Inspiration! Why do you spend your time?

I tend to be a busy lady, and I generally seem to want to get busier and busier.  I cram a lot of stuff in, often struggling with my calendar wondering how the heck I'm going to make it all work.

Because of this, I am pretty into various time management and productivity systems.  If you've got a scheme for how I could best organize my life, I want to know it!  Heck, I'm due for an overhaul.

Recently I came across a brilliant suggestion.  I'm not sure quite how to incorporate it yet, but it inspires me: instead of finding the time, find the why.  Why are you doing the thing that you're doing?  Why are you trying to cram it into your schedule?  If you've got a compelling why, making it work becomes significantly easier.

Here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to go through all the things that I do, and write down why I do them.  Then I will evaluate.  Maybe I'll do some version of that tracking everything I do challenge where I track the reasons why instead!  Stay tuned!

Singalong! London Calling by The Clash

I'm in London! What better way to celebrate than with The Clash?

by The Clash

London calling to the faraway towns
Now war is declared, and battle come down
London calling to the underworld
Come out of the cupboard, you boys and girls
London calling, now don't look to us
Phoney Beatlemania has bitten the dust
London calling, see we ain't got no swing
'Cept for the ring of that truncheon thing

[Chorus 1:]
The ice age is coming, the sun's zooming in
Meltdown expected, the wheat is growing thin
Engines stop running, but I have no fear
'Cause London is drowning, and I live by the river

London calling to the imitation zone
Forget it, brother, you can go it alone
London calling to the zombies of death
Quit holding out, and draw another breath
London calling, and I don't wanna shout
But while we were talking, I saw you nodding out
London calling, see we ain't got no high
Except for that one with the yellowy eyes

[Chorus 2: x2]
The ice age is coming, the sun's zooming in
Engines stop running, the wheat is growing thin
A nuclear error, but I have no fear
'Cause London is drowning, and I live by the river

Now get this

London calling, yes, I was there, too
An' you know what they said? Well, some of it was true!
London calling at the top of the dial
After all this, won't you give me a smile?
London calling

I never felt so much alike [fading] alike alike alike

Learning! Emotional wifi

Tired of experiencing your emotions as they are?  Are your mood alteration attempts time consuming and ineffective?  Lucky for you, science exists!

Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine, University of Illinois, and University of Colorado Boulder have developed a teeny-tiny brain implant that can alter your brain chemistry using a remote control.

So far it's only been used on lab rats, but they have successfully work with the motor circuitry and reward circuitry in their little rat-brains, and they are hoping to explore applications to anxiety and depression.

Clearly, this means we are only a few days away from a world where not even tin foil hats can protect you from government control.


Inspiration! The top ___ things you'll regret when you're old

I just came across yet another article listing all the things I should be doing RIGHT NOW otherwise when I'm old I'll experience the terrible sting of regret.  Learn a language!  Travel!  Dump the jerk!  Go to the concerts of anyone who might be super famous later so you can tell your grandkids you saw them live!  Know you're beautiful!  Move on!  Now!

A lot of the advice is good.  We probably should end bad relationships, try to move on with life, leave the job we hate, not work too much, let go of friendships that have died, and tell people we love them. But really - do we need to do these things?  Like, right now?  Is potential future regret the only reason to do them?  Is life supposed to be completely free of regret?  Since when was a little regret a terrible thing?  Don't we learn from it?  Are we never allowed to make a bad choice?

Besides, who's to say that these "no regret" choices won't become regrets themselves?

For every person who quits their oppressive job to follow their dream, there is one whose creative entrepreneurship ended in bankruptcy and losing their home.  For each stale relationship ended there is a couple who stuck it out through the tough parts and found deeper love and connection on the other side.  For each person who "finishes what they started", there is someone slogging away at finishing a degree, job, or project out of mere obligation.

We are so obsessed with living each moment to the maximum and never experiencing sadness or regret that we're not actually allowed to relax or let things run their course or just be a human person in this moment right now.

Yes, I have some regrets.  There are things I've done that I wish I hadn't, and there are opportunities I've missed.  Whatever.  This is life.  At some point you have to make one choice, and by doing so, turn down every other potential choice.  We can't just run around trying to choose ALL THE THINGS!

Instead of desperately trying to make sure I never do something I'll regret again, how about I just learn from my past and move on, trying to be a good person, trying to contribute to the world, and trying to make the best choices I can based on what seems right at the time without stressing about what 80 Year Old Andrea will think of me?

The one regret you actually want to avoid

There is only actually one thing that you will regret when you're old that is not worth it.

You will regret not having taken care of yourself, body and mind.

Our bodies are going to degenerate.  Slowly, as we age, our bones become brittle, our hearts become tired, our joints get weak, and our arteries grow hard.  This is inevitable.  It will happen to all of us, should we live long enough.

You can't stop it, but you can put it off!  Be active, stretch, drink water, and eat some vegetables.  Instead of a slow, painful decline into becoming a curled-in, dried-up leaf that begins in your 60s, you can stand straight, walk by yourself, and live unassisted until your cheeks are drooping down below your shoulders.

No need to be a nut about it.  Gluten is delicious and (probably) will not give you arthritis any faster than you'll already get it.  Enjoy the beauty of Netflix and potato chips as well as the freedom of using your body to move through space.

Same goes for the brain.  Keep learning, keep thinking, keep discussing.  Try not to get too stuck in one way of thinking, and if you have tendencies towards anxiety or depression, seek help with treating it.  We become more of whatever we are as we age, after all.

That's it.  Everything else is just perspective.

Cute! Missing The Gerts

I sit sad that even though I'm off having fun in Europe, I miss being at home with my girl? Wish I could take her with me!

Singalong! Come on Eileen

I'm in Dublin! I just Googled "songs about Dublin" to put an on-theme song up for this week and found a few bands with Dublin in the name, most of which were a bunch of old dudes plus a metal band thrown into the mix.  Blah.  Not interested.

So instead I am picking the Save Ferris version of Come on Eileen for my celebration of being in Dublin.  But that makes no sense, why would I do that?  Because the original version of the song has a sort of celtic-like introduction, and I like the Save Ferris version better because they were one of my favourite bands in high school and I listened to this CD so many times.

by Save Ferris

Poor old Johnny Ray
Sounded sad upon the radio
But he moved a million hearts in mono
Our mothers cried
Sang along
Who'd blame them
You've grown, so grown
Now I must say more than ever
(Come On Eileen)
Too-ra-loo-ra, too-ra-loo-rye, aye
And we can sing just like our fathers

Come on Eileen
Oh, I swear what he means (what he means)
At this moment you mean everything
You in that dress
My thoughts I confess
Verge on dirty
Oh, come on Eileen

(Come On Eileen)

These people round here
Wear beaten-down eyes sunk in smoke-dried faces
They're so resigned to what their fate is
But not us (no, never)
No, not us (no, never)
We are far too young and clever (remember)
Too-ra-loo-ra, too-ra-loo-rye, aye
And you'll hum this tune forever

Come on Eileen
Oh, I swear what he means
Aah, come on let's
Take off everything
That pretty red dress
Eileen (tell him yes)
Aah, come on let's
Aah, come on Eileen

That pretty red dress
Eileen (tell him yes)
Aah, come on let's
Aah, come on Eileen

Come on Eileen, too-loo-rye-aye
Come on Eileen, too-loo-rye-aye
Now you're full grown
Now you have shown
Oh, Eileen

Say, come on Eileen
These things they are real and I know
How you feel
Now I must say more than ever
Things round here have changed
I say, too-ra-loo-ra, too-ra-loo-rye-aye

Come on Eileen
Oh, I swear (what he means)
At this moment, you mean everything
You in that dress, my thoughts I confess
Verge on dirty
Aah, come on Eileen

Aah, come on Eileen
Oh, I swear (what he means)
At this moment, you mean everything
You in that dress, my thoughts I confess
Well, they're dirty
Come on Eileen

Learning! You couldn't actually make that painting

As you read this, I am frolicking in the land of art!  I am taking a two-week trip to Europe where I hop around to a bunch of random places in the UK and Germany visiting friends.  I am planning on taking in as much art as possible: from Banksy's Dismaland to some sweet British theatre to the art galleries housing pieces I've only read about, I will see it all!

While looking at art, it can be tempting to think, "I could do that", or worse, "my kid could do that."

Of course, that devalues what art offers us, and the work that artists do, doesn't it?

Well, here is a video from PBS on why you are incapable of making that painting.  In the next 5 minutes, you will learn why you couldn't actually make the art that seems so basic.

Inspiration! What is a feminist?

Recently a wonderful article came out on Jezebel about a Millenial dad who thought was an awesome feminist... until the baby came and he wound up (as many do) falling into some stereotypical roles.

One of the best parts of the article is when he said, "a feminist, as I understand it, isn't so much something you are as something you do, right?"

Yes!  Yes, oh yes!  He's nailed it!  And of course, this applies to anything we want to be that doesn't have as catchy a name as "feminist" - whether it's an ally to the queer community, refugees, people with disabilities, or a person who is helping fight racism, it's what we do not what we are (or say we are) that matters!

I like it so much I took a screenshot and highlighted it.

So!  Let's all think about something we'd like to be, or something we think we are, and then ask ourselves, are we doing it?

Cute! Lion Kitty

Turns out that holding Gertie up in a sideways Lion King pose is quite comfortable for her.  She seemed confused but perfectly content to pose for this picture.

Singalong! Stompa by Serena Ryder

Thursday night was opening night of Hunger Games: The Musical!!!  If you don't live in (or near) Vancouver, then you are missing out.  I did the choreography for this musical parody of The Hunger Games, going up in the Vancouver Fringe Festival RIGHT NOW!  The song features parodies of a whole host of pop songs, and one of my favourites in the show is our rendition of Serena Ryder's "Stompa", re-dubbed "Smile-a" for the scene where Effie and the stylists make over Katniss.  It's hilarious.  Since our recording isn't out (yet), though, I present you with the Serena Ryder original.

by Serena Ryder

There's a light and I can see it in your eyes
There's a memory of the way you used to be
Nothing's gone it still shines evey time you turn it on
And when you slow it down...

People, working every night and day
Never give yourself no time
Got too many bills to pay
Slow down, nothing's gonna disappear
If you give yourself some room
To move to the music you hear

Gotta get up, listen to me
Clappa your hands, stompa your feet

People, looking for the great escape
Looking to the greener side
Trying to find a better way
Slow down; open up your big brown eyes
Feel the rhythm in your heart
You don't even need to try

Gotta get up, listen to me
Clappa your hands, stompa your feet
Nothing is wrong, if you move to the beat
Clappa your hands
Stompa your feet
Stompa your feet

When you can't seem to shake off all the feelings that are breaking

Little pieces of the music that's in you
All the pain that you feel
I can prove it's not real
There's just one thing you gotta do

Gotta get up, listen to me
Clappa your hands, stompa your feet
Nothing is wrong, if you move to the beat
Clappa your hands
Stompa your feet
Stompa your feet

(OMG!  The music video even features some lady-archers!  It's like it was meant to be put into The Hunger Games!)

Learning! The relationship between identity and morals

There is a lot of research out there on what our identities are made of - what makes you into you, what makes me into me.

If you're anything like me, you might assume it's some intangible combination of our genetics, learned behaviour, and memories that give us our identity.  Turns out that's not quite the case, or at least it's missing a huge component.

Turns out, a large part of our identity comes from our moral compass!  Changes in levels of kindness, patience, and empathy are the traits that most frequently change who we feel we are, and who we are perceived to be by others.


Inspiration! The Wonder of Being Insignificant

Say what you will about Jerry Seinfeld, he gets things done.  Honestly, I don't know what you could say bad about him, but if you were going to, I would reply with "he gets (or at least got) a lot done - plus he's super funny."

I imagine that producing and writing a TV show with your name on it can be a bit stressful sometimes.  There are very few places to pass the buck if it doesn't turn out well.  How did Jerry deal with the pressure?  He would look at photos of space taken from the Hubble Space Telescope to remind himself of how small everything we do on earth is.

I have been fairly stressed out lately - I probably have two more projects on the go than I can truly feasibly manage and my place of work and another organization I am heavily involved with are both going through major changes.  My plate is overflowing and I've been feeling the pressure.  Everything seems way too important.

As soon as I even though about Seinfeld's trick, I started to feel better.  As he puts it:
"[Looking at the photos] would calm me when I would start to think that this was important... I've often said this and people say, 'It makes me feel insignificant.' And I don't find being insignificant depressing. I find it uplifting."
I agree. This is the thing I love most about religion: it's a (probably) human-made institution that is designed to remind us of how insignificant we are, which is the most freeing of all concepts. It doesn't all ride on us! The universe is SO MUCH BIGGER than me and all my stupid little projects and things I need to try to accomplish. What a freaking relief that I am so small.

Singalong! Little Bit by Lykke Li

There are a few things that are excellent about Lykke Li, besides her excellent music. One: trying to pronounce her name in casual conversation with your Anglo friends. Two: watching her kind of creepy subtle dance moves in this music video.

by Lykke Li

hands down
i'm too proud for love
but with eyes shut
it's you i'm thinking of
but how we move from A to B?
it can't be up to me
'cause you don't know
eye to eye
thigh to thigh
i let go

i think i'm..

a little bit, a little bit
a little bit in love with you
but only if you're
a little but, a little bit, a little bit
in lo-lo-lo-lo-love with me


and for you i keep my legs apart
and forget about my tainted heart
and i will never ever be the first
to say it
but still I,
yes you know I..I..I..
i would do it,
push a button
pull a trigger,
climb a mountain
jump off a cliff,
'cause you know baby
i love you love you a little bit
i would do it, i would say it
i would mean it, we could do it
it was you and i and if only i..

i think i'm
a little bit, a little bit
a little bit in love with you
but only if you're
a little but, a little bit, little bit
in lo-lo-lo-lo-love with me

come here, stay with me
stroke me by the hair
'cause i would give anything, anything
to have you as my man [x2]

a little bit, a little bit
a little bit in love with you
but only if you're
a little but, a little bit, little bit
in lo-lo-lo-lo-love with me

Inspiration: Change is coming

"Change is hard, failing to change is not an option." - Julia M. Stasch

I'm involved with at least two organizations right now that are undergoing major, deep changes.  I have spent the year watching dear friends get married, have babies, move across the country (or world), make difficult job-switching decisions, and generally find themselves in the throws of major life changes.  As my coworker said yesterday, "Change, like winter, is coming."  (I hope most of you got the Game of Thrones reference there.)

This quote comes from an interview with Julia M. Stasch, president of the MacArthur Foundation, one of the United States' biggest arts funders.  They made some huge changes to how they will distribute funding, and while I'm not sure how I feel about the changes, as a person who works in the arts (albeit a different country, so I will be entirely unaffected), I appreciate her sentiment.  We cannot cling to old ways of doing things.  We must change.  The change will be hard, and won't turn out perfectly, but failing to change is worse.