

Those are the main events of 2011...oh wait, there is another one worth mentioning!

It is the year I decided to move downtown. 
So here's the window of 2012 opening. I want to say 'Oops, I'm moving again!'. This would be the third place where I'd be living by myself and it's as exciting as the first time I moved.
My resolutions for 2012 are mostly based on the fact that I will be moving to this new place, such as going to the gym every day, swimming at least twice a week, walking everywhere downtown, taking my bike during the summer, and the list goes on and on about how living downtown will make me lead a healthier lifestyle and how I'll make good use of the time saved through less commuting. Who's with me here? How many of you are actually betting against the odds? How many are betting that just as resolutions go, these are not going to hold in the long haul?
We shall see, 2012, we shall see.

I'm starting the year in good faith, hoping for many good things (and perfect babies for all my friends expecting) to come, many places to travel to, more time to spend with loved ones and renewed faith in humanity.
Don't disappoint 2012! We've been told it is the year the world comes to an end, but I don't believe in that BS.
2012 is going to be awesome...because I say so!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The knot was tied!

At the beginning of this December, one of my best friends got married.
This was a big affair, mostly because it was the first time I was going to be in the wedding party. It is an honour of course, because the other 2 bridesmaids were her sisters.

If you haven't had someone close to you get married lately, you wouldn't know, but this whole wedding business is not quite a walk in the park! My friend had a wedding planner (services she won in a contest) and yet she was freaking out on the big day; thinking how long the hairdresser needs to do her hair, what happened to the photo booth, the guests not on the wedding favors' list, where is everybody, etc. It is a stressful day for any bride, I'm sure. Even more so when you cannot trust people to do what they are supposed to do because some of them are flaky! Despite all the rehearsals and lists, you still cannot predict everything that could go wrong.

All in all though, the day went on smoothly. Months of preparation for that one perfect day.
While I was standing there watching my friend making her vows to her soon-to-be husband, I couldn't help but think about the meaning of those decisive words. How many people take this literally and how many people take it as 'till divorce do us part?'. How many people can truthfully say that they know, without any doubt, that they will not fall in love with someone else, or at least, if they do, that they will not leave their spouse for that person?

That very same friend's parents argue a lot on a daily basis and she has often wondered if they have stayed together over the years for her sake and that of her sisters. No doubt that she is grateful that her parents are still together, I don't see her saying that she would have loved to have divorced parents. But she has often wondered aloud whether her parents might not be in love with each other anymore and that they are staying together because of the kids or because they don't know anything else other than being married to each other.
How sad is that? Are kids happier when their parents are still together, even begrudgingly so? Or are kids happier when their parents are happy, even if not together? Who knows really. Nobody could do research on the same subjects for both test cases and people are intrinsically different, what would make someone happy (like seeing your parents happy - separated) could make someone else resentful (why couldn't you sacrifice yourself for your kids?).

There is no right or wrong answer here. People's actions follow what they can live with. (That's the proverbial phrase of the week!). Just like people who get divorced may say that on their wedding day, at that point in their life, they were 110% sure of their love for each other and that it will last forever, but years later when it wasn't working for them, they couldn't live with the burden of being unhappy even for their kids or for anybody else. The statement goes the other way too though. For the couple who stays together for the sake of their kids, they do so because they couldn't live with the alternative, be it living without their kids or seeing their kids being raised by the other parent. People will do things they can live with in that moment in time even if that means wondering what could have been for the rest of their lives.

I do not condemn or judge any which way. I have experienced it, when I thought without any doubt that I love someone, only to find a few weeks/months later that the love was fickle, that I can live without that person and that he has not made that deep an impression or that the feelings so overwhelming once, do fade with time. Yet, nobody else knows better than myself how I feel. If I cannot say how long my feelings will last, who else can predict it? Wouldn't it be great if at the end of one's life, one could look back and make a list of all regrets and mistakes and go back in time and fix them so that one's life is as perfect as it could be?  Unfortunately, we do not have such a mechanism or process. We make do with what we have, we make compromises, we decide what we could live with and trudge forward, making sure as we go along that we are making the best decision we could make at this point of time, with the facts that we know or the feelings that we have.

So then, the philosophical conclusion of all this analysis would be: to tie the knot with someone, nobody can say with certainty that it will last till the end of time, but it is commonly acknowledged that you are perfectly sure, at this point in your life, that you are in love with that person and that you will do what you can to make this marriage work, or you are 'settling down' with that person because you can live with it, with no regrets you cannot overcome later on. I agree that the first option is more romantic (because it provides the possibility that some people never fall out of love or that they will not know a greater love) however both options imply that there are quite some unhappy people out there and that's sad because we only have one shot at this life.

There is no hiding that making decisions is hard on me, I weigh out my options for everything, even the pettiest of things. But the upside of all this is that I lead a life with little regret. Every action, every decision has been weighed beforehand, and the one that made more sense, that represented less suffering, that had less likelihood of regret later on, was chosen. That mental list is revisited every time regret start bubbling up. This is what works for me, this is what I can live with and that at least, I know.