Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Worthy Friendships

I love everyone. I honestly cannot think of a soul I don’t love. Even those who have hurt me, ignored me, never met me. I just love people. I think individuals are amazing. Their intricacies and quirks amuse and intrigue me.

That doesn’t mean people don’t often annoy and frustrate me, and that I don’t choose to avoid socializing with certain individuals due to their negative and destructive habits. But I will still love them and treat them with respect and dignity. And it’s not because I’m a strong and humble person (because anyone who knows me can attest that humility is something I need to work on) but because I have an instinctual gift for appreciating and embracing even the most minute amounts of positive attributes in others.

But there comes a point when close friends and acquaintances must be separated. And let’s be realistic- why would I choose to make a negative and destructive individual a deep and dependent part of my life for any season? Obviously I’m not realistic as I continue to do this year in and year out...

After an insightful and eye opening discussion with a dear friend (and amazing individual from anyone’s viewpoint) this morning, I’ve concluded that it is not possible to be close friends with many. Only a few. Multitudes of acquaintances are just fine, but true companions are harder to maintain with the few hours we have in our life that are not spent eating, exercising, working, and sleeping. We really do have to make an effort, whether it be conscious or sub-conscious, to hang out with those that we want to invite into our lives wholly on a consistent basis and limit the time we spend with those who will never amount to a closer connection than another generic social contact. It may sound harsh, but coming from someone who loves everyone for exactly who they are, I attest it’s nothing against that person. It’s the lack of connection, the lack of chemistry.

Lately I would describe myself as quite alone. Let me be clear, alone, not lonely. I’m not saddened by my solitude. It excites me. It gives me more time to spend with God and more time to write and read and pray and cook and ride and think and run and dream and swim and reflect and remember… and just love life on my own. To just be me and enjoy being me (and I mean that in the least narcissistic way possible.) For a long time I constantly surrounded myself with people and it made me feel alive. It energized me. And sometimes it still does. But now I find I can draw the same energy from being alone and quiet. So when I think about spending my time with others, I think about why I’m doing it. Because they asked me to? Because we’ve been saying for a long time that we should? Because it’s convenient? Because I’m bored? Because I really, really miss them? Because we have intriguing and insightful conversations? Because they make me laugh until my face hurts? Because we make each other feel good? Because I can help them? Because they can help me?

I ask myself – Is the time I’m about to spend with them, the minutes I’m investing into this person, this friendship, worth the $2.50 I’m about to spend on bus fare and the 50 minutes I’m going to take out of my evening to bus to see them? Harsh? Not when the same friend wouldn’t spend $2 on gas and 10 minutes to swing by and pick me up. It all balances out. Because then I ask, why am I really going to visit with them anyway? Because they asked me to? Because it’s been a while? Or because I miss them? Because they want to see me?

When I choose a boyfriend, a husband, a companion, it won’t be someone convenient. I couldn’t put up with a relationship out of convenience. It won’t be because I want to cuddle. I like sleeping in the middle of the bed enough to get over it. It won’t be because we are compatible and share interests. I’m interested in just about everything and compatibility changes as much as the temperature. It will be because I so enjoy the time I spend with that person that I want nothing more than to live my life with them.

Until then, I will continue to take pleasure in the solitude of this season of my life.

So I now apply this same “logic” to my friendships – to only invest in a deep and intimate relationship with those who I truly enjoy spending quality time with.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Shape up, Boy

Dear [insert name of any man I’ve dated in the last, hmmm, 22 years...],

Excuse me for any offense I may unintentionally impose, but I just have to ask.

Do any of you really care? I mean, really care. Not care enough. Not Care kind of. REALLY care.

Do you really believe I need to be leveled out? Or is it just that you can’t handle my self-confidence?

Do you really think it’s bad that I love myself? Love my mind? Love my soul? Love my body? Love my life? Love God for everything He’s blessed me with? (because it’s A LOT, let me tell you.)

Do you really need to tell me I should be more modest?

Do I really need to hear that you’ve dated smarter women?

Do you think I care that your last girlfriend wore a size four?

And that paycheck you are so darn proud of, do you realize I make more than you?

Why can you so easily forget the thousands amazing meals I made for you, and remember (and remind me) of the one time I over-cooked the salmon?

Why do you say black every time I say white? More so, why when I agree white, do you say multicolor?

Are you really that emotionally unavailable? Or just a natural asshole?

Now, to the point…
Why in the world would I settle for the likes of you?

No need to reply, I already know all the answers. Shape up, boy. The woman you end up with deserves to be treated much better.

The one that got away,

Miranda M. Landry

Monday, 11 May 2009

Life without expectations

Do you have an expectation on how your life should be lived? Think really generally for a moment. Do you think you are meant to live your life a certain way, that right and wrong exists beyond what is good and bad? That in order to really be living you have to do certain things, take certain risks, or achieve certain milestones?

Are we supposed to live a certain way?

I think that’s what irritated me most about church (I still attend, however). The idea that I was supposed to be living a certain way. Whether it was articulated in this manner or not, the essence of marriage, kids, careers and stability were all underlying messages on how one should live their life. Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE church. And I especially love the people who make up a church. But I’m not a fan of conforming to a socialized way of believing life should or shouldn’t be lead.

I believe each life path is as individual as our fingerprints. No two of us alike are meant to have a single water droplet hit our skin with the same experience another might relate to it.

We are guided differently.

We lead differently.

We follow differently.

We learn differently.

We seek differently.

We communicate differently.

Our lives are meant to be as unique as each of us are.

Is the girl who hits the downtown eastside at the age of 12 and is forced to battle her way through drug addictions, prostitution and mental illness not living her life “right”?

Is the teenage boy who wins all the awards in school, plays for all the sports teams and is surrounded by friends and family with expectations of grandeur doing things the “right way”?

Is the 45 year old bachelor who is addicted to his job and depressed every moment he’s not surrounded by work or women (and yet is somehow still receiving praise by society) living the “good” life?

Is the quiet and submissive wife and mother of 3 who constantly strives to do her best and love her life living the life she is “supposed” to live even though she fights thoughts of dissatisfaction?

Am I, a young woman in my twenties, carelessly dating, working as a manager in a hotel without a real career plan, living deeply in each moment, and completely satisfied knowing nothing of what is to come, being irresponsible?

Monday, 4 May 2009

It's not about what you do...

I love my life.

We had some rather high profile guests attend a function at our hotel the other day which ignited a conversation between a coworker and I about respecting people. About people who demand respect and about people who deserve respect. With a boardroom full of CEOs and extraordinarily wealthy economists and financial gurus, I suggested they all deserved as much respect as the people who clean their rooms. And I mean it. Or maybe it should be worded that the housekeepers deserve every ounce of respect that these men and women who are sitting around the table being treated like royalty are receiving.

How is it that what one does and the number of digits on one’s salary determines how well society will treat that individual?

This conversation with my colleague spread to concepts of diffidence and how I fully recognize that successful people/ wealthy people/ famous people/ infamous people/ beautiful people/ well-respected people still suffer with multiple insecurities. In some aspects, the need to overachieve is a red flag revealing a need to appear greater than one feels.

I’ve met numerous people who have achieved great things and had multitudes of experiences. Some of them exclaim that they are very fulfilled with their lives and at peace with themselves. Most, however, do not differ in the amount of fulfillment or dissatisfaction they perceive in their lives than the majority of the population. Most, despite their exhaustively impressive resumes, deep down feel no more satisfied with where they are than their housekeeper.

The difference, I believe, is attitude. It simply does not matter how much you accomplish or how many experiences you go through. It’s about appreciating the ones you do have, and knowing that each day you are living the best possible life you can be living.

Back to this conversation with my coworker, I finished it by saying something along the lines of “I could die tomorrow and I would be happy with the life I’ve lived.”

In a short 22 years, I’m able to say I’m completely satisfied and fulfilled with my life. That’s a pretty big statement. And it wasn’t until after I voiced it that I realized how much I meant it.

I work over 13 hours at the hotel on Saturday, went to morning Mass and then biked over 75 kilometers on Sunday. Today, I stayed cuddled up in my bright red sheets until 2 o’clock in the afternoon working on the manual for the not-for-profit I’m helping my girlfriend run. And I loved every minute of it. I love everything I’m doing. Even the hard stuff. Even the stuff most people complain about.

It’s become a joke with some of my friends that everything always works out for Miranda. I play along and if you look at my life you realize it’s not all that far from the truth. But in actuality, I’m no luckier than the average Joe or Jane. I just appreciate it. More than appreciate it. I take the time to enjoy it. Enjoy every moment, every breath, every connection that God has given me.

It’s not like there isn’t multiple issues in my life that I could stress out about, or beat myself up over- I just downright refuse to do it. Life is far too short to worry about right and wrong, good and bad, hot or cold. I don’t believe for one moment that there is a specific way people are meant to live their lives.

And this concept is far greater than just viewing a glass half full. It’s about fully recognizing the empty half of the glass and still appreciating the challenge and dejection it carries. That even when you can’t see the lesson to be learned, or any amount of encouragement, to acknowledge that it is still as valuable a moment in life as the ones that society most commonly validates.

Why do we bother comparing time to time? There is only one moment that exists. There is only so much control we have over the ones that will come. Why do we waste the present moments on thoughts of ones that are incomparable?

So while I still dream of all the wonderful experiences I will have in the years to come, I will remain fully engaged in the one at my fingertips, because it exists, and it’s beautiful.

My God, I love my life.