Category Archives: Deep Thoughts…

What is my Purpose? 

I was recently contemplating my purpose in life and feeling bad about essentially not really having one.

Then today I thought about all the doors I hold open, all the heavy bags, shopping carts, and strollers I help carry up and down stairs, and on and off streetcars.
All the coffees and sandwiches I buy for people on the street.
All the scarves and mittens and hats I chase after people with to return to their rightful owner.
All the directions I give, and questions I answer for random strangers.
All the babies I distract mid-meltdown so mommy (or daddy) can get through the checkout line …

And that’s when it dawned on me… Maybe my purpose in life isn’t one thing, or title, or grand gesture, but rather the multitude of tiny random acts of kindness and servitude I provide during daily travels.

We can’t all be Steve Jobs or Oprah.

Someone had to hold the door open for them 😉


I realized today that I’m not jealous, or rather envious I should say, of people’s “things”.

I see “The ladies who lunch” in their fancy duds, with their shopping bags from designer stores, and I merely shrug.
That’s not me. Never really has been.

I don’t even get the same tinge of green when I see posts of luxurious dinners from restaurant openings I’ve been excluded from. Meh. I couldn’t afford to eat there anyway, so it would be a fleeting moment at best.

But where I do feel a tug at my gut is seeing friends afforded the luxury of education and meaningful employment. That is what incites the green eyed monster from deep within.

The hot dog…

Every year around around this time I have what I call my “hot dog” moment.

Tonight was that night.

Let me give you the back story…

In 1989, about a week before my wedding, I was in Toronto for the weekend. (I was living up north at the time) It was the first week of December, and the city was in full holiday hustle and bustle swing.
Although I grew up in the city, I had been living away for about 4 yrs at that time, in a resort town, sheltered from the harsh realities life.

I was riding the subway when I noticed a man, obviously homeless and down on his luck, eating a hot dog. That in and of itself wasn’t odd, but rather the way he was eating it. Quickly, and protectively, while his eyes darted suspiciously at the people around him, fearing they might reach over and grab it from him at any moment.
I felt like the walls were closing in on me, and I burst into tears. My fiance looked at me like I was out of my mind, and chalked it up to pre-wedding stress. But he was wrong.

I’ve always been a pretty empathetic person, but in this instance I really felt his hunger, and his fear, and his urgency.
And it made me overwhelming sad.
24 yrs later, it still resonates in the pit of my stomach.

And now every year, especially around this time, there is a “hot dog” moment that overwhelms me.

The weird sense of relief I felt last year when the skinny, bearded homeless man with the sad eyes and sweet smile appeared at the bottom of the escalator at Yonge & Bloor when the weather got cold, and while saddened by his plight, I was so happy he was still alive that I smiled teary-eyed at him while stuffing $10 into his cup.

And then tonight when I became so distracted by the homeless man struggling to decide which treat he could afford to buy in the coffee shop at the end of the night.

Other down trodden folks had made their rounds earlier in the evening, asking the patrons for spare change, my friend and I making note of the fact that one was sporting a Canada Goose jacket and pretty decent boots.

But this old fella walked in and looked around for a place to sit. He was not in possession of a proper coat, but rather a few layers of sweaters and a light jacket. He had tattered shoes, and was wearing grocery bags over his socks to keep his feet dry. He had a shopping bag which likely carried all of his worldly possessions. After he picked a spot, and lay his bag down, and without bothering anyone along the way, he quietly made his way up to the counter, and asked for a piece of the gingerbread cake. I quietly made my way up beside him and asked if he would like a sandwich. He graciously accepted my offer and chose one. I brought it to the barista and paid for it, and then called over to the man that his sandwich was paid for and waiting for him. The barista seemed annoyed with me for doing that, but I didn’t care.

Perhaps it was because he didn’t ask that I felt compelled to reach out.
Perhaps it was because I wanted to make sure that he had something more substantial to eat than sugar before facing the cold night ahead.
Perhaps it was because I have been but a week or so away from being completely broke and potentially homeless myself.

And just like all the other “hot dog” moments, the emotions bubbled up without warning. The burning sadness. The frustration. The want… the need to do more.

I am just one person, but at least once a month I try to feed someone. (I’d rather offer someone food than just give them spare change) I wish I could do more, but realistically, I am limited.

It’s so easy, in our busy lives, to just walk past, with blinders on, and go about our lives without a second thought to the plight of those lest fortunate than us. To look down upon or scoff at those looking for a handout. I’m guilty of it myself, though I always try to smile and make eye contact when tell them I’m sorry I can’t help them today.
But just imagine if everyone of us paid it forward, even just once a month, with a meal, or a coffee, or even a fresh pair of socks.

Imagine how humiliating it is to have to ask for help. I’m not talking the regulars that have the funny catch phrases, or their spot in front of a specific store. Keep your eye out for the quiet ones, they’re probably the most in need.

Please keep this in mind as you fill your shopping carts and trunks with groceries, and clothes, and electronics, and all of the other little extras this holiday season.
Put a couple of extra cans in the food bank bin.
Purge your closets and donate to your local clothing drive
Drop off some new socks, or hats, or gloves to a shelter or community clinic.
Find an Angel tree and fulfill a gift request for a needy child.
Keep an eye out for your elderly neighbours and offer your services to clear the snow, or take them grocery shopping.

Be creative. Be generous. Be an example to others.

Deep Thought of the Day:

Maybe it’s because I’m a fall baby, but I always think of September as my “new year”.

I start getting pumped up in August. I get motivated to get shit done, make changes, kick myself in the butt, reflect on the past year and look forward to the next one.

I always liked that “back to school” rush when I was a kid… new pens, new notebooks, new clothes. I guess I still prepare the same way around this time, only in this case it’s for another semester at the “school of life”


I was brave…

I had one of those “ah-ha!” moments when I was walking home last night, the last leg of my journey on a blissful day of little moments that added up to great joy. I was thinking about the blog post I had just finished writing and trying to think back to where this deep seated guilt over my relationship with my brother came from… then I remembered.
The letter.

Continue reading I was brave…

“Don’t make someone a priority in your life, when you’re only an option in theirs…”

This is to be my lesson/mantra this year I guess. At least I’m going to try to reconcile with it as it seems to be a recurring theme in my life.

I’ve tried to reach out, to be social, to forge friendships. It just doesn’t work past a certain age me thinks. I’m too trusting, some might say gullible. Everyone is busy with their own “stuff”, their existing people, etc…

I find myself putting others at the top of my mental priority list, then being disappointed when I am but a passing thought… if that.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a good friend and will continue to be if called upon. But I’m not a fucking doormat. And I know when I’ve been completely overlooked. And it hurts. Especially when I’ve made some extraordinary choices with their best interests in mind.

So, it’s back to solo Meesh. I’m not going to worry about the “yous” and the “thems” anymore. It’s wasted too much time and energy, which is rarely if ever reciprocated, leaving me feeling exposed and used. Not that I’m going I become a hermit by any means, I’m just going to make sure my choices are MY choices and lower the bar for my expectations of others. In fact, going forward I will “expect” nothing and hopefully be pleasantly surprised. Though I doubt it. Continue reading “Don’t make someone a priority in your life, when you’re only an option in theirs…”

it’s just another New Year’s Eve…

it’s just another Auld Lang Syne…

Just read over my obligatory NYE look back/look ahead from Dec 31, 2010.
It’s funny, I think I was in an angrier place then, than I am now, which is really hard to believe. Actually, the more I think about it, maybe it’s not so hard to believe.
A lot of the same things that happened to piss me off in 2011 happened in 2010 too. Guess by the 2nd round of bullshit, the rage wasn’t as intense… more like resignation.

As much as it would be easy to point the finger of blame outward, it really comes down to the fact that for another entire calendar year, I allowed the same shit to happen.
I allowed myself to be a doormat.
I allowed myself to be used.
I allowed myself to be less than.
I allowed others to force me to shine less bright.

Why? Fear.
Fear of change.
Fear of letting others down.
Fear of not being liked.
Fear of being blamed.

But you know what the result of giving into that fear and not standing up for myself was?
Change happened anyway.
I ended up letting others down.
I wasn’t liked by some.
I was blamed by some.

So… to recap: not taking a chance, and not putting myself first, resulted in the same things happening that may or may not have happened had I made the leap.
Only difference is, I ended up the most miserable of all, and much worse off.

That said, I learned in the waning months of 2011:
Life happens all around you to everyone else, while you’re making plans for “someday”.
There is no guarantee that “someday” will ever come.
If you seek answers, be prepared to get them, and that they may not be the ones you want
Bad things happen to good people.
Trust your gut, it is right 99.9% of the time.
Control is a myth.
A life spent angry and sad is a life wasted.

So 2012 is the year I embrace the change.
The year I embrace the fear.
The year I embrace me.

A recent insultiment* was the final catalyst to the decision to step off of this treadmill going nowhere and put myself and my own well-being first. (*Insultament: when someone, intentionally or misguidedly, pays you a compliment that is actually huge insult)
Add to that three consecutive sleepless nights filled nightmares at the thought of returning to work tomorrow, and well, it’s just not worth the discomfort.

Will there be people that are hurt by my impending decisions? Yes.
Will I disappoint someone. Probably.
Will I be better off? Who knows.
Will I be happier? No way to know until I take the leap.

For all I know this will be a “grass is greener” situation, and I could end up regretting my decision(s) at this time next year.

That said, I do know is this:
I can not spend one more day being inauthentic.
I can not spend one more day biting my tongue.
I can not spend one more day being angry.
I can not spend one more day on the inside looking out.
I can not spend one more day living MY life for someone else.

I may have 40 more years ahead of me (god forbid) or I may have 4. Who knows.
But either way, I do not want to have one more regret.

I deserve to be happy.
I deserve to shine as brightly as I want.
I deserve respect.