Home

Wanna Do’s … or … Gotta Do’s

6 Comments

Q – How are bloody car wrecks and Donald Trump the same?

A – As morbidly terrible as they are, you just can’t look away from the carnage …

Donald Trump 2.jpg

I’m sorry, that isn’t part of this week’s post, I’m just being my normal distracted self.

Let’s see …

Last week I:

  • made bread pudding and banana bread and Chicken Tikka Masala
  • swam 48 laps and went to spin class and 2 boot camp classes
  • wrote a blog post
  • ate popcorn and watched the movie Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (in THAT order!)
  • did a 16 k. run
  • went grocery shopping
  • helped build a Little Free Library (LFL)
  • watched Donald Trump be Donald Trump (we are soooooo screwed!)
  • prepared my tax return
  • went to a local hockey playoff game
  • researched possible investments in Monsanto and Transforce (I didn’t buy shares of either), and lastly,
  • took in the final episode of Downton Abbey (Hallelujah, Lady Edith finally got her man!).

For someone like myself, an undiagnosed mild form of ADHD kind of person, this is the perfect week.

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER

Yup. The Perfect week.

I’m not trying to boast about all the things I’ve done, because I know many of you do far more than this in any given week.

You have to. It’s called survival.

But if you look a bit more closely at my list, you might notice that all of these things are what I would describe as recreational, my Wanna Do’s.

Yup, even grocery shopping and doing my tax return are fun Wanna Do things for me.

In earlier days, I spent long years where my weekly To-Do list included necessary things like vacuuming the carpets, washing clothes and dishes, doing the grocery shopping, doing the banking, driving the kids to ballet or soccer, making Shepherd’s Pie that my kids hated.

They were much more obligation-oriented Gotta Do’s, than fun, desirable, Wanna Do’s.

All that time I was slowly constructing the base of the chocolate layer cake that would become my life … preparing for the day when the sweet cream-cheese icing was all that was left of that yummy cake.

But my cake was never a single flavour indulgence. I built layers of different flavours to preserve my sanity and to allow my many outlets – passions, if you will – to flourish.

I purposefully placed my life on a teeter-totter, balancing the needs and desires and enjoyment of the moment while looking out on the golden sea horizon, attempting to see the life I wanted to be living in 25 years.

Did I do a perfect job of it? Of course not.

But I did have the good fortune of working with a lot of people in my jobs that I enjoyed being around. And when I didn’t, I made the tough decision to move on.

I never earned a whopping sum of money, so I saved and invested what I had in a reasonably successful way.

Inspirational guru Tony Robbins always talks about “should’ing” all over ourselves.

should

I made sure I didn’t “should” all over myself and bow to the expectations of the societal voices that try to dictate what our lives should look like.

I worked a 3 day work-week for the last 20 years of my lab career. My sanity was preserved, and my energies were able to be expended in directions that made me happy even though I wasn’t climbing the rungs of any corporate ladders.

When I found foul-smelling stool sample testing tiresome (I said to myself, “enough of this SHIT!”), I purposefully became a transformer and slipped on the clean underwear of a laboratory database miner for a number of years.

My sense of achievement and self-esteem was sourced in different life drawers.

I was self-aware enough to know the things that I enjoyed doing rather than the things others thought or suggested I should be doing … competence in the technical aspects of my job wouldn’t naturally lead to me being the good people manager that was often the expectation.

Last week at boot camp class I was talking to Marjana – an energetic Iraqi woman who, forcibly displaced, moved to Canada a couple of decades back.

Years ago, she opened a restaurant in Vancouver, a Middle-eastern bistro with special Arabian Night theme events.

Marjana worked every day, 12, 14, 16 hours a day for 4 years, non-stop, just like my current “boss” Georgios. He owns the Greek Restaurant where I play the role of bartender occasionally.

Both of these folks were/are incredibly dedicated to their work. My brother Gord did the same as the owner of a Mexican restaurant a few years back.

All of these people made a success of their projects by immersing themselves fully and passionately.

I am in total awe of these people.

But I don’t want to be them. Nope.

For all of those who love or need to focus solely on one matter at once, I will tell you how much I admire your ability to do the same.

This is what makes a great entrepreneur – a laser focus on one objective and doing everything everyday that takes you towards that goal.

Frankly, it would drive me crazy to be an entrepreneur. I would lose my zest for life like a grape shrivelling into a raisin under the scorching sun.

Such intense focus never made it onto my Wanna Do list.

I can only focus on one area for an hour or two before losing my enthusiasm and drive.

As Marsha my dedicated, delicate yoga instructor smiles and softly sings, “there are many paths to the same objective.

I’ve spent my life hound-dogging a diverse path leading towards the jelly-bean bowl of Wanna Do’s.

Selfish? Indulgent?

It might appear to you that I’m narcissistic and self-centred.

Perhaps, although I try to balance the scales of self-indulgence with volunteer and charitable Wanna Do’s. But even fruitful charity has the seed of ego at its centre unless you’re Mother Teresa.

I think that a truly perfect week should have the space and freedom to accommodate a cathartic moment of Shakespearean mixed comedy/tragedy.

And that’s why Donald Trump is gonna stay on my Wanna Do list for the foreseeable future.

todo-list

 

 

How Do You Become A LIST Whore?

Leave a comment

Hello my name is Larry and I’m a List-aholic”

mens-health-march-2014-1

 

Follow me here…

Every day, I check the Huffington Post, or Zite, or Flipboard or The Globe and Mail on my iPad or Kobo and there are lists.

10 WAYS YOU CAN BECOME… 5 REASONS YOU SHOULD… 8 TOP SECRETS OF…

Every time I stand waiting in a supermarket line, I sheepishly – is anyone watching? – glance over the covers of magazines like People and Cosmopolitan and Men’s Health filled with rules and Top 10 lists.

  • 30 Rules For Boyfriends From Two Wise Little Girls (Huffington Post)
  • 17 Things Women Think During Anal Sex (Cosmopolitan)
  • 13 Ways To Prevent Excessive Gas (Huffington Post)
  • 73+ Pivotal Blogging Shortcuts and Tips (Blog Tyrant)
  • We Shit Glitter: The 9 Unsexiest Secrets Of Being A Burlesque Dancer (Sabotage Times)

A lot of it is pure BS, but I can’t pull myself away from the lure of the car crash scenario. I don’t want to be drawn to them, but the curious irresistibility factor suckers me in. “Read me, read me!”

One more list and then another, just one more list will make me a better lover, or athlete, or father, or pickle maker. You name your interest and there’s a list to help you become a better (fill-in-the-blank).

It’s an addiction that I need to feed, and there are idea nutrients spread everywhere like a military carpet bombing. Lists are mind candy – the succinct conduit for delivery of ideas and inspiration.

Honestly, I crave lists and rules like I hunger for creamy sweet chocolate, french fries, and oxygen.

Lists play into my insecurities.

.

It’s no secret to me that the success of all these lists is that people, myself included, are feeling a veiled dissatisfaction with some area(s) of their lives.

At its root lies the question, “What is my life about?

That might sound bad, but it’s really not. Let me explain, OK?

A couple of times over the past year or so, I’ve shown you the picture of actor Sally Field clutching her Oscar “Best Actress” trophy in delirious victory. I love that picture and the honesty that poured out from her throat.

People made fun of old Flying Nun/Momma Gump Sally when she stood on the Oscar stage in 1984 and emotionally declared, “… you like me, right now, you like me!”.

SALLY_FIELD

…of course I like you Sally…

Sally blurted out the hidden but truthfully obvious fact that 95% of the actors, directors, camera operators and the general public in the audience just want to be liked, whether on stage acting, or in the everyday trenches of real life.

We want others to like us and to recognize that we are good at something. And a great way to show us that we are lovable and worthwhile is to give us a gold statuette and clap at us while we stand on a stage basking in glory.

It’s no different than when we were little kids and we badgered our Mommies and Daddies to watch us jump into the swimming pool: “Mommy, watch this… Mooooommmmy, WATCH THIS!”

These needs to be loved and admired within most of us are what lead us to push harder and try to be better at something, which feeds into our sense of self-esteem.

Most of the wonderful advances and improvements in our world and society (yeah, a lot of the bad stuff too) came from those who wanted to be recognized as achieving excellence, and hence, received love and admiration from their peers, friends and family, and the world at large. So what’s wrong with that?

The great innovator Steve Jobs loved to wander back and forth on a stage in his black turtleneck sweater, basking in the glory of the spotlights and hordes of admirers before he would utter those famous words, ” Oh, and one more thing…” , just before making a huge i-whatever product announcement.

That was just a grown man standing by the edge of the kiddie pool, yelling, Mommy, watch this…”.

When I crossed the finish line of an Ironman race many many years ago now, would I have experienced the same joy if there was no one there watching? Of course not.

I craved the adoring gush of the throngs of people and my family acknowledging what a wonderful achievement I had accomplished. Mommy would have approved of me and I would have smiled inside.

Ironman 1990

This is one of MY Sally Field moments …

 

There are very few of us who don’t have underlying insecurities, little voices in our head telling us that we need to be better.

Lists and rules offer up handy – and often, admittedly, too facile – solutions to our insecurities.

But they CAN help to give us tools and innovative ways we hadn’t considered to become new and improved.

CREATIVITY CAN BE FOUND IN A LIST

29-ways-to-stay-creative

I choose to look at lists positively. I’m seeking the bravery to push outside my comfort zone, to subdue my insecurity if you will.

If it takes a list of ideas and suggestions from outside, I’ll happily look at it and decide if my choice to create something new for me – within me – is worthwhile.

Creativity doesn’t always have to be newly invented from within. Epiphanies come in lots of costumes. Let’s make like Bonnie and Clyde, like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, like Bernie Madoff, and make off with as many ideas that are offered freely from others as we can.

The choice is ours, steal what looks useful and leave the rest of the dreck behind, like yucky canned peas on a plate of hot, fragrant fish and chips.

Finally, let me offer you one little list I’ve come across. It’s a list for cynics and for those List Haters that I know exist out there who smirk and scowl at us dreamers aka List-Lovers.

FIVE RULES TO REMEMBER IN LIFE

  1. Money cannot buy happiness, but it’s more comfortable to cry in a Range Rover than on a bicycle.
  2. Forgive your enemy, but remember the ass-hole’s name.
  3. If you help someone when they’re in trouble, they will remember you when they’re in trouble again.
  4. Many people are alive only because it’s illegal to shoot them.
  5. Alcohol does not solve any problems, but then neither does milk.