Monday, 28 January 2013

Working at Relaxing

For those of us who are constantly on the go; the ones who are always working, working, working - for real, that is - it takes that much longer to unwind. Am I right or am I right? I told my friend Debbie that I am trying to "sit still" while on vacation. She didn't miss a beat in telling me that "they'd have to tie you down." Lol!

Reluctantly, but knowingly, I had to agree with her. It just takes a while to bring my thoughts to slow motion; to a pace where I can take a second look at each one and decide whether to entertain it. More often than not, even when I do not have the time, I milk a thought to its logical or illogical end. And, most of those times, it's about solving a problem. Imagine, then, when I have several problems on the go!

I use the word "problems" loosely. Simply, a situation that needs to be addressed and which presents more than one option. Because, that's essentially what they all come down to. The thing is, sometimes it's a matter of not liking the better or right solution. Usually, the better or right solution comes packaged with a longer waiting period; higher cost; more work/effort and so on. But, it is what it is. And, kicking and screaming or going gently into that good night, we eventually have to make a decision.

Being on vacation of course does not mean being away from situations that require clarity of thought, good judgement and workable solutions. But, thankfully, the day-to-day is different - mostly for the better. It offers a prolonged moment of not having to deal with the stress of work and commuting and the like. "Time away" is usually time spent - or, invested, if you like - with family and/or friends. If you do get away from it (and them) all, and, if you're "tight like that", you may find that your mind is constantly on it (and them), anyway. Ever get that?

I've been working at relaxing and trying to convince myself that it's okay, (no, really), not to have the answer for a million and one things; that no one really expects me to and I can de-clutter that space in my mind that stores answers for the just-in-case questions and situations. (As if you don't do that, too!) Nature abhors a vacuum, though. So, what do I do with the new space I eke out? Well, vacation-type stuff may arise. On the stress metre, those are at a manageable level. Outside of that, hardly anything else is of concern. Of course, there's always time for writing. I'm either thinking of writing or #amwriting. The biggest "problem" that presents is something along the lines of deciding what to title a blog post. ;-)

And that level of relaxation is okay. It's okay. No, really.


Friday, 18 January 2013

"I'm going to be good to myself!"

There's quite a bit to learn from the lil ones, isn't there? Occasionally, I share a gem as uttered by my now 4yo niece. The other day she gave me cause to pause. Again. She got the phone from her mom and started to tell me about her day at school in Junior Kindergarten. Apparently, one of the other little girls - let's call her Mary - seemed a bit lonely. All the other children had, for one reason or another, left Mary to be by herself. My niece told me how she decided, "I'm gonna be her friend!" And, further to that decision, went to play with Mary.

My niece is one of those little helpers. And, I've come to realize that she is very compassionate and kind toward others. So, it was no surprise to hear her declare that evening, how she was also going to take care of her classmates, as well as friends from other classes. Yes, she has friends from other classes. Said she, "I'm going to be good to Mary. I'm going to be good to the other children. I'm going to change them!" I interjected, "You're going to change them?" "Yes!" She replied. "I'm going to change them and I'm going to be good to them! And, I'm going to be good to myself!" That caught me by surprise, I laughed out loud! But, it was a pleasant surprise. I was, and still am, very glad that she had not overlooked herself as one of those she should be good to. 

There we were, at the start of the year - they had just gone back to school - and, already, I'd received an earful. I'd also received an energizing jolt to help keep me on the right path, even if on the road less travelled.

I'm not in the habit of making New Year's resolutions. This year was no exception. However, now and then, since then, I recall her words and do a quick check: 

Am I being good to myself?


Tuesday, 8 January 2013

The size of the goat's bottom

Welcome to 2013.

I know, but, it's the first post for the year and it wasn't gonna happen before the 8th. ;-) Speaking of which, it's day eight, but, given all that's happened so far - especially in my fair homeland of Jamaica - it practically feels like we're halfway in.

One really has to wonder (as one channels one's inner Queen Elizabeth) whether the island of Jamaica means herself well. Of course, by that I mean, whether the people of Jamaica really want the best for the country for generations to come. Successive governments/administrations have made their mark over the years. The economists and statisticians would tell you that the ebb and flow of economic growth may be markedly aligned with one or other of the country's two main political parties being at the helm at x point in time. And, yet, some people - well, the majority of voters - intentionally chose the current crop of political leaders. On purpose! Is my homeland self-harming? Is there a kind of warped pleasure that she gets from shooting herself in the foot?

Now, as I continue with my (unusual) political harangue, there are a few things that concern me. One is the proclivity of some persons to be up in arms against someone because of an opposing political view. That is beyond me. Not only is each person entitled to his/her opinion, but, as my sis likes to point out, when a voter enters a voting booth in his/her constituency, he/she has to make a choice. Then, the voter dips his/her finger in the ink provided to show that he/she has already voted then runs along and hopes for the best. What is the point of being upset with another because that person does not share your political view? Sometimes I think some of us show up to have a battle of wits with persons who are unarmed - to borrow from that quote. Because, no matter how you try to reason with some thick-headed nincompoop on some comment boards - thinking it, no name-calling now - they just don't seem to get the idea that not everybody will vote for their choice of party/candidate or share their views. The minute you start disagreeing, they start attacking you vs. the points you're making.

Another concern is about the auto-pilot setting the country seems to be on. (Yeah, I read somewhere that prepositions are quite acceptable words to end a sentence with.) I've heard that auto-pilot term being bandied about in reference to the nature of the governance being meted out in Jamaica right now. It's quite apt and puts me in mind of this calypso by Gypsy - being sung about another Caribbean island at the time, but, oh, how allegorically fitting - and timely.

Hardly anything summed up the smashing and, already tiring, start to the new year like the New Year's Day letter to the Editor of the Jamaica Observer, Let's end our relationship, PNP, by sis @MizDurie. It echoed what so many were thinking. No wonder it went viral in a short while  - like the gift that keeps on giving.

Then, a couple days after, the Cabinet was referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions by the Office of the Contractor General - a commission of Parliament established to monitor the award of government contracts.

A few days after that, the Prime Minister gave an address to the nation, which is more palatable through this treatment by sis, published in the Jamaica Observer. Again, this treatment echoes the thoughts of many.

And, the very next day, which brings us to today, like the Real McKoy being revealed after the decoy, an article in the Chicago Tribune was brought to our attention: Jamaica's debt hurricane. Not sure how many people hung their heads in shame after reading it. I did. Here was Jamaica, a gem of the Caribbean, having produced so many greats, still producing so many greats, being held up as a lesson in economic catastrophe and "irresponsible stewardship".

There's a Jamaican proverb that says, "Tek bad tings mek joke" and another, "Tek kin teet kibba heart bun." The first means, essentially, don't let your calamity get you down. Laugh at it. The second, smile or laugh to cover up the heart ache. Jamaicans are resilient people with a reserve of courage blah blah blah. We are a resilient set but the country needs proper leadership and good governance.

The governing administration would do well to remember another popular Jamaican proverb, "Everyday bucket a go a well, one day di bottom mus drop out." The people will be able to take so much and no more. You know? This government has clearly taken up a responsibility that it is ill-equipped to manage. What a legacy! "The Greece of the Western Hemisphere" stamped across Jamaica. Lord have mercy. In the last general elections, power and position were fought for and won with weapons of mass deception. But, the Empress has no clothes and, well, as for the administration as a whole, I can hardly say it better than my favourite favourite Jamaican proverb:

Goat mus know di size a him bottom before him swallow mango seed.

All the best for 2013! Lord knows we're gonna need it.