Rehearsal

Empty Stage“This isn’t a dress rehearsal.” This phrase has stuck with me for a few days. You never know when someone’s words are going to resonate. This time it was Jim Norton on O&A talking about his life and career, and coming to the realization that life is not a “dress rehearsal”.

I have been living my life as though it’s the practice frame.

Many of my internal monologues start with “If I could do it over again…”.  It’s time to stop dwelling on the past and how I would change it.  I need to take whatever lesson is there and apply it to today.

After leaving the culinary world, I neatly tucked away those experiences and convinced myself that it was time to leave and I would never look back.  5 years have passed and I’m thinking about how I would have done things differently at the cafe.  I’ve been mentally developing new menu items, prep schedules and a smarter mise en place.  They are foolish thoughts; I will never have another chance at the cafe.  It wasn’t a dress rehearsal, it was opening night.

The lesson to apply today, is to take an honest evaluation of how I’m living all aspects of my life.  What am I doing (or not doing) that I will reflect upon with disappointment?   What would future me change about present me?

Distraction

Here I am, at work, feeling a bit overwhelmed by the “to-do” list that’s staring at me.  I move the list outside of my peripheral vision, but I know it’s there.  I feel it, the way you can sense someone looking at you.

I should be working on one of the thirty tasks.  Instead I’m procrastinating via shallow internet surfing.

I’ve recently adopted a new strategy for maintaining focus at work and keeping on-task: each morning I create the day’s to-do list, using the leftover items from previous days’ lists and adding appropriately.  I then prioritize the items, using the Franklin Covey ABC method.  So far, this works tremendously well… until the list gets too long.  Then it’s game over, let’s see who’s Tweeting.

Today, the list is too long.  There are too many “A” items to reasonably get done in a day.  A hardworking person would look at the list, realize that perhaps not everything can get done in a day, but they’d do their best to knock out as much as possible.  Me?  Let’s see who’s Tweeting…

There’s now an hour left to the work day and I’ve accomplished very little of note.  For the most part, I’ve been racing through my mind all of the tasks I need to accomplish outside of work over the next 72 hours.  I have lists and schedules, but it’s still overwhelming.  I can never 100% trust that I’ve captured everything that needs to be done.  I also can’t trust myself to not put things off.  All of which leads to anxiety, sleeplessness and ultimately: getting only a fraction of the list completed.

Let’s see who’s Tweeting…

Delayed Resolution

The CN Sheds on the St. Clair River

The CN Sheds on the St. Clair River

I’ve always had a curiosity for abandoned buildings. Driving past them, I wonder what’s inside. As a teenager growing up near the St. Clair River, there was an abandoned railroad shed that captured all of our imaginations, known to us as “The Sheds”. For the most part it was boarded up quite tight, but there were a couple of occasions where we were able to get inside.

It was thrilling to walk through the near-empty warehouse, leafing through shipping waybills from 20 years prior. Being young, inexperienced and slightly drunk, we allowed our imaginations to get away from us and scared ourselves from exploring for any length of time. The last time I explored the sheds, it was with my best friend; we walked up the spiral iron staircase to the second floor. Walking arm in arm in the dark, we came upon a short hallway with a mirror at the end. We both swear we saw something flicker in the mirror. Needless to say we booked it out of there, slightly out of breath after we crawled through the point of entry.

Almost 20 years after exploring the sheds, abandoned buildings still capture my imagination. I’m not usually one to declare New Years resolutions. However, if I were to, I’d make a resolution to explore urban exploration.

Until I’m brave enough to explore on my own, I will continue to live vicariously through my favourite urbex websites.

Urban Exploration Resource: http://www.uer.ca/
UER is an amazing database, with user-submitted photos and stories from sites around the world. Of special note are the abandoned castles that have been documented throughout Europe.

Jerm IX: http://www.jerm-ix.ca/; @Jerm_IX
Jeremy is a regular contributor to UER, but it’s his personal website that is most fascinating to browse. Jeremy’s nearly poetic prose that accompany his photo galleries are captivating.

Moses Gates: http://mosesgates.com/; @MosesNYC
I’ve only recently been introduced to the work of fearless NYC explorer, Moses Gates. Recently, Moses took Opie (of Opie and Anthony on SiriusXM) on a tour of the old Amtrak tunnels, deep below New York’s busy streets. They capped off the day with an amazingly unique tour of the Empire State Building, ending on the 61st floor, where the iconic steel eagles are perched (click to view the YouTube video). I can’t wait to read his new book “Hidden Cities”.

Purging

My niece will be staying with us next weekend.  What does that mean today?  A thorough cleaning of the entire house!

The house is full of clutter.  I am terrible about not picking up after myself.  I frequently start to organize a section of the house, but am quickly distracted, or become overwhelmed thinking of the enormity of the project.  More often than not, this results in nothing getting done.  It’s a quality of mine that I’ve always hated.  I would love to have a tidy home with very little “stuff” hanging around.  I just can’t seem to get there.  I’ve recently learned that this may be symptomatic of ADHD.  The more I think about the possibility, the more aware I am of the little things that I do that scream of ADHD.

Of course, I don’t dismiss the fact that I’m simply a messy, disorganized person.  That certainly still holds true.  However, when I’m faced with a deadline (i.e. niece spending the weekend), and forced to clean up, I feel so much better.  Purging old magazines, old paperwork and old clothing from the house feels so good.  Sitting in a room with remarkably less “stuff” is relaxing.

There is satisfaction that comes from hauling a few garbage bags out of the house.  Every time I do this, I promise myself that I’ll “keep on top of things”.  Not this time.  I’m tired of disappointing myself by not keeping promises.  I’ll simply do my best to keep the house as “relaxed” as possible.  Whether it’s ADHD that prevents me, or sheer laziness, I will work harder to maintain order.  Perhaps I’ll start a schedule; another chart to be started and left unfinished and ignored.

Back to the drawing board…

Aspirations

I used to consider myself an aspiring writer. Essays, poetry, and short stories were a creative outlet when emotions were too overwhelming to understand. Lately, I’ve aspired to become an aspiring writer again. I fell away from writing, replacing that creative time with mindless activities. Today’s going to be different. I’m turning off the tv and putting pen back to paper.

After more than 2 decades of using journals and binders of ruled paper, I’m leaping into the 90’s and starting anew, electronically. The drawback: backspace removes all trace of rejected free-flow thoughts. I have often written pieces that started with an idea that came from a crossed-out paragraph. The benefit: my spelling will appear to have improved with auto-correct!

It’s been some time since I’ve gone through my old journals and binders. I’m interested in going back through the years and revisit the younger me. From time to time, I’ll post old pieces and comment on them from an older, wiser perspective. Well, at least “older”.

Stay tuned…